human rights

“We are not evacuating Rikers Island,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news conference on August 26.

Bloomberg announced a host of extreme measures being taken by New York City in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.

These included shutting down the public transit system and the unprecedented mandatory evacuation of about 250,000 people from low-lying areas.

But in response to a reporter’s question, the mayor stated in no uncertain terms (and with more than a hint of annoyance) that one group of New Yorkers on vulnerable ground would be staying put.

In a move that will provide important savings for low-income families, the Venezuelan government unveiled a plan on August 15 to distribute 12 million new textbooks to primary school students around the country in the coming scholastic year.

Education minister Maryann Hanson said: “The objective of this program is to ensure that those with less economic resources can count on having textbooks in order to guarantee education as an inalienable human right.”

The new textbooks represent an investment of more than US$45 million.

Supporters of justice for former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks rallied outside the NSW Supreme Court on August 3 to condemn moves by the Department of Public Prosecutions to seize the proceeds of Hicks’ 2010 book Guantanamo: My Journey under “proceeds of crime” laws.

Speakers at the rally included Stop the War Coalition Sydney’s Pip Hinman, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, and peace activist Donna Mulhearn.

Michael Coleman is keen to rejoin a Gaza Freedom Flotilla at any time (although his parents would say something different). The youth worker from Sydney has just returned from taking part of the international protest against Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza.

Coleman narrowly avoided a jail term for trying to help a Canadian boat — the Tahrir — leave a port on the Greek island of Crete as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2. He is very proud to have been part of an international protest which has again put the spot light back on to Israel.

Two Australian Palestine solidarity activists, former NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale and Jews Against the Occupation activist Vivienne Porzsolt, were released from immigration detention by an Israeli court on July 13. The court ordered they not be deported.

The judge ruled that while they had not broken any rules, they had a limited time to apply to the Israeli Defence Force to visit Bethlehem and Ramallah in the West Bank. The pair had told immigration on entry to Israel that they wanted to visit Palestine.

Again.

Yes. Again.

Another again to join a conga-line of agains going back decades.

Again, another victim of the callousness of the NSW Department of Corrective Services.

In this case, the unnecessary and useless death of 33-year-old Adam Grant le Marseny, also known as Adam Grant Morrison, who died in the corrective services cells of the Sydney police centre on, I believe, the night of May 28, 2011.

On June 27, 1985, four anti apartheid activists were brutally murdered on behalf of the South African government. Twenty five years later, their killers still walk free.

The murders of these four men illustrate one of the darkest passages of South Africa’s history.

South African filmmaker David Forbes has directed, edited and produced the film The Cradock Four to tell the story of these four extraordinary men.

Aboriginal transgender woman Veronica (Paris) Baxter was locked in Silverwater prison on March 14, 2009. She was found hanging from a bed sheet tied to the top bunk in her cell at 6am on March 16.

Supporters waged a public campaign for two years calling for an inquiry into her death. The NSW coroner held the inquiry on April 4. The inquest was slated to last two days, but it was all over by 3.30pm.

The US-NATO intervention in Libya, with United Nations Security Council cover, is part of an orchestrated response to show support for the movement against one dictator in particular.

In doing so, it aims to bring the Arab rebellions to an end by asserting Western control, confiscating their impetus and spontaneity and trying to restore the status quo.

It is absurd to think that the reasons for bombing Tripoli or for the French airforce’s “turkey shoot” (the bombing of fleeing Libyan soldiers) outside Benghazi are designed to protect civilians.

Picture this: you drive past armed guards at the gate; then park your car next to a four-metre-high fence topped with electric wire.

As you enter the building you’re searched, your phone is confiscated, your details are noted, then you pass through metal detectors and are tagged with ultraviolet pens.

Once inside you find small children playing, and their families and friends, who have broken no laws. Surveillance cameras are ever-present and guards patrol the grounds.

Pages

Subscribe to human rights