Law and Disorder: Australia Must Act to Address Police Brutality in Papua New Guinea

Law and Disorder: Australia Must Act to Address Police Brutality in Papua New Guinea

Who is most frightening to the average citizen of Papua New Guinea: sorcerers, the people who murder accused sorcerers, or the police who are supposed to protect the public from the other two? The sad fact is that police in PNG, who should be part of the solution to a recent wave of sorcery-related attacks, are in fact a part of the problem.  A violent and abusive police force cannot fight crime effectively.  Australia, as the major international donor to the PNG police, should use its influence to help clean up the force.

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A New Vision for Equality

A New Vision for Equality

Late last year the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs released a major report on the Sex Discrimination Act 1984.  The Report recommends a transformation in the way our laws deal with discrimination and promote gender equality. We are surrounded by evidence of the need for change.  Australia lags behind the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand in the representation of women in executive management positions.  A quarter of all Australian teenagers are aware of domestic violence being committed against their mothers or step mothers.  We are one of only two OECD countries without a national paid parental leave scheme.  These are not indicators of a country that can afford to be complacent about discrimination against women.

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The Anniversary of the other Declaration: The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

While we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights on 10 December 2008, another important milestone passed a day earlier with little fanfare: the 10th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration.  After ten years, it is an appropriate time to review the interesting history of the Declaration, as well as its shortcomings and vulnerabilities to attack from unsympathetic governments.

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