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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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Asylum seekers: we can’t ignore our international law obligations

May 1, 2014

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By Azadeh Dastyari This week’s Four Corners investigation on the circumstances surrounding the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati at the Manus Island detention centre in February was uncomfortable viewing. The ABC program highlighted the lawlessness of the centre and the vulnerability of the asylum seekers to violence. But perhaps the most concerning aspect […]

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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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Guest Blog: Racism is a moral bad that our law should combat

April 14, 2014

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By Tim Soutphommasane Can you legislate for virtue or eradicate racism through laws? These are questions that have been raised in the current debate about the Racial Discrimination Act. Some, particularly those who favour the Federal Government’s proposed reform to the Act, suggest that combating discrimination is best left to the marketplace of ideas. We […]

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