The streets of downtown Los Angeles became a sea of red shirts stretching for many city blocks on April 7 when at least 20,000 people turned out for one of the largest immigrant rights demonstrations since the big marches last year.
Indonesian police have named two new suspects in the murder of human rights activist Munir, who died of arsenic poisoning on a Garuda flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004.
A coalition of community groups including Friends of the Earth, the National Union of Students, the Stop the War Coalition, the Australian Student Environment Network, and the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition have initiated a public lobby outside the ALP national conference beginning on April 27 to support delegates who are standing up to the proposed changes to the ALPs long-standing policy on uranium mining.
In the lead-up to Labors national conference, beginning in Sydney on April 27, WA-based advocacy group Project SafeCom has urged supporters of refugees rights to pressure the ALP leadership to ensure that a government led by Kevin Rudd wont commit the same human rights abuses witnessed during PM John Howards reign (some of which, such as the Tampa affair, were carried out with ALP complicity).
On April 2 the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Oxfam Australia published Close the Gap, a report highlighting the shameful state of Indigenous health in Australia. The report ranked Australia as the worst at improving the health of indigenous people compared with other wealthy nations.
Following the trial of Tasers among Queenslands Special Emergency Response Team, they are now being introduced to all duty police officers in the Brisbane and south-east police regions, according to a joint statement issued by Queensland police minister Judy Spence and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson.
On April 13, the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) reported that Yuan Hui Min had been taken from Villawood detention centre to hospital. She is one of ten detainees on hunger strike in protest at the unjust situation of detention. The hunger strikers are calling for an end to forcible deportations, a maximum detention period of six months and for the immediate release of two detainees being held incommunicado.
MELBOURNE — Chanting ‘No nukes! No war! This is what we’re fighting for!’, more than 3000 people, including representatives of 80 different organisations, took part in the Palm Sunday peace parade on April 1. Dubbed Nuclear Fools Day, it was a protest against the expansion of uranium mining and proposals for nuclear energy. It also sent a strong message to the ALP, which looks set to scrap its ‘no new mines’ policy at its national conference later this month. Speakers included Cam Walker from Friends of the Earth, Bill Williams from the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Democrat Senator Lyn Allison and Greens Senator Bob Brown.
More than 300 people attended the launch of UNITEs Boost Our Pay campaign on March 30 on Swanston Street outside the main strip of fast food restaurants. UNITE is campaigning for an end to youth wages, a $16 minimum wage, no individual contracts (AWAs), and for secure work hours.
On April 12, Jorge Navas, secretary of the South Australian branch of the Health Services Union, spoke to a meeting at Unions Tas about human rights in Colombia and campaigns to protect union leaders.