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Hicks conviction overturned – is he owed an apology or assistance?

February 23, 2015

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By Adam Fletcher A United States Military Court’s decision to overturn David Hicks’ conviction for the crime of “material support for terrorism” represents a welcome return to the international rule of law – at least in the US. I have written previously that material support for terrorism was effectively a “non-crime” at the time of […]

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Referendum on banning the Burqa? No thanks

February 2, 2015

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By Paula Gerber and Farinaz Zamani Ashni Pauline Hanson is once again fuelling the flames of racism and xenophobia in Australia by suggesting that we should hold a referendum on banning the burqa. Hanson has joined a number of politicians who have a similar preoccupation with what Muslim women should wear. Following the high profile anti-terrorism […]

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Rights and the non-human animal

January 22, 2015

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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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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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Four reasons why the CIA torture program should never have happened

December 12, 2014

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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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Is there a human right to voluntary euthanasia?

November 26, 2014

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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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Prisons, overcrowding and human rights

November 24, 2014

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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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Freedom, the sublime and the patriotic

November 3, 2014

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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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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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