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Author Archives | Sarah Joseph

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Operation Sovereign Borders and the “Drownings Argument”

July 27, 2015

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Operation Sovereign Borders, offshore detention and the ‘drownings argument’ Sarah Joseph, Monash University This article is based on Sarah Joseph’s presentation to the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law’s 2015 conference, delivered on July 24. On the day of the release of the Human Rights Commission’s report into children in detention, Prime Minister Tony Abbott […]

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The 2015 Human Rights Report – Torture and Refoulement: the Shame of Liberal Democracies

May 11, 2015

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By Sarah Joseph This piece is featured in the 2015 Castan Centre Human Rights Report. We will be featuring the articles on the blog throughout the month of May.  Gross human rights abuses happen all over the world. They are not confined to the barbaric acts of groups such as Islamic State. Indeed, even liberal democracies, such […]

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Ticking down to a possible date with executioners

January 19, 2015

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

January 9, 2015

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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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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: The “freedom” debate

April 28, 2014

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By Sarah Joseph Our Federal government is committed to promoting greater ‘freedom’. We have a new ‘Freedom Commissioner’, Tim Wilson. And, writing in January, Attorney General George Brandis described ‘freedom’ as the ‘most fundamental of all human rights’. What does “freedom” mean? But … freedom of what? Freedom to what? Freedom without an accompanying noun […]

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Freedom: the government’s inconsistent approach

April 10, 2014

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By Sarah Joseph Our federal government is committed to promoting greater “freedom”. It has appointed a “Freedom Commissioner”, Tim Wilson, and has asked the Australian Law Reform Commission to conduct a freedom audit of statutory laws. Writing in January, Attorney-General George Brandis described “freedom” as the “most fundamental of all human rights”.  But what does […]

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Rights to bigotry and green lights to hate

March 28, 2014

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By Sarah Joseph, Monash University AAP/Stefan Postles Poor George Brandis. Our Attorney-General seems to have wedged himself on the issue of racial vilification. Soon after the election of the Abbott government, Senator Brandis defiantly declared that repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act would be his first task as Australia’s first law officer. […]

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The Biennale Boycott Blues

March 21, 2014

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by Sarah Joseph The Sydney Biennale starts today after weeks of controversy over the severing of its relationship with Transfield, the company that runs the detention centre in Nauru and which will take over the one at Manus island. To recap, several artists withdrew from the Biennale in protest over its sponsorship arrangement with Transfield […]

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Human Rights and International Law (24): 20 Years Ago, Dallaire Sent His “Genocide Fax”

January 14, 2014

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A very sad anniversary.

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Tim Wilson, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and “balancing” human rights

December 20, 2013

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by Sarah Joseph (this post was originally published by The Drum on 19 December) Tim Wilson, former policy director for right-wing think-tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has been appointed as the human rights commissioner. His remit will be in the area of “freedom”, focusing particularly on freedom of speech. Attorney-General George Brandis explained […]

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