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New book offers a different perspective on torture

February 21, 2014

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A new book by Castan Centre Associate Dr Ronli Sifris, providing another angle on a feminist understanding of international human rights, will be launched in early March. The book, Reproductive Freedom, Torture and International Human Rights: Challenging the Masculinisation of Torture, examines restrictions on reproductive freedom through the lens of the right to be free from torture […]

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Sending People Back to Face Torture or even Death

December 10, 2013

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By Adam Fletcher On the 4th of this month the new Coalition Government introduced a Bill entitled the Migration Amendment (Regaining Control over Australia’s Protection Obligations) Bill 2013. In a way, the title is apt because the Bill would return control over Australia’s refoulement obligations to the Minister, where it used to lie under the […]

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Our Prime Minister’s Sri Lanka performance: a human rights disaster

November 20, 2013

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By Sarah Joseph AAP/Pau Osborne   Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s performance over human rights in Sri Lanka in the last week was an utter disaster. His statements seemed to brush aside some of the most fundamental human rights values: prohibitions on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture. Context Sri Lanka finished a decades-long civil […]

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The Right to Silence Takes a Beating in NSW

September 10, 2012

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By Adam Fletcher* Earlier this month, the NSW Government announced that it is going to restrict criminal suspects’ right to silence to ‘tilt the scales of justice towards common sense.’ A Bill will be introduced by October to amend the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW) “to allow juries and the judiciary to draw an adverse inference […]

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Why alleged police abuse must be investigated independently

May 18, 2012

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By Adam Fletcher There is currently a case before the Victorian Supreme Court (Bare v Small and Others) in which a young Ethiopian man claims he was abused by Victoria Police (an officer allegedly broke his teeth against a gutter, capsicum-sprayed him while he was handcuffed and racially abused him during the course of an […]

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Signs of Progress on Independent Detention Oversight

April 2, 2012

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Last October, I wrote about Australia’s need for more independent oversight of places where people are deprived of liberty – preferably under the framework of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). I am pleased to report that in the intervening months the Attorney-General’s Department has tabled a National Interest Analysis (NIA) for […]

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Serco and Asylum-seekers’ Rights in Detention

March 16, 2012

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By Adam Fletcher The government’s obligations to immigration detainees are very similar to those of prisoners. AAP/Dean Lewins A training manual instructing immigration detention centre guards to use force to incapacitate detainees was leaked this week. It included techniques to kick, punch and target pressure points on detainees. The Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen said […]

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Extradition and Mutual Assistance Changes Slip in under the Radar

March 7, 2012

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 By Adam Fletcher Last Wednesday, in the aftermath of the infamous Labor leadership showdown and when all eyes were on the Carr for Canberra drama, federal Parliament passed the Extradition and Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. Unless I missed it, the passage of this Bill into law garnered not a single […]

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The killing of Osama bin Laden: his right to life and the new torture debate

May 5, 2011

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Sarah Joseph Osama Bin Laden’s killing at the hands of US Navy SEALS on 1 May gives rise to some interesting international law issues. Here, I address some of those issues from a human rights perspective, concerning freedom from torture (regarding the intelligence used to find Bin Laden) and the right to life (regarding his […]

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George W Bush and Torture

November 10, 2010

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By Sarah Joseph So George Bush has admitted that he authorised waterboarding. In fact, he seem quite proud of it – damn right. Bush asserts that the practice saved lives. But one can never know if Bush’s assertions about the results of waterboarding are correct. Would more orthodox tactics have worked to gain the alleged life-saving information?  […]

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