human rights

India recognises transgender rights in equality victory, but gay rights still denied

India's top court officially recognised transgender rights today in a landmark ruling.
The supreme court directed the federal and state governments to allow people to identify themselves as outside the binary male/female gender definitions.

The estimated three million transgender Indians will have the same access to welfare programs for the poor, including education, healthcare and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges.

The court also ordered the government fight the social stigma associated with transgender people through a public awareness campaign.

Pakistan: 'Left unity a precious gain'

Farooq Tariq, the general secretary of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) in Pakistan, will be one of the international guests at the 10th national conference of the Socialist Alliance, to be held in Sydney over June 7 to 9. He will speak on “The Struggle for Democracy and Justice in Pakistan” on June 7 at the Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville. Visit www.socialist-alliance.org for more details.

Ahead of his trip, Green Left Weekly's Peter Boyle spoke to Tariq on Pakistani politics.

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Builders face government moves to seize homes, cars

For the first time in Australian history, construction workers are facing government moves to seize houses and cars in relation to an industrial dispute.

The 33 workers affected took part in an eight-day strike in north-west WA in 2008. Mick Buchan of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) told the ABC that the dispute between workers and the company was resolved at the time.

“It was some time later that the ABCC [Australian Building Construction Commission] intervened and brought charges against individuals”, he said.

Egypt: International voices condemn mass death sentences

More than 1000 people from 50 countries have signed the statement launched by Egypt Solidarity in response to mass death sentences imposed by Egypt’s military regime on alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

On March 24, a court in Minya province condemned 529 people to death for the murder of a police officer in August last year after a trial which lasted just 45 minutes, where defence lawyers were not allowed to speak.

United States: 'Personhood' bills major threat for women

In New South Wales, politicians have been debating a bill known as “Zoe's Law”, originally introduced by Christian Democratic Party’s Fred Nile.

Zoe’s Law aim to give legal rights to foetuses older than 20 weeks or weighing more than 400 grams. The law opens up the possibility of a pregnant woman being charged for damaging her own foetus.

Brazil: Marking 50 years since US-backed coup

April marks the 50th anniversary of the US-backed military coup d’etat in Brazil. The coup kicked off a brutal 20 military dictatorship.

Military coups followed in Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. With the support of the US government and Paraguay, under dictator General Alfredo Stroessner, the region's regimes organised Operation Condor, a political repression and terror campaign to suppress opposition.

Burma: Trafficking worsens with war's return

Je yang camp, located a 30 minutes drive on often unpaved or rocky road from Laiza, the capital of rebels in Kachin State in northern Burma, accommodates about 8000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The wild landscape around the camp suggests the scenery would have been far more stunning without the presence of humans.

Sri Lanka: Weak UN human rights motion excludes Tamils

The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a US-sponsored resolution on “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” on March 27.

But the resolution makes no mention of the plight of the Tamil people. The word “Tamil” does not appear once.

The resolution expresses “serious concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”.

Venezuela: 'Colectivos' scare campaign demonises the poor

As they are prone to do, the private media have invented a new thing. In both English and Spanish, they are calling it the colectivos.

They are meant to be irrational, cruel, grotesque armed motorbike riders who “enforce” the revolution in Venezuela and are responsible for most of the violence afflicting the South American nation, which has left more than 30 people dead since February.

The opposition barricaders are presented as the innocent victims of these collectivos, who apparently work with the National Guard and have the support of President Nicolas Maduro's government.

Knights and dames in Abbott Land

Nobody told me Game of Thrones was starting early this year.

Wonderful to hear King Abbott pronounce the return of titles, especially after Sir Joseph of the Coffers recently declared the end of entitlement. I guess he was only referring to us common folk.

But we don’t have to worry too much because peasants and workers don’t receive knighthoods. Can you imagine Sir Timothy Francis Gerald Gooden the sixth? No, I thought not.

Titles are designed to put one person higher than another, reinforcing the notion that somehow some people are better than others.

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