Human Rights

Bishop assures Afghan government of Australia's commitment

Despite the aid budget being cut, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has assured the Afghan government of Australia’s commitment.

Ms Bishop was in Kabul yesterday to participate in discussions with Afghan government officials, female politicians and women’s rights representatives.

Western aid cuts have many Afghans concerned that the achievements of the past decade, particularly in regards to women’s rights, will not be sustained.

Further drops in aid from Australia could lead to more Afghans fleeing to our shores illegally by boat, according to Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Australia.

However, Ms Bishop has assured the progress made “will not be lost through the Australian aid programme”.

Ukrainian government bans citizens from crossing out of rebel controlled territories

The Ukrainian government has cut civilian travel between the rebel and Ukrainian controlled territories, as the conflict heats up once more, effectively stranding its citizens.

The Ukrainian government has cut civilian travel between the rebel and Ukrainian controlled territories, as the conflict heats up once more, effectively stranding its citizens.

Aid organizations have warned that a medical crisis could be on the horizon, without vital medicines, that the government refuses to let through.

People crossing the border must apply for a special pass, which is only obtainable in Ukrainian held territory. A local journalist, Oleg Izmailov, called the system ‘both idiotic and a breach of human rights.’

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French arrests on terrorism charges endangers freedom of expression

In France, a series of arrests related to terrorism charges raise concerns over the right for freedom of expression.

Amnesty International claims the 69 arrests made in the aftermath of the deadly attacks against satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a kosher supermarket and security forces in Paris, were all made on vague charges that test France’s acceptance for free speech.

John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International says “how the French authorities act in the aftermath of the horrific killings is the litmus test for its commitment to human rights for all.”

Richest 1% to soon own more than rest of the world's population

The richest one per cent will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population, according to a study by Oxfam.

The anti-poverty charity’s research shows the wealthiest one per cent are expected to own more than 50 per cent of the world’s wealth by the end of 2016.

With the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam’s executive director Winnie Byanyima plans to demand urgent action to tighten the wealth gap.

Ms Byanyima says the ‘business as usual’ approach “for the elite isn’t a cost-free option [and] failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back by decades”.

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Baby Ferouz released from Darwin detention centre

The Brisbane-born asylum seeker, baby Ferouz, has been released from a Darwin detention centre with his family.

Immigration authorities have allowed Ferouz, his parents and siblings to stay with relatives while their claims for protection visas are assessed.

The child’s lawyer senior associate Murray Watt says “detention centres are no place for babies and children, and it is disappointing that it took the Australian government more than a year to also come to this realisation”.

Other children of asylum seekers born in Australia have been released in recent days.

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Peter Dutton claims reports of Manus detainees being denied food and water are 'utter nonsense'

Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister has praised Papua New Guinean officials for ending the protests at the Manus Island Detention centre, while claiming that reports of detainees being denied food by authorities were both ‘irresponsible’ and ‘complete and utter nonsense.’

Peter Dutton, Australia’s immigration minister has praised Papua New Guinean officials for ending the protests at the Manus Island Detention centre, while claiming that reports of detainees being denied food by authorities were both ‘irresponsible’ and ‘complete and utter nonsense.’

Mr Dutton claimed that food and water being denied to the detainees was untrue, saying it wasn’t ‘being denied’, but, ‘some circumstances where ringleaders within the people who are in the processing centre have denied staff access into particular areas for the delivery of food’

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Palestine to re-submit resolution to UN

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that he was discussing with Jordan plans to resubmit to the United Nations Security Council a resolution calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state that failed to win enough votes last week.

Palestinian officials hope the UN will be more sympathetic to their resolution, demanding an Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and independence by 2017. However, it is suspected that the veto-wielding United States would be all but certain to vote "No" again, as it did on December 30.

In the UN vote on Tuesday, the Palestinian draft received eight votes in favour, including France, Russia and China, two against and five abstentions, among them Britain. Australia joined the United States in voting against the measure.

Convictions of Al Jazeera journalists under review

An Egyptian appeals court is holding a hearing today to review the convictions of Australian journalist, Peter Greste and two of his Al Jazeera colleagues.

Mr Greste was among numerous journalists detained, charged and found guilty of broadcasting “live news harming domestic security” and aiding declared terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The trio were caught up in the crackdown after former president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup.

Mr Greste’s mother and father, Lois and Juris, will be attending the Egyptian Court of Cassation which could either throw out the conviction, order a retrial or uphold the original verdict.

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NY police protest against mayor at comrade's funeral

Police officers in New York have defied pleas not to stage a protest at the funeral of a slain comrade, turning their backs as mayor Bill de Blasio paid tribute to the murdered patrolman.

Despite an appeal on Saturday from New York police commissioner Bill Bratton not to protest against Mr de Blasio, dozens of officers in a crowd of thousands appeared to turn away from giant screens relaying the mayor's address inside a Brooklyn funeral home.

Mr De Blasio was paying tribute to 32 year-old murdered police officer Wenjian Liu who was shot dead with 40 year-old partner Rafael Ramos on December 20 as the pair sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn.

Air Force Psychologist confirms CIA interrogation techniques

Former United States Air Force Psychologist James Mitchell confirmed last week some of the practices of the CIA’s intelligence program, and defended them, saying that they provided vital intelligence.

Former United States Air Force Psychologist James Mitchell confirmed last week some of the practices of the CIA’s intelligence program, and defended them, saying that they provided vital intelligence.

He admitted that he water boarded several suspects of terrorism, including the alleged mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

He does however, also allege that the Senate committee report detailing the acts of the CIA interrogation program were exaggerated and inaccurate.

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