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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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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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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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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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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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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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