Human Rights

Gangs target vulnerable kids

Organised criminal gangs in Victoria are targeting vulnerable children in state care and turning them to prostitution.

An ABC investigation revealed the children as young as 12 are being sexually exploited with male gang members enticing them into trading sex for money, drugs and alcohol.

It is believed police have identified between 30 and 40 children who are living Victoria’s Department of Human Services residential care have been sexually exploited in the past 18 months.

Police and Department of Human Services are working on a new approach to tackle this issue which includes better sharing of information and educating workers to recognise signs of sexual exploitation.

Healthcare crisis in Syria leads to unnecessary amputations

Healthcare in Syria has reached a critical point as stories emerge of brutal medical conditions in the country due to lack of facilities and medication.

A report released by the Save the Children charity says in some cases medics have been forced to amputate children limbs because they have no other way to treat the injuries.
Regional Director, Roger Hearn, said the situation in Syria is changing from a humanitarian crisis to a health crisis and finding a doctor with the correct equipment and medication was almost impossible.

Pussy Riot attacked by youths

Six Russian youths attacked two members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot with pepper spray and ecological paint.

Maria Aliokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova suffered some light chemical burns.

The two women were in the city of Nizhni Novgorod, east of Moscow, where they were supposed to visit a prison.

According to Piotr Verzilov - husband of Ms. Tolokonnikova - an organized group entered to a McDonalds where the members of Pussy Riot were eating and attacked them.

The youth were using patriotic symbols and chanting nationalist slogans. The police have opened an inquiry to investigate the case.

Manus Island workers issued guide to aslyum seeker questions

The contractor responsible for the mental and physical health of asylum seekers on Manus Island, has issued staff with a two page guide on how to deal with questions about living conditions, fears, and human rights.

This follows the riot at the detention centre last month which left one asylum seeker dead and others badly beaten.

One question included in the guide asks, "How can we feel safe here?" The response being, "We understand that you feel unsafe after all that’s happened. It will take a while to feel safe again and we are all working to try and make that happen."

According to critics and ex-staff this is an indication of the real fear permeating the detention centre and the hostility between the islands population and the detainees.

Senate inquiry at Manus Island

Greens and Labor are joining forces for a Senate inquiry into the recent violence at Manus Island which saw one dead and dozens injured.

There’s already an ongoing investigation by Papua New Guinean police and a separate inquiry by Australia’s Immigration Department but these have been dismissed as a “co-ordinated whitewash.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Senate inquiry will be independent and rigorous, and will seek to hear from detention centre staff and asylum seekers involved in the violence.

Opposition spokesman Richard Marles supports the inquiry and says Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has shown a “staggering” lack of oversight on this issue.

Uniting Church offers to care for child asylum seekers

In an attempt to stop child asylum seekers being sent to Nauru, the Uniting Church has offered to look after asylum seeker children without parents currently on Christmas Island.

Harsh government policy states that all asylum seekers in detention are subject to possible transfer to Nauru or Manus Island with no exceptions, but National Director of Uniting Justice, Elenie Poulos, says Nauru is an unsuitable place for children.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison appears to have rejected the church's idea saying no exemptions will be made for people on Christmas Island, because doing so will create dangerous incentives for people smugglers to put children onto boats.

Asylum seekers unable to work in Australia face negative effects

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Curtin University has released a new research report “Policy as Punishment,” which saw researchers talk to 29 adult asylum seekers who are living in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and have arrived since August 2012.

The research paper focused on the Australian Government’s denial of work to asylum seekers, a policy introduced by the former Labor Government and continued under the Coalition government.
Essentially this means the 27,000 asylum seekers living in Australia on bridging visas are unable to work, and have to survive on Centrelink payments of $220 per week.

Less funds arrived to rescue CAR out of $500m promised

A food crisis is looming in the Central African Republic after nearly a year of violence, a UN’s humanitarian official warned on Sunday.

But the amount of $500 million dollars that were pledged in January to help the crisis did not materialised.

Abdou Dieng, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator said, only one-fifth of the $500 million promised in Brussels came into the country.

Thousands have been killed in the unrest and around a quarter of the country's 4.6 million people have been displaced.

Dieng says now the humanitarian crisis will start to deepen and many people will soon be dying of hunger.

UN condemns Russian action in Ukraine

The United Nations says Russia continues to violate the sovereignty of the Ukraine.

It’s fellow G8 members have now submitted a statement in which they condemn Russia’s neglect of their obligations under the UN Charter.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb’s planned visit this month to Russia has been canceled as Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament.
US Officials state that any further military talks with Russia have been canceled and travel visa bans and sanction of Russian Banks are under consideration.

UN meets to discuss Russia

As the situation in the Ukraine continues to escalate, the UN Security Council is currently holding an open meeting, discussing Russia’s most recent military actions.

Russia is justifying their measures as being within their rights, while the UK and France amongst others insist that Russia is clearly violating the Ukraine's territorial rights.

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