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Open letter to the Attorney-General regarding the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

September 16, 2014

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The following is an open letter to the Commonwealth Attorney-General, The Hon. George Brandis QC, signed by 64 organisations including the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law. The letter is dated 15 September 2014. Dear Attorney, Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  We, the undersigned […]

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The High Court reminds us that immigration detention is not simply at the government’s pleasure

September 15, 2014

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By Patrick Emerton The High Court’s most recent immigration decision reminds us that Australia’s system of immigration detention should not be regarded as just another tool of government policy. It is exceptional, not only politically but also legally. The decision also reminds us both of what the law can offer in pursuit of justice, and […]

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Guest Post: “Nothing About Us Without Us”: National Responses to the CRPD Six Years On

September 10, 2014

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The 2014 Castan Centre/Mallesons Annual Lecture – paper delivered by Professor Emeritus Ron Mccallum AO 1. Introduction Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a huge honour for me to deliver this annual human rights lecture named for Ron Castan QC. I met Ron on several occasions, but we never conversed at any length. I […]

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Commonwealth Games: is it time to stop playing?

July 22, 2014

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By Paula Gerber Barely six months ago, international anger and calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Russia drew nearly as much news coverage as the games’ sporting achievements. And as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow get under way, it is worth remembering that although Scotland has nothing to match Russia’s gay propaganda laws, the […]

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Handing over Tamils to the state they fled breaks international law

July 4, 2014

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by Azadeh Dastyari Australia appears to have reached a new all-time low in its violation of international obligations and its treatment of vulnerable people seeking Australia’s protection. If widespread media reports are true, Australia is preparing to hand over to the Sri Lankan Navy a group of Tamil asylum seekers who fled Sri Lanka. The group reportedly includes 37 […]

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Child workers in Vietnam face further exploitation

June 27, 2014

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Vietnamese children as young as 11 are working for up to 18 hours a day in harsh and abusive conditions, often unpaid and denied communication with their families, a study shows. The study, led by Professor Susan Kneebone of Monash University’s Castan Centre for Human Rights Law in collaboration with the children’s foundation Blue Dragon, looks at the causes and […]

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Freeing the RDA ‘Free Speech’ submissions

June 26, 2014

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Some submissions on the proposed amendments to S18C & D, Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth): by Melissa Castan The Australian Government is currently considering amendments to section 18C and D of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, and in March 2014 called for submissions on an exposure draft (available here). It has been estimated that over 5000 […]

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Deterring and denying asylum seekers in Australia

June 25, 2014

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By Azadeh Dastyari Australia has long prided itself on its commitment to fairness. It is a signatory to a range of international conventions intended to protect the vulnerable and has in the past provided sanctuary for those seeking refuge, most notably in the wake of the Vietnam War. In recent years, however, successive Australian governments […]

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IDAHO Day Post: Why the Pacific islands are no gay paradise

May 16, 2014

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The world celebrates the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17 May.  To mark the day, Paula Gerber reflects on the ongoing criminalisation of homosexual conduct in the Pacific.  The United Nations recently invited people to imagine what it would be like if you were not free to be you. If the only […]

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2014 Castan Human Rights Report: Asylum seekers punished more every year

May 5, 2014

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By Azadeh Dastyari The human rights of asylum seekers and refugees, in particular those who arrive in Australia by boat, continue to be gravely compromised. Australia has instigated a military response to ‘unauthorised maritime arrivals’ titled Operation Sovereign Borders, led by a three-star General. We are concerned that the emphasis on denying asylum seekers access […]

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