The Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 and in the war’s aftermath there has been a plethora of serious human rights abuses perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government. Some of these abuses include abductions, torture and the murder of journalists and civilians, including women and children.
Israeli has launched a series of air strikes on the Gaza Strip since October 29. ABC.net.au reported on November 2 that Israel was preparing its military for a ground assault on the besieged territory — home to about 1.5 million Palestinians. At least 11 Palestinians have been killed, ABC.net.au said. Officials on both sides said at least seven members of Palestinian group Islamic Jihad (JI) had been killed,
The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks sits on the precipice. With it sits freedom of expression and freedom of the press — two fundamental human rights encapsulated in the charter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. WikiLeaks is under a series of attacks and could be forced to close some time next year if it is unable to break a United States-backed financial blockade, editor-in-chief Julian Assange said on October 24.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is an ongoing series of protests that began in New York City in September this year and has now spread internationally. Some commentators compare the occupy movement to the Arab Spring movement — particularly the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo that launched the 2011 Egyptian revolution. See also: Unions back Occupy Sydney
A secret cable sent from the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 1996, released by WikiLeaks, provides an in-depth account of the processes of wealth distribution and waste within the ruling House of Saud. The cable noted: “Royals still seem more adept at squandering than accumulating wealth.” It said corruption abounded largely unchecked. It was the view of the US embassy in Saudi Arabia that getting a grip on royal family excess was at the top of pressing concerns for the oil-rich US ally.
Despite widespread condemnation of Israeli policies by the United Nations, other international bodies, human rights organisations and internationally respected lawyers Israel continues to deprive Palestinians of their rights of freedom, equality, and self-determination. Israel’s ethnic cleansing, racial discrimination and aggressive expansion through colonisation are well documented. See also: Rallies say you 'can't sweeten apartheid'
A confidential United States cable released by WikiLeaks on July 29 documents the arrest of controversial Malaysian blogger and Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin. Kamaruddin had been outspoken in his criticism of the government. On September 12, 2008, Kamaruddin was arrested at his residence under the Internal Security Act (ISA) ― which allows for detention without trial. Kamaruddin’s arrest came days after Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi threatened to use the ISA to repress those purportedly stoking racial and religious tensions.
The issue of marriage equality is steadily gaining traction among the Australia population. Seventy-five percent of Australians expect same-sex marriage to be made legal a 2011 Galaxy Poll found. The same research said 62% of Australians support marriage equality; the number is as high as 80% among younger people. The poll also said 78% of Australians believe there should be a conscience vote in parliament on the issue.
Five members of the Monash Refugee Action Collective gained access to the roof of the campus centre at the university’s Clayton campus on July 27, as part of a protest against the Gillard government’s treatment of asylum seekers. The students hung several banners over the side of the building, including statements of their support for asylum seekers, their stance against mandatory detention and the “Malaysian solution”. The activists were joined by supporters on the ground who handed out leaflets and made speeches to other students.
Three Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka detained in Maribyrnong detention centre have agreed to share their experiences with Green Left Weekly. They are terrified that talking to journalists may cause their applications for refugee status to be impeded or denied. Due to this fear, these three men have agreed to share their experiences on the condition of anonymity.
More than 1,000 people gathered on June 19 to protest mandatory detention and the Gillard government’s highly contentious asylum seeker swap deal with Malaysia –– under which Australia would exchange 4,000 processed and confirmed refugees from Malaysia for 800 unconfirmed asylum seekers from Australia. The crowd gathered at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Carlton Gardens to hear speakers before marching to join the Emerge Festival at Fitzroy Town Hall. Speakers included Greens MP Adam Bandt, Julian Burnside QC, and several refugees.
In the first week of June, the Baillieu state government introduced new laws that give Victorian police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $240 for using offensive language. Victorian police already had the power to charge people with indecent language offences, but they had to do this through the court system. This meant that people had the opportunity to defend their behaviour through the judicial system and were more likely to get a fair hearing.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in West Melbourne celebrated its 10th birthday on June 8. The celebration included the announcement of the centre’s Patron and Ambassador Program — which has been developed to raise the profile of the ASRC by demonstrating high-profile supporters. Patrons are pre-eminent supporters of the organisation and ambassadors are public figures who lend their standing to the promotion of the centre.
As part of a nationwide day of action, more than 1000 people marched on the Victorian parliament on June 8 to fight for state and federal governments to back their claim for increased wages. The Melbourne rally was one of 17 across the country, organised by the Australian Services Union (ASU), which advocates for workers in the female-dominated community services sector. The national day of action comes as a response to Fair Work Australia’s finding that the sector’s workers were not being payed enough, in part, because most of them are women.
Two men were taken to hospital and a third treated at the scene after being injured during a confrontation with police at a refugee rights protest at the Maribyrnong detention centre on May 29. The conflict took place during a pre-arranged peaceful protest organised by an alliance of refugee support groups and left-wing political groups. The protesters converged outside the Maribrynong detention centre armed with placards with slogans such as “Free the Refugees” and “Seeking Asylum is not a Crime”.