Indigenous rights

The Victorian government has backed down on its plan to transfer Aboriginal teenagers from a youth detention centre to a maximum-security prison.

The government had planned to transfer 40 children in youth custody to a segregated wing of Barwon prison while the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville was being repaired.

Earlier this year Fremantle City Council decided to cancel its Australia Day fireworks next month, describing them as “culturally insensitive”. Instead, the council announced plans to hold a free concert in Fremantle’s Esplanade Park on January 28.

The event, titled “One Day in Fremantle”, features a concert headlined by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin and will celebrate diversity and multiculturalism in Australia today.

The Zika virus, borne by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 18 to no longer be a global emergency, to the dismay of many health workers around the world. This decision will minimise the amount of research and public vigilance against Zika infection.

More than 150 community members marched down the main street of the western New South Wales town of Cowra to demand justice for Dennis “DJ” Doolan, who was shot in the back by local police two months ago. Doolan remains in custody in Bathurst jail.

The peaceful protesters, with banners and flags, demanded justice for all Aboriginal deaths in custody as they made their way to Squire Park.

Doolan’s relative Les Coe thanked the community for their support and said he hoped this show of solidarity would unite the community beyond Cowra.

The US$3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), if completed, would carry up to 570,000 barrels of crude oil daily from the North Dakota to refineries in Illinois.

If built, it will cross the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water and irrigation for 8200 residents of the Standing Rock reservation.

Those facts have turned DAPL into a flashpoint in dual struggles for climate justice and Native rights.

More than 100 Honduran and international human rights and social justice groups have thrown their support behind a newly launched independent investigation, led by international legal experts, into the murder of renowned indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association Maina Kiai issued a blistering condemnation on November 15 of the militarised response to the Standing Rock water protectors’ peaceful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“We know that elections and individuals alone don’t create change — movements do.”

This is the maxim that guided the huge United States-wide action that took place on November 15. There were nearly 200 protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, the largest since the US government requested the project be temporarily halted in September.

In response to the election of right-wing billionaire Donald Trump as president elect in the US, a “Dump Trump” protest was organised on November 12.

The action was in solidarity with African Americans, Latinos, LGBTQIA people, the disabled and women, all of whom have borne the brunt of attacks by Trump and his supporters as they exploited xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia and misogyny during the long election campaign.

The 71-year-old Canadian rock legend Neil Young’s latest song, “Indian Givers”, seeks to raise awareness about the Native American water protectors in North Dakota protesting the destructive four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

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