There are still about 12.3 million people worldwide who work in some form of bonded or forced labour, according to a May 12 International Labour Organisation (ILO) report.

A three month long industrial dispute at the West Gate Bridge strengthening project in Melbourne has ended. Unions and construction giant John Holland reached a settlement on May 15.

SYDNEY — Mohan Rajan, a young Tamil activist, told Green Left Weekly he was concerned that two violent incidents between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities in Sydney on May 18 “overshadowed the human catastrophe” in Sri Lanka.

“Soldiers, our race salutes you!” state the Sinhala-language slogans on huge placards plastered across Sri Lanka’s countryside.

Nepal’s political stalemate of sorts continues.

SYDNEY — On May 15, the Australia Western Sahara Association (AWSA) organised an event at Leichhardt Town Hall to mark the beginning of the struggle for independence in Western Sahara 36 years ago.

Malalai Joya is the youngest elected representative to Afghan’s parliament. In 2007, she was unjustly suspended for “insulting” other members of the parliament. Joya is an opponent of the US-led occupation and a strong supporter of women’s rights. She opposes the brutal, misogynistic polices of both the Taliban and the fundamentalist forces the US have installed. Her memoir, Raising My Voice: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, is due to be released later this year.

On May 18, human rights activists rallied outside Australian foreign affairs minister Stephen Smith’s office in Perth to protest against the treatment of Burma’s democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

MELBOURNE — Locals into Victoria’s Environment organised a 5000-strong protest against the federal government’s climate change policies on May 17.

The national president of the US organisation Veterans for Peace, Mike Ferner has written an open letter to US President Barack Obama published below. VFP involves veterans from past and current US wars. Its members “draw on our personal experiences and perspectives gained as veterans to raise public awareness of the true costs and consequences of militarism and war — and to seek peaceful, effective alternatives”. For more information, visit .


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