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Emboldened Netanyahu maintains hard line against US-Iran deal

19 March 2015 | Tony Kevin

US-Iran talksIn coming days, a major US-Iran negotiation will conclude in success or failure. As long as the US and Iran remain opposed, the US is much less effective in working for peace and inter-communal harmony in Iraq and Syria. Israel is indifferent to these wider concerns and, fresh from this week's convincing election vistory, a newly invigorated Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to stress that the Iranian nuclear issue is ‘existential’ for Israel.

Unmasking Australia's boat-stopping deal with the Sri Lankan devil

24 February 2015 | Justin Glyn

Headline Sri Lanka abuse silence ‘price of boats deal’Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has claimed Australia's silence on the country's appalling human rights record was the price for its government taking extra measures to prevent people fleeing the country and arriving in Australia on boats seeking asylum. This is a problem on many levels, including our government's seeking to remove human rights issues by reframing them as national security ones.

Britain's Bahrain bid triggers human rights alert

1 Comment
22 February 2015 | Daniel Read

Map of Britain and BahrainBritain's recent drive to establish a naval base in Bahrain has only widened the rift between the UK's foreign policy and its respect for human rights. Bahrain will now potentially play host to a British military presence for the long-term, despite the Gulf state's brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests over the past several years. This may be yet another instance of political expediency taking precedence over all else.

Allow Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumuran to flourish

22 February 2015 | Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Chan and Myuran SukumuranWhile people are alive there is the possibility, admittedly sometimes remote, that they will respond by reflecting on their lives, becoming deeper and more generous as human beings, making connections with others and contributing even in small ways to the happiness of others and to society. Capital punishment brutally excludes possibility and leaves all of us the smaller for it.

A brief history of not drawing Muhammad

17 February 2015 | Philip Harvey

Second Council of NiceaWhy ban an image of Muhammad? Why is he an image-free zone? The answer is not primarily political or artistic but theological. The clue is in a statute of a meeting of bishops called the Second Council of Nicea. This may seem obscure and unimportant, but the bishops weren't obscure and the issue was whether or not humans can make an image of God. The outcome was decisive in the history of world art.

ISIS not the only enemy for Iraqi Kurds

10 February 2015 | Vanessa Powell

VillagersIn Northern Iraq, foreign owned oil companies have been moving in. As locals are turfed from their land to make way for oil production, they must fight for their rights and their environment. They say poisonous gases are causing crop failure. Australians bear some of the responsibility.

Pope's Romero move could heal Latin American divisions

09 February 2015 | Antonio Castillo

Oscar RomeroForces inside the Vatican stalled and blocked it for 20 years. But earlier this month, Pope Francis issued the declaration that Salvadorian Archbishop Oscar Romero was murdered 'in hatred of the faith' and not for political reasons. He is no longer officially suspected of being a Marxist sympathiser. In fact liberation theology itself has been undergoing a quiet rehabilitation during Francis' pontificate.

We are all bigots

18 January 2015 | Justin Glyn

Nous Sommes Tous Charlie bannerAccording to large sections of the media, 'we' are all Charlie now. While it is absolutely right that we stand with the victims and their families in grief and outrage at the terrible acts that took place in Paris earlier this month, predictably we have been told that we should, as a corollary, also defend people’s rights to say what they like, no matter how hurtful it may be. 

Seeking asylum in the Promised Land

02 December 2014 | Nikolas Feith Tan

Star of DavidIsrael is one of the world's developed countries that is attempting to deter asylum seekers from accessing the protection that international refugee law entitles them to. Yet Israel is a state with refugeehood in its roots. Israeli refugee advocates have encouraged a change of policy on the basis of Jewish exile in Egypt as recorded in the Torah. 

Putting Putin's record into perspective

16 November 2014 | Justin Glyn

Vladimir PutinAmid talk of whether Vladimir Putin would leave the G20 early and numerous reports of frosty encounters between him and other summit leaders, Western media coverage has portrayed him as an erratic and dangerous dictator whose rule damages the once-great country he leads. But it would be foolish to pretend that the West did not take advantage of the weakness of the former Soviet states in the 1990s. Russia was looted of its assets, many of which found their way abroad.

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