Prisoner Rights are Human Rights

2010 - Volume 13 Number 2

Our prisons are full of people who are vulnerable and at risk. Prisoners are often young, mentally ill, suffering from drug dependency, poor or Indigenous – or all of these. It is for this reason that we must be committed to protecting the human rights of our prisoners, and prisons must be complemented with adequate housing, employment, drug treatment and mental health support. 

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War by Remote Control

2010 - Volume 13 Number 1

We may be wired for war but are we wired for weighing the consequences? What happens when science fictions becomes battlefield reality?

There are philosophical and ethical questions when a soldier thousands of kilometres away can, as if playing a video game, sit in a control room before a computer and obliterate an Afghan or Pakistani village or Taliban hideout by remote control then sign off, go home for dinner with his family and play with his/her children. It is war by remote control. It is also ‘execution without trial’. The use of drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) will not make the world safe and will lead us to lose trace of the morals of armed conflict?

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Debunking the Myths about Asylum Seekers 2nd Edition

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!

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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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