Amnesty International has launched a campaign to revoke the Northern Territory intervention that discriminates against Indigenous communities, as the Australian government tries to justify its continuation to the United Nations (UN). On August 5, Amnesty said: “Over three years, the Northern Territory Emergency Response has taken away many rights from Aboriginal communities.” It urged people to email the leaders of Australia’s major political parties to “demand that, regardless of the election outcome, the Australian Government must respect the rights of Indigenous people”.
Equality of access and outcomes in Indigenous education was a key demand at the 2010 Garma Festival, held over August 6-10. Up to 1200 visitors from around Australia and the world joined 2-3000 Yolngu people for the famous festival in north-east Arnhem Land. Each afternoon, clan groups from across Arnhem Land, Kunnunurra, Groote Eylandt and Central Australia performed traditional song and dance. Evenings featured Aboriginal bands from across the Top End, and films by and about Aboriginal issues. The mornings were dedicated to forums and workshops.
Forty-one countries abstained in the July 28 UN General Assembly vote on Bolivia’s resolution to recognise access to water and sanitation as basic human rights. Rather than honestly vote “no”, they abstained to avoid being labelled as opponents of access to water, but many made statements that revealed their hostility to the very idea of recognising water as a human right. Australia “had reservations about declaring new human rights in a General Assembly resolution”.
By August 12, more than 20 million people had been affected by the floods in Pakistan. Waters remained at dangerous levels in several parts of the country, with more torrential rains forecast by the weather department. This has been one of the most devastating floods in world history. The UN has once again appealed for donations for Pakistan. But the international response has been slow.
On July 29, our Labour Relief Committee team found Pir Sabaq, Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province, with a population of more than 34,000, completely destroyed by the flood. A tent city of more than 1000 tents has been established but most of the people are still forced to live in partially destroyed homes. This could lead to a major building collapsing at any time, with further loss of lives. In addition to losing their homes, most people have found their household items have been swept away. They have lost their cattle and goats as well. People are without anything to eat, drink or wear.
A dozen women filled the public gallery of Whittlesea City Council chamber on July 27 to oppose an ALP council back-down on the appointment of a part-time women’s policy officer. The women were mostly part of the council-sponsored “Women Matter Two” network, which seeks to enhance women’s participation in public life and politics in Melbourne’s working-class, outer-north suburbs. In June, council voted almost unanimously to set aside $50,000 in the council’s annual budget to create this part-time position: 2010 is the Year of Women in Local Government.
During the last three decades, Afghan people have had to leave their homeland due to civil war and foreign invasions. They began to live in camps set up for them near Peshawar. During the recent floods in the province of Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, the refugee camps in Charsada and Nowsherhra have been completely washed away. The Azakhel refugee camp that housed more than 3000 people has been annihilated by the floods.
The article is abridged from an August 11 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report. * * * The signs which dot the beach along the Gaza City waterfront read: "This beach is polluted.” Yet they serve only as obstacles for children running to the sea, rather than warnings of the serious health risks. One need only stroll north along the beach for a couple hundred metres to see raw sewage being pumped directly into the Mediterranean Sea from one of the 16 discharge sites along the coast. Yet thousands of people fill Gaza's beaches.
Lesser evilism — whereby one votes for a party defensively, because at least they are not as bad as the alternative — is a three-card trick that the Labor Party is very skilled at using. In this election campaign, the very real threat of a Tony Abbott Coalition government is allowing Labor to establish the framework of a very harsh second term while scaring voters with the warning that the alternative would be even worse.