Regarding Rights

Academic and activist perspectives on human rights


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Mourning the deaths of ‘the painter and the pastor’

Image from www.sbs.com.au

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

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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Indignation, not engagement: Australia’s response to international criticism of asylum seeker detention

Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Photo: http://www.unmultimedia.org

Juan Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Photo: http://www.unmultimedia.org

By Cynthia Banham

Centre for International Governance and Justice

The Abbott government’s recent outrage at the United Nations over a finding by the Special Rapporteur on torture that Australia’s asylum seeker policies violate international law has a very familiar ring. Continue Reading →


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Drifting Sovereignty

By Marie-Eve Loiselle

Centre for International Governance and Justice

Sea Monsters by Dennis Kim http://tinyurl.com/nuanaq8

Sea Monsters by Dennis Kim
http://tinyurl.com/nuanaq8

Berkeley Professor of Political Science Wendy Brown’s latest book Walled States, Waning Sovereignty would make an interesting bedside read for Australian Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison.

On the 7th of May, Minister Morrison unveiled the Australian Government’s new border policy during an address to the Lowy Institute for International Policy. The creation of the Australian Border Force (ABF) will see the merging of immigration and customs into a single portfolio. It will be headed by a Commissioner holding the same status as other security agency chiefs, including the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, the Chief of the Defence Force, and the Director General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). Continue Reading →


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New National Children’s Commissioner — Triumph or Timewaster?

By Mhairi Cowden

Following an intense few months of lobbying by advocacy groups, it was announced earlier last year that the Gillard government would establish a new National Children’s Commissioner within the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

For nearly 20 years advocacy groups within Australia have been calling for the role to be established and it is exciting to see Australia finally take an important step forward in fulfilling its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC).

Having achieved this important goal it is now worth asking — will a National Children’s Commissioner work to enhance and secure the rights of Australian children, or will they be just another adult in the hierarchy of government?

Here I present a case for cautious optimism. Continue Reading →