Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights

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Mourning the deaths of ‘the painter and the pastor’

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Myuran Sukumaran, self portrait and portrait of fellow death-row inmate Andrew Chan. Image from

By Yvette Selim

University of New South Wales

In the early hours of Wednesday morning two Australian men convicted for drug   trafficking in Indonesia were executed by firing squad. According to reports, they — along with the six other prisoners who were executed — declined their blindfolds and sang the hymn Amazing Grace moments before the gunshots were fired. Continue Reading →

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Human Rights concerns with PNG reinstating the death penalty

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By Betheli O’Carroll

TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has amended their legislation to extend the death penalty to cover more criminal offences. Previously, the death penalty was applicable to treason, wilful murder, piracy, and ‘attempted piracy with personal violence’ in PNG,[1] but it has not been used in practice for more than 50 years.[2] Consequently, Amnesty International, which describes the death penalty as ‘the ultimate denial of human rights… the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice’,[3] currently classifies PNG as ‘abolitionist in practice’.[4] In 2013, however, PNG legislated to extend the death penalty to crimes of aggravated rape, ‘robbery with violence’, and ‘sorcery-related killings’.[5] Continue Reading →