2010 - Volume 12 Number 5
At the height of political dog-whistling in 2002 the Edmund Rice Centre led an important effort to bring clarity to the national debate through the publication of the accessible fact-sheet: Debunking the Myths on Asylum Seekers
It now appears to be necessary to revisit the topic to once again bring a factual spotlight to the debate for this coming election year!
2009 - Volume 12 Number 4
There is nothing new about torture. It has always occurred either directly or by proxy, but the unthinkable becomes possible during times of crisis or fear.
In 1975 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously approved the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment where member nations agreed to eliminate torture. It was agreed that exceptional events, situations, or factors would not provide an exception to the prohibition against torture.
According to Professor George Williams, the policies pursued by the Bush Administration, mean that, ‘We’re now in a position where the use of torture is more acceptable than it was before 9/11.’
The Bush Administration overrode morality and made methods of torture ‘common’. To give itself the ‘flexibility’ to use methods defined as torture it covertly redefined torture as ‘extreme acts’ which resulted in ‘death or organ failure’.
2009 - Volume 12 Number 3
The Australian government has recently stepped up its effort to form partnerships with regional neighbours to tackle people smuggling, which it identifies as the primary focus of its asylum seeker policy.
This focus detracts attention from the people most affected by this new strategy, those seeking asylum in Australia. As refugee lawyer David Manne has said, “There’s a disproportionate emphasis on protection of our extraterritorial borders to the serious expense of protection of people [in Australia]”