Human Rights

Criticism for ID checks at polling booths

The State government’s changes to the Electoral Act 1992 have faced more criticism from opponents as voters will have to produce identification in order to vote at polling booths.

Opponents of the Bill state that that marginalised sectors of the community, such as the homeless, those who speak English as a second language and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, may not be able to obtain ID and could be denied their democratic right to vote.

Director of advocacy and research at the Victoria-based Human Rights Law Centre, Emily Howie, has said this is unnecessary and the government should reconsider the bill.

Report shows crimes against humanity in Syria

The UN has been handed a potentially devastating report on 26 thousand photographs of dead prisoners smuggled out of Syria.

The report comes from a regime defector who claims to have been a photographer with Syria’s military police whose job was to document deaths in regime detention.

Sir Desmond de Silva, the prosecutor responsible for the arrest of Liberia’s former president for war crimes against humanity, says, “This evidence could underpin a charge of crimes against humanity — without any shadow of a doubt.”

Most of those photographed were young men showing signs of strangulation, electrocution and other types of torture.

Australian asylum seeker antics are not acceptable

The New York-based humanitarian group, Human Rights Watch, has criticised Australia in its annual world report, saying it has damaged its record by persistently undercutting refugee protections.

The report says successive Australian governments, both Labor and Liberal, continue to engage in scaremongering politics at the expense of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, prioritising domestic politics over Australia's international legal obligations of protecting the rights of asylum seekers, with the Government attempting to demonise those trying to reach Australia by boat and by insisting that officials refer to all asylum seekers who do so as 'illegal maritime arrivals'.

Asylum seekers mistreated by Australian Navy

The Australian Navy has been accused of beating and inflicting burns on asylum seekers by ordering them to hold onto parts of the engine of a boat being towed back to Indonesia.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison released a statement declining to comment on specific operations but denying any allegations of mistreatment but Indonesian Police claim they had to get medical treatment for 10 asylum seekers picked up in Indonesian waters.

"Smugglers and their clients have strong motivations for seeking to discredit the activities of Australia's border protection operations in an attempt to undermine public support for the Government's strong border policies." says Mr Morrison.

Syrian opposition to attend peace talks in Geneva

Western leaders have hailed a decision by Syria's opposition to attend an international peace conference alongside representatives of a regime they despise and remain determined to overthrow.

After weeks of hesitation and threats to boycott the talks, the deeply divided National Coalition said it will go to Switzerland, with the sole aim of toppling President Bashar al-Assad.

The so-called Geneva II meeting aims to set up a transitional government to end a brutal war estimated to have killed more than 130,000 people and forced millions from their homes in nearly three years.

Rally for Indonesian Maid; Hong Kong

Thousands of people rallied in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for a young Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih.

The 23-year old maid, who was badly beaten by her employer, has sparked a police investigation into the treatment of migrant domestic helpers living in Hong Kong.

While cases of such harsh treatment are rare, Hong Kong's policies on migrant workers have often made maids reluctant to report abuse for fear of losing their livelihoods and being deported if they fail to find new jobs swiftly.

Syrian Rebels dismiss upcoming peace talks; Geneva

In Syria, an alliance of Islamist rebels has dismissed upcoming peace talks set to take place in Switzerland next Sunday, claiming any agreement reached will be difficult to implement on the ground.

On Saturday, Syria’s main opposition group, the National Coalition, agreed to attend peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government in Genenva.

Some 130,000 people have been killed and a quarter of Syrians driven from their homes in the Syrian civil war, which began in 2011 with peaceful protests against 40 years of Assad family rule.

Aussie' Sex Party commits to "Dress like a bikie day"

The Australian Sex Party says Friday, January 31 will be National Dress Like a Bikie Day.

Australians around the country are encouraged to dress as bikies to protest against the Queensland LNP’s VLAD laws.

The widely criticised Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment legislation allows police officers to stop and search any member of the public who they suspect of associating with members of an outlawed motorcycle gang.

Organisers of National Dress Like a Bikie Day say governments should punish actual crimes rather than imagined ones.

Invasion Day March this Sunday

The Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy is organising a protest march from Queensland’s Parliament House to Musgrave Park in South Brisbane to mark Invasion Day on Sunday, January 26.

The march will begin at 10am, and will draw attention to ongoing issues of injustice and discrimination, such as rising Indigenous incarceration rates, deaths in custody and government intervention in remote Aboriginal communities.

After the Invasion Day march, the Jagera Arts Centre will host the Brisbane premier of Utopia, a film by renowned journalist John Pilger about the marginalisation and oppression of Aboriginal Australians.

The screening will begin at 4pm on Sunday at 121 Cordelia Street, South Brisbane.

Two arrested at Whitehaven blockade

Two women aged 57 and 60 were arrested yesterday after holding a vigil at Naomi River as part of the ongoing blockade of Whitehaven Coal’s mine expansion project in Leard State Forest.

Front Line Action on Coal says Whitehaven’s mine expansion will destroy the habitat of 26 threatened species,and may degrade surrounding agricultural land.

This morning, the traditional owners of the region, the Gomeroi, released a statement saying that the silence and inaction of Prime Minister Abbott’s and Premier O’Farrell’s governments was confusing and mystifying.

The Leard Forest blockade began on January 13, and eight protesters have been arrested so far.

4ZZZ has attempted to contact Whitehaven Coal for comment but has yet to receive a reply.

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