Human Rights

British Councillor claims floods act of God

In Britain, the anti-immigration UK Independence Party has suspended a local councillor who blamed recent flooding across Britain on the government's decision to legalise gay marriage.

David Silvester, who left Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party in protest to last year’s move to allow same-sex marriage, claimed that Britain’s recent storms were because the new same-sex laws had angered God.

UKIP party Chairman Roger Bird has told British media that Mr Silvester defied party orders not to give any more interviews after he told BBC radio on Sunday that homosexuality was a disease that could be "healed".

Lack of protection for child brides; Equality Now

Cultural traditions and a lack of legal protections are driving tens of millions of girls around the world into early marriage, subjecting them to violence, poverty and mistreatment, an international human rights group says.

Equality Now, citing the United Nations Population Fund, said in a report over the weekend that more than 140 million girls will be married over the next decade before they turn 18.

The 32-page report found that despite laws that set a minimum age for marriage in many countries, cultural and social norms continue to provide legitimacy for child marriage in several remote villages and even some developed countries.

Indonesia investigating navy turn-arounds

The Indonesian government have confirmed they have begun an investigative report into two recently returned asylum seeker boats found washed up on Indonesia’s far east coast.

Two asylum seekers say the Australian Navy forced the boats to turn around, and one of the boats was allegedly turned around without enough fuel and was left drifting for days.

Indonesian government spokesperson Agus Rookiyan Barnas says they are investigating the claims, and if found true, could breach the 1951 UN Refugee convention, a convention the Australian government has already ratified.

HIV babies need homes too

Australian HIV law experts have called for the process of adopting HIV-positive children from overseas countries to change to move the current discrimination.

HIV/AIDS Legal Centre spokeswoman Alexandra Stratigos has said that whilst she believes safeguards should be in place a child's HIV status should not be a barrier.

Ms Stratigos believe the restrictions on adopting children which desperately need homes down to both Australia’s Medicare system and governmental reluctance to wear the costs of the children's health care needs

Britain begins benchmark child abuse inquiry

Britain’s biggest inquiry into child abuse has commenced in Belfast in Northern Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has heard its first testimonies of abuse in church and state run institutions from a period spanning 73 years.

More than 430 people have agreed to give statements about institutional abuses including 61 child migrants who were sent to Australia under a government scheme.

Sri Lankan' refugees hoping for release

Indian and Sri Lankan authorities have agreed to talks, hopefully resulting in the release of fishermen from custody of both countries.

Over 200 Sri Lankan fishermen are currently in custody in India, and almost 300 Indian fishermen are being held in Sri Lanka, in a series of breaches over the border of fishing waters in the region.

A meeting is scheduled for January 20th between India’s Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar, whose portfolio includes Fisheries, the Sri Lankan fisheries minister, Rajitha Senaratne and a team of Sri Lankan legal, naval and external affairs ministry officials.

Sheikh Hasina re-elected as Bangladesh PM

In Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been sworn in for a third term following the worst electoral violence in the country’s history.

Some 150 people were killed in recent months which saw the country’s major opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, boycott the election in protest.

Prime Minister Hasina has told state media that her walkover win is legitimate, despite the country’s opposition party’s claims her dictatorial government is devoid of any representation of the people.

Refugee fears for brothers following Family Reunion Visa changes

A Hazara refugee is fearing for the lives three younger brothers, aged 13,11 and 9, following news that his orphan-relative visa could take up to ten years to process.

Zaman Nasiry fled Pakistan in 2011 following the death of his father at the hands of the Taliban. He says that the Hazara are killed in Pakistan. Last year, his wife and his mother were killed by the Taliban.

The news comes as the Abbott Government is making it harder for refugees arriving by boat to be reunited with their families, with Mr Morrison saying anyone arriving by boat will go to the back of the line when applying for family reunion visas.

Turmoil in Central African Republic : the President about to step down

The president of the violence plagued Central African Republic. Michel Djotodia is preparing to step down.

President Djotodia, who has been in power since last March, is set to meet with regional leaders in Chad on Thursday in an effort to resolve the turmoil sweeping the country... but there is a consensus that he is not part of the solution to the country's problems.

Fighting between religious groups in the Central African Republic has intensified since December as the country's Christian majority seeks revenge against Muslim rebels.

France bans shows of comic Dieudonné

Several French mayors have decided to ban the shows of Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, a comic accused of insulting the memory of Holocaust victims and threatening public order with anti-semitic gibes by the government.

Dieudonné has been fined repeatedly for hate speech. His trademark “quenelle” gesture, an inverted nazi salute has been copied by renowned figures as an “anti-establishment” sign.

M’Bala M’Bala’s lawyer said his client would immediately appeal against any ban from performing, using France’s legal provisions defending freedom of speech.

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