No More Torture

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’.

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Shifting the Focus: From People Smugglers to Protection

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]” 

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To meat or not to meat: reducing your eco-footprint

2009 - Volume 12 Number 2

Not everyone can afford solar panels or a hybrid car, but our diet is one thing that we have the power to change and make a definite impact with.

Eating less meat and animal products (even if that just means having one meat free day per week), or foregoing them altogether, is one small way for individuals to make an impact on some of the massive injustices facing our world today: from poverty and ill health, to environmental degradation and climate change. 

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Urgent: A fair and effective carbon pollution reduction scheme

2009 - Volume 12 Number 1

Good law must be based on good principles that are widely and clearly understood. 

Australia must act now because the world must act now. Global agreement on meaningful targets is absolutely crucial and that also means participation in global cap and trade schemes. To participate in the negotiations and the global mechanisms, Australia must have its own cap and trade scheme.

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Women and Peacemaking

2008 - Volume 11 Number 9

It is only recently that the international community has begun to recognise that women, as survivors of violent conflict, also bear the burden of reconstruction in the transition period. They are largely unseen and unacknowledged, instigators of peace. In the Pacific region, women have had a vital role in peacemaking although they have rarely been consulted or included in formal peace talks. Feminist voices for peace are needed if women in every culture who struggle for liberation and social justice are to be supported.

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