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January 29, 2015

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AFP will have blood on its hands if Bali pair Chan and Sukumaran are executed

By Ronli Sifris In recent weeks there has been a renewal of public interest in the Bali Nine, largely stemming from the rejection by Indonesian President Joko Widodo of pleas for clemency to save the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. It is well known that Chan and Sukumaran have been on death row for […]

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January 28, 2015

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Australia can detain asylum seekers on the high seas, the High Court decides

By Maria O’Sullivan On Wednesday, the High Court handed down an important judgment on the legality of the interception of asylum seeker vessels and the detention of those onboard on the high seas. It ruled, by a 4:3 majority, that the Sri Lankan asylum seekers held at sea in 2014 on a Customs vessel were […]

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January 22, 2015

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Rights and the non-human animal

By Joanna Kyriakakis In news that recently made the rounds on social media, an Argentine court reportedly held that an Orangutan named Sandra was a non-human person with the right to freedom from arbitrary detention. Media reports, examples of which can be found here and here, indicated the successful use of habeas corpus to have […]

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January 19, 2015

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Ticking down to a possible date with executioners

 By Sarah Joseph Tick tick tick. Ticking down. Inexorably. To a designated time when I will be blindfolded in a white shirt with a reflective tag over my heart. I will be given three minutes to “calm down”, and have a choice to lie, sit or stand. A few metres away a firing squad will […]

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January 9, 2015

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Charlie Hebdo: the pen must defy the sword, Islamic or not

By Sarah Joseph The slaying of the Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists because of their work is the grossest attack on the value of free speech, and of course the right to life. In the deadly attack on the magazine’s office, the sword has crushed the pen: an unspeakable outrage. An attack on liberal values […]

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December 12, 2014

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Four reasons why the CIA torture program should never have happened

By Marius Smith When the US Senate Intelligence Committee released its report into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program this week, the response was appropriate. People called it “shocking”, “harrowing” and “deeply disturbing”. But most of all, the Committee’s report into the horrendous affair reveals that the whole thing was normal. Normal, that is, for state-sanctioned torture. There […]

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November 26, 2014

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Is there a human right to voluntary euthanasia?

Today, we are releasing episode 4 of our new video series, “Have You Got That Right?”, a collection of videos designed to explain important human rights laws quickly and clearly. Episode 4 – Voluntary Euthanasia ​Today’s episode asks whether there is a human right to voluntary euthanasia​. The argument has been made in a series […]

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November 24, 2014

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Prisons, overcrowding and human rights

Radical changes to the parole regime in Victoria in 2013 led to a 96.2% increase in refusals of parole in one year.

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November 19, 2014

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Questioning the queue: blocking protection to asylum seekers in Indonesia

By Maria O’Sullivan Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced that asylum seekers residing in Indonesia while awaiting protection will no longer obtain resettlement in Australia. This move puts into serious question the humanitarian rationale for Australia’s resettlement program and its work on a Regional Co-operation Framework for asylum seekers in Southeast Asia. Government officials constantly […]

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November 3, 2014

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Freedom, the sublime and the patriotic

Speech to Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Gala Dinner by  Keynote Speaker Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner During the past year or so, I have been constantly asked two questions with unerring predictability. One: Should the Racial Discrimination Act be amended? Two: How is everyone getting along at the Australian Human Rights […]

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