Posts Tagged ‘Canberra’

“Human rights lectures are little more than a joke” but so is this article in the Herald Sun

February 27, 2014

People hold candles at Light the Dark - a vigil in response to tragic turn of events on M

(People hold candles at Light the Dark – a vigil in response to tragic turn of events on Manus Island that left one person dead and 77 injured. Source: News Corp Australia)

On 26 February the Australian Herald Sun contained an article by Rita Panahi under the provocative title: “Human rights lectures are little more than a joke. In it she hits hard at some countries that criticize Australia’s interception and detention policy of refugees. “Being lectured to by China and Iran about human rights abuses is a bit like taking advice on etiquette from Miley Cyrus. It’s not just the pot calling the sparkly stainless steel kettle black, but then accusing it of racial profiling.” Quite rightly she points to the irony that Iran feels “emboldened to attack, despite the fact the young man killed was supposedly fleeing that country.”[The riots in Manus Island detention centre escalated into a riot on Monday and 23-year-old Iranian Reza Berati was killed’]

Even China, with its record of silencing dissidents, felt entitled to question Australia’s record. China’s Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister, Li Baodong, criticised our asylum policy and expressed concern for “the protection of refugees and asylum seekers and the right of the children of refugees”. He said: “We have also asked about whether these refugees will be illegally repatriated to other countries.”

In looking at the China’s own human rights record the author then states: “Of course, China’s human rights abuses are not restricted to terrorising pregnant women. According to Amnesty International, “harassment, surveillance, house arrest and imprisonment of human rights defenders are on the rise and censorship of the internet and other media has grown. Repression of minority groups, including Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians, and of Falun Gong practitioners and Christians who practise their religion outside state-sanctioned churches, continues”. China and Iran indeed also execute more people than any other country.

However, to conclude now that these nations have “no right to question any country, let alone one with values of freedom and fairness, such as Australia” is a bit much. If only ‘sparkly’ clean countries are allowed to address human rights issues, it is going to be extremely silent. Would it not be preferable to have a substantive discussion of human rights issues? One that would include – in the case of Rita Pahani – at least a mention of the statement by Amnesty International – so eagerly quoted on above on China – on Australia’s refugee policy. It should not have escaped the author as the Amnesty statement came just two days before her own writing.

To help in her research: On Monday 24 February, Amnesty International in a report took a swipe at Australia for the way the country has responded to the global refugee crisis. Amnesty said Canberra should have accepted more refugees fleeing the bloody crisis in Syria.  The group said the country had the capability to take in seven thousand five hundred Syrian refugees. The rights group also called on Canberra not to send and detain vulnerable refugees on Islands in Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Nauru.”

Human rights lectures are little more than a joke | Herald Sun.

Human Rights Defenders try to stop spreading of sorcery killings through Pacific

June 6, 2013

ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports on a conference held in Australia on a topic that sounds like it comes straight from the middle ages: sorcery. Read the rest of this entry »