No 42 by alendar


No 42

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                                     Centre For Citizenship & Human Rights
                                     a Centre with the Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin University

                                                              Islam, Human Security, and Xenophobia Conference

                                                                                      25-26 November 2005
                                                                                         ANZ Pavilion,
                                                                                  8th floor, The Arts Centre
                                                                                100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
       No 42
June 2005
                                                 An International Conference jointly hosted by Deakin University and Monash
Centre for Citizenship & Human
                                                 The conference focuses on Muslim responses to increasing political, social
Faculty of Arts                                  and security challenges in a global era. The conference will explore the
Deakin University                                increasing salience of Islam in contemporary world politics and the impact of
Burwood, Melbourne 3215                          this salience on domestic politics in the Muslim world as well as Western
                                                 states with major Muslim populations. The conference will also consider the
Postal address:                                  policies toward Islam and Muslims adopted by Australia and major
Faculty of Arts                                  international players in particular in the context of regional and civil conflicts.
Deakin University                                In addressing these issues, the conference will bring together prominent
Geelong, Victoria 3217                           researchers from Australia and overseas working on diverse but related
Tel: (03) 5227 2113                              issues ranging from human rights and civil society to international politics,
     (03) 9244 6274                              human security and conflict resolution.
Fax: (03) 52 272018
                                                 •   Political Islam and Democracy
                                                 •   Islamic radicalism/reformism
                                                 •   Islam, human security and political violence
                                                 •   Global Islam and the politics of identity
                                                 •   Muslim NGOs and the discourse of human rights in Islam
                                                 •   Representing Islam and Muslims in government policies and the media
Professor Sue Kenny
                                                 •   Xenophobia and Muslim Diaspora in the West
                                                 •   Transnationalism and identity formation among Muslim Diaspora
Deputy Director
Associate Professor Fethi Mansouri
                                                 Keynote speakers:
Centre Administration                            ♦ Professor James Piscatori, The University of Oxford
Robert Budd                                      ♦ Professor Bassam Tibi, The University of Goettingen
Anne O'Keefe
                                                 ♦ Professor Bryan Turner, The National University of Singapore
Editorial Board
Professor Sue Kenny
Associate Professor Fethi Mansouri               • Registration form enclosed
Linette Hawkins                                  (CCHR members receive a $10 discount ($5 students) on the 'earlybird' registration for
Stephanie Cauchi                                 this conference)

                                                 Phone 03 52272113                                                                        1

ISSN 1323-6806

    Capacity Building in Indonesian Islam NGO's
    (a four year ARC Discovery grant)

    Professor Susan Kenny, recently visited Indonesia to
    monitor progress of this project and undertake further
    consultative work with Indonesian NGO’s (in conjunction
    with Ahmad Sua’di, Chief Executive Officer of The Wahid
    Institute, Jakarta). Associate Professor Greg Barton has
    also undertaken similar work during 2004 and early 2005
    prior to his current Overseas Study Leave within the SE –
    Asian region.

    The study aims to understand and monitor forms and
    applications of capacity-building in progressive Islamic/
    Muslim NGOs in Indonesia, over a four year period, in the
                                                                          Ahmad Su'adi, The Wahid Institute, Indonesia &
    context of profound social, economic and political                    Professor Susan Kenny, Deakin University
    change, in order to better understand how best to
    strengthen such groups and subsequently, assist them                 An envisaged outcome of the study is that it should
    to become more effective. In addition, it aims to identify           increase significantly our understanding of the complex
    areas in which Western misunderstandings of Muslim                   cultural issues that influence these groups in their efforts
    culture and society have limited the effectiveness of                to professionalise, build capacity and contribute to civil
    capacity building programs.                                          society.

    FBA – Forum for the development of ACEH
    The Forum Bangun Aceh (FBA) was established as a response to the natural disasters that afflicted Aceh on 26 December
    2004 as a means to facilitate the efforts of a group of volunteers from varying backgrounds who were motivated by a desire
    to provide direct, unmediated assistance to survivors in the Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam province. The FBA adheres to the
    belief that the empowerment of survivors and their own active involvement in the process is the key to recovery. The FBA
    then sees its role as facilitating and motivating survivors to implement the steps required to restore their lives to the fullest
    degree of normalcy possible. The FBA believes that the strength and resilience of the Acehnese people themselves is the
    most valuable asset for the recovery of the province and its people. The FBA believes that Aceh should be rebuilt by the
    Acehnese and for the Acehnese, and that the role of outsiders is merely to facilitate and assist them in their task.
    Contact details:
    Jakarta Office:                    Banda Aceh Office:
    JI. Bendungan Hilir VII # 9        JI. Tgk. Chik Di Tiro # 178
    Jakarta 10210                      Banda Aceh 23249
    Telephone + 62 21 70083240         Telephone + 62 651 24394
    Fax + 62 21 5707066                Fax + 62 651 24394

                                                                                 Professor Susan Kenny, Deakin University
                                                                                 Asmawi Nurden, FBA, Indonesia

                                                CONFERENCE REPORTS

Elites and EU Enlargement conference                         Human Rights and Development workshop

(13-14 May 2005 at the University of Bremen, Germany)        (hosted by CCHR 10 May 2005 at Deakin University)

Dr. Carol Strong, a Research Fellow in the Centre for        Following the International Symposium on Human
Citizenship and Human Rights at Deakin University,           Rights in Iraq organised by Deakin’s Centre for
recently attended an international conference held on 13-    Citizenship and Human Rights and the Australian - Iraqi
14 May 2005 at the University of Bremen (Germany). The       Forum last year (1 October 2004) a recent Human Rights
conference, entitled ‘Elites and EU Enlargement’, was        and Development workshop (10 May) drew on Deakin
jointly sponsored by the British Academy and the             lecturers with extensive experience in indigenous and
University of Bremen, specifically the Centre for Work       international contexts. Papers addressing the general
and the Social Sciences.                                     issues and challenges to human rights and community
                                                             development were presented by Professor Sue Kenny
The primary objective of this conference was to explore      and Mr. Chris Piper. Other presenters examined conflict
the role of elites during the enlargement process of the     resolution (Dr. Damien Kingsbury) and post conflict
European Union, particularly after the accession of ten      reconstruction (Dr. Lynne Alice) and the role and
new member states in May 2004. The presentations on          relationship of community development processes in
the two days covered a range of interrelated issues          relation to indigenous generations (Mr. Phil Connors),
focusing on the increasing interdependencies between         gender (Dr. Max Kelly), and human rights as a measure
elite from the existing member states of western Europe      of development (Assoc. Professor Joe Remenyi).
and those of the new member states throughout the
CEE (Central Eastern Europe ) region.                        Visitors at the workshop were especially affected by the
                                                             information and impressions conveyed about the
At this conference, Dr. Strong presented a paper on          situation in Aceh, post Tsunami. The abuse of human
behalf of CCHR, entitled, ‘European Expansion, the           rights by the Indonesian military and the virtually
Burgeoning Democratic Deficit and Questions of               complete failure of international aid to reach and
Legitimacy’. In this paper, she examined how the             address the basic needs of many native Acehians has
experience of EU expansion influenced popular                stimulated follow up regarding more just and
perceptions of the deeper integration of Europe. This, in    appropriate action.
turn, provided a foundation for the analysis of areas of     Papers from this Workshop will be published in the
mutual understanding (or the lack thereof) between           Centre's Occasional Papers
eastern and western Europe on wider social issues
within the EU, such as immigration and human rights.
Other presentations ranged in topic from the economic
development and inter-regional cooperation of eastern
                                                             Civil Liberties and the War on Terror
and western Europe, through to the political                 (a report from a special meeting held at RMIT on 2
consolidation of democratic institutions in the new          June, 2005)
member states, as well as the expansion of existing EU
                                                             On 13 February 1978, a bomb exploded in a garbage
institutions in western Europe. Also included within
                                                             truck outside the hotel housing delegates for the
these papers were different perspectives on how to
                                                             Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting,
analyse and evaluate supernational programs in Europe
                                                             killing three men. Tim Anderson was one of the men
to coordinate a unified approach to interregional security
                                                             charged for this and spent over eight years in goal for a
of Europe, through to social issues including
                                                             crime he did not commit. Dr. Tim Anderson, an academic
immigration, human rights and the role of Islam in
                                                             at the University of Sydney, was one of three speakers at
                                                             a special meeting on 2 June (2005) organised by the
                                                             Justice for the Jack Thomas Campaign and the Socialist
This was the second in a series of six conferences
                                                             Alliance, at RMIT, chaired by Jill Sparrow.
related to the topic of EU elites and European expansion.
The next conference will be held in February 2006 in
                                                             Drawing on his unique perspective on the erosion of civil
Prague (the Czech Republic).
                                                             rights Dr. Anderson located the tragedy of Jack Thomas in
Dr Carol Strong                                              the context of the war on terror. Jack Thomas currently
Research Fellow, CCHR                                        faces trial on ‘terrorist’ offences, based on an interview by
Deakin University                                            Australian Federal Police in March 2003 when he was
                                                             detained in Pakistan for five months without charge. He         3
                                                             was denied the right to a lawyer during his detention in
                                                             Pakistan, despite repeated requests. During this period
                                                             he was interrogated and tortured by various agencies
                                                             including the CIA, the FBI and the Pakistan Secret
                                                             Services. After a hundred hours of interrogation under
                                                             duress, the Australian Federal Police interviewed Jack.
                                                                                                     (continued on page 4)

    No evidence linking him to terrorism could be found.            rights have been denounced and, in the case of Jack
    Another of the speakers on ‘The War on Terror versus            Thomas, whose torture whilst imprisoned in Pakistan was
    Human Rights’, Les Thomas, told the meeting how his             ignored by the Australian Government, impacted deeply
    brother Jack returned to Melbourne, lived and worked in the     upon the audience at the meeting. The mood contrasts
    community and tried to resume his life. During that period      significantly with the ongoing intellectual debate around the
    security forces monitored his movements, his phone calls        question ‘to torture or not to torture’ (which, in extreme
    and emails, but found no new evidence whatsoever.               circumstances, literally becomes ‘to be or not to be’)
    However, after seventeen months when he was due to put a        arising from the ‘Age’ article (17 May, 2005) about
    deposit on a house in Werribee for his family, a team of        legalising torture by Professor Bagaric and Dr. Smith . One
    Australian Federal Police and Terrorism Task Force police       is led to wonder about the difference in the meaning of
    burst through their door with machine guns and German           ‘freedom of speech’ in Australia between that allowed
    Shepherd dogs. His parent’s house in Williamstown was           (and officially approved) of a senior academic and that
    raided simultaneously. Jack was arrested again and              bestowed (or not) upon a working class Muslim convert
    charged under anti-terror laws. It took three attempts before   travelling to Afghanistan to deepen his knowledge of his
    the family were successful in bail being granted.               adopted religion. If a society goes down the road of
                                                                    tolerating torture we must all wonder who may be next.
    This case has direct implications for human rights and civil
    liberties in Australia. The evidence again Jack Thomas              Linette Hawkins
    relies upon an interview conducted under extreme physical
    and psychological torture in Pakistan. In a press release
    Les Thomas states that ‘ for academics at Deakin
    University, torture might be a philosophical abstraction’ but   Human Rights in Victoria, Australia Today: Some
    ‘for my family - and many other people it’s very much a         questions 1
    reality’. The personal tragedy impacting upon Jack’s
    family, mirrors, one component of the suffering and torture     (Paper presented by Dr Di Sisley, Managing Director,
    of many thousands of families around the world who have         Reputation Measurement Pty Ltd, at the 'Iraq & the
    been directly affected by the war on terror which has given     Challenges for Human Rights' conference held in
    birth to all kinds of horrors from the thousands of civilians   Melbourne on 1st October, 2004. This paper contributed to
    killed in Afghanistan, to those held with no legal rights in    a consultation on human rights in Victoria )
    Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and to the appalling use of torture
    in places like Bagram Air force base in Afghanistan and Abu     What are human rights?
    Ghraib Prison in Iraq.                                          Human rights are about respect for another person or
                                                                    people as human beings. To be concerned about human
    A petition calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions and   rights is to be concerned about what it is that makes us
    Philip Ruddock to drop the charges against Jack Thomas          human. It involves a fundamental level, of respect and
    and uphold his rights not to be charged using evidence          equity, that recognises our common humanity and respects
    obtained under duress, without a lawyer, has been signed        the humanity of others.
    by many prominent people. Noam Chomsky, a signatory to
    the petition has said that ‘The actions of the Australian       Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Chairperson of South
    government in pursuing Jack Thomas suggest that they are        Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said, “we
    willing to trample on basic civil and human rights in the       believe there is another kind of justice, restorative justice,
    name of the “war on terror”. Australians should be alarmed’     based on something that we find difficult to put into English,
    (April, 2005).                                                  Ubantu this is the essence of being human. … My
                                                                    humanity is caught up in your humanity. I am because you
    On several occasions during the meeting reference was           are”2. A person is a person through other people. An
    made to the publicly expressed views of two Deakin              offence, an act of racism for example, breaks a
    academics condoning torture of prisoners under certain          relationship, ruptures an interconnectedness, a harmony
    circumstances. Margarita Windisch, speaker from the             so essential for full human existence.
    Socialist Alliance and Melbourne Stop the War Coalition
    reminded the audience that ‘more than two centuries ago,        To be concerned about human rights is also to be
    in November 1798, the French revolutionary general              concerned about equity in access to goods and services, to
    Napoleon Bonaparte, stated “The barbarous custom of             education, health services, decent housing and fairly paid
    having men beaten who are suspected of having important         work. When access to work and goods and services is
    secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been         unfairly restricted our potential to participate equitably in our
    recognised that this way of interrogating men, by putting       society is unfairly limited.
    them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor
    wretches say anything that comes into their mini and what       Our human rights entitlements include:
    they think the interrogator wishes to know’ (Green Left         •   Civil and political rights such as the right to life,
    Weekly, Issue 627, Ray Fulcher: Legalising Torture?)                liberty and freedom from torture and slavery, freedom
                                                                        of opinion, expression and religion.
    Exposure to the experience of two Australians whose civil

•   Economic and social rights such as the right to              •   Infant mortality is 3-5 times higher than that for other
    health care, education, work, food and a reasonable              Australian children
    standard of living.                                          •   infectious diseases are 12 times higher
•   Environmental and Cultural rights including the right        •   only 32% were able to complete schooling compared
    to live in a clean environment protected from destruction        to 73% of other Australian children in 1998
    and the right to cultural, political and economic            •   they comprise only 1.3% of students in higher
    development.                                                     education and are mostly in non-degree courses
•   Women’s rights such as the right to be free from             •   they are more likely to live in overcrowded
    discrimination and abuse based on gender.                        accommodation, in 1996 18% of indigenous
•   Children’s rights including the right to reach one’s             households were overcrowded compared to 4% of
    fullest potential through education, freedom of                  other Australian households
    thought, conscience and religion.                            •   they are more likely to live in poverty, in 1996 the
•   Indigenous rights : While the draft Declaration on the           mean weekly income for indigenous individuals 15
    Rights of Indigenous Peoples still flounders in a                years and over was $190 compared to $292 for non
    government controlled working party, it exerts a great           indigenous individuals.
    normative value and finds support in a number of
    international instruments accepted by Australia.             Clearly indigenous young people face entrenched and
•   Disabled persons rights: a Convention on the rights          pervasive inequity and clearly successive government
    and dignity of people with disabilities is currently         promises to prevent this from occurring have been broken.
    being drafted.
                                                                 Similar, albeit different, evidence can be presented in
Do human rights exist in Australia?                              relation to people with disabilities, people of different faiths,
                                                                 women, lesbians and gay men, for example. In fact such
People have human rights even when the laws of their
                                                                 evidence can be presented in relation to all people who are
country do not recognise them, or even violate them. For
                                                                 intended to be protected by the Victoria Equal Opportunity
example in countries where mandatory detention is
                                                                 Act, clearly more effective measures are required.
practised, people who are so detained still have rights
even though these rights are being violated.
                                                                 What do Australians think about human rights?
While human rights exist as a birthright, to be effective they   As Salvaris4 has pointed out in Australia, it’s relatively easy
need to be accepted and enforced. Internationally, human         for politicians and powerful vested interests, big business
rights enforcement is the responsibility of the United           and the media, to down play human rights, but as Salvaris
Nations. However, locally, enforcing human rights is             and others have found, when you look closely into what
everyone’s responsibility. Our own awareness and respect         people value, protection of human rights is high on their
for human rights is one of the most important ways we can        agenda, even although they may not use the term human
enforce our rights and those of others.                          rights, but instead talk of fairness, equality or “a fair go”.

In Australia, both Federally and in Victoria, we do not have a   We may be uncomfortable with “legalistic” or slightly
comprehensive statement of our human rights, neither in          esoteric terms, terms that we’re not quite sure about, when
our Constitution nor in our law. However we do have              we suspect someone might have a hidden agenda that
criminal and civil laws that give some protection to             might disadvantage us, but this should not be confused
particular rights. For example, theft is against the law,        with a lack of support for human rights.
recognising the right not to deprived arbitrarily of our
property. Education up to a certain age is compulsory,           This suspicion can and has been used to turn people away
recognising the entitlement to education.                        from supporting or even understanding human rights. This
                                                                 is critical for us to understand, for as Sawer has pointed out
In Victoria our human rights are somewhat protected under        “1990s populism has been trying to push back equal
the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act which protects our right     opportunity understanding and return to understanding
to equality and makes discrimination unlawful. It is against     equal treatment as ‘same treatment’ regardless of the kind
the law to discriminate against someone or treat a person        of disparate impact this may have on those who differ from
unfairly because of their race, religion, sex, age, sexual       the norm in some significant way”5
orientation, marital status and a number of other personal
characteristics.                                                 What do Australians value?
                                                                 Salvaris found when asking people what they’d like                  5
Are human rights enjoyed by all Australians?
                                                                 enshrined in a constitution for a new republic that the rights
The simple answer is “Yes”. But in looking for the evidence      rated most important were as follows.
for this assertion, a more complex picture emerges. What,
                                                                 1. Defining and guaranteeing the basic human rights for
for example, is the evidence in relation to indigenous young
                                                                    all Australians citizens.
                                                                 2. Guaranteeing good quality public health and
For indigenous young people3 :                                      education for everyone.

    3. Ensuring that in all elections for government, every               with the situation of Indigenous people, Saulwick and
       person’s vote has equal weight .                                   Miller, for the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 6 found
    4. Defining the powers of the Federal Government .                    as follows.
    5. Establishing as basic national values fairness, equal
                                                                          •  There is a willingness to treat Indigenous Australians
       opportunity and justice for all .
                                                                             like any other Australians, provided they are prepared
    6. Establishing that Australian is an independent and
                                                                             to accept “Australian” values and “Australian” rules.
       democratic country in which all political power comes
                                                                          • There is a level of impatience with, and lack of
       from the Australian people.
                                                                             understanding of, Indigenous people who do not
    These are all very basic human rights and their clear                    conform with ‘general community norms’.
    identification gives lie to the argument that Australians             • Indigenous people living in cities are believed not to
    are not interested in and do not value human rights.                     be “real” Indigenous people, particularly if they are
                                                                             not “full-bloods”; instead it is believed that they are
                                                                          NEW RELEASES
    Why are human rights important?                                          claiming Aboriginality in order to gain welfare
    Basically international human rights principles and laws
    outline what governments can do to us, cannot do to us
                                                                          • There is a vehement belief that past actions can not
                                                                             be judged by present standards.
    and should do for us. For example governments should
    not torture people nor invade their privacy and
                                                                          • The majority felt that they should not take
                                                                             responsibility for past actions, nor did they feel the
    governments should ensure that everyone has adequate
                                                                             need to apologise for past actions.
    shelter, food, medical care and basic education.

                                                                          From these findings, the study concluded that behind the
    The formal recognition of human rights aims to protect
                                                                          responses lay an intolerance, a lack of empathy and an
    people from injustice and allow everyone to participate in
                                                                          inability or disinclination to look at the matter from an
    and contribute to society. Human rights laws give us a
                                                                          Indigenous perspective.
    code to live by. They seek to ensure what we as human
    beings have agreed are the basic values we all share;
                                                                          We have to ask ourselves about racism and about
    freedom, justice, peace and equity; regardless of who we
                                                                          culturally determined world views. Racism stems from
    are and where we come from. These laws aim to hold all
                                                                          fear of the other. How many people who support mandatory
    of us to account, whether we are members of Parliament,
                                                                          detention for asylum seekers have actually met an asylum
    business people or students.
    We know that if we do not respect the rights of another
                                                                          Sadly, as Australians we are not quick to embrace
    person, that person will very likely suffer serious health,
                                                                          difference whether that be on the basis of disability, race,
    economic and social consequences. A persons physical
                                                                          religion, gender, age, appearance or sexual orientation.
    and mental health will decline, jobs may be lost or
                                                                          Although our commonly held myth is the reverse - the myth
    difficulties experienced in gaining employment. Inequity
                                                                          of an open, welcoming and equitable society.
    and discrimination leads to children and young people
    dropping out of school and people being unable to obtain
                                                                          The next steps?
    rental accommodation or needed health services. It
    leads to people being spat on vilified and excluded from              These are the important questions and issues we must
    public spaces, parks and shopping centres.                            address when we are preparing our submissions to the
                                                                          consultation and how to protect the human rights of all
    Who enjoys their rights and who does not?                             Victorians. They are not difficult questions but they do
                                                                          require an understanding of the purpose and content of
    In our post September 11 world we have clearly seen the
                                                                          human rights, they require honesty of approach and they
    erosion of the rights of people in our society. We have
                                                                          require factual evidence, not myth or supposition.
    also seen a rise in behaviour that labels white, Anglo
    Saxon, Christians as “Australians” versus the rest of the
    population. Asylum seekers and Muslims suddenly                       Endnotes
    became somehow less “Australian” because of their                     1. This paper is based on a speech given at a Conference on
    wish to practice their religion. While, as a society we are               community development and Humam Rights organised by the
    happy to be culturally diverse we have yet to realize we                  Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights, Deakin University,
    are a multi faith society and to recognise what this                      Melbourne April '04.
    means for our and others everyday life.                               2. As quoted in Nettheim, Garth (2001), Australian Journal of
                                                                              Human Rights, Vol 7, march 2001. p 47.
    Sadly the lack of access to rights is not news to many in             3. Face The Facts, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
    our community.                                                            Commission 2004.
                                                                          4. Salvaris, M (1999) Benchmarks for AustralianCitizenship
    Why is this so?                                                           Swinburne Institute of Social research, Swinburne University.
                                                                          5. Sawyer M –to follow-
6   At best it is due to ignorance but at worst the abuse of              6. Saulwick I and Miller, Research conducted for the Council for
    human rights is the result of sheer prejudice. To continue                Aboriginal Reconcialiation

Torture and Human Rights                                                 When people are tortured they will usually confess.
                                                                         Sometimes it may be a true confession, but research on
Response to the Age newspaper article Make torture
                                                                         prisoners of war and police interrogation of suspects has
legal. That's what this academic thinks - and it's OK
                                                                         proven that false confessions can readily be induced
even if the suspect dies published in the Age, May 17,
                                                                         through stress or coercion. Moreover, whether the
                                                                         confession is true or not will still need to be investigated,
                                                                         belying somewhat the ‘ticking bomb’ justification of such
Predictably, the reporting and the Opinion pieces on the
                                                                         information-gathering methods. Indeed, no less than CIA
advantages of legalising torture (The Age17 May, 2005)
                                                                         director Porter Goss has recently cast doubt over the
has been taken up as a cause celebre by many in the
                                                                         effectiveness of torture in extracting reliable information.
media and the mostly critical responses to the
legalisation proposal draw attention to the power of such
                                                                         Perhaps what is most disturbing about the article is the
a topic to evince moral outrage. As academic
                                                                         way in which it shifts the terms of reference of discussion
researchers working at Deakin University we believe that
                                                                         of torture from questions of human rights and morality, to
it is important to engage in this debate with colleagues at
                                                                         questions related to the functions of torture, or what
an informed level rather than the emotive ‘gut’ reactions,
                                                                         French sociologist Michel Foucault described as the
which have been the basis of debate since the articles
                                                                         techniques of power. In so doing, this approach
were published.
                                                                         legitimates certain abuses of human rights by reference
                                                                         to their utilitarian value. Interestingly, the return to claims
Human rights is nothing if it is not about freedom from
                                                                         about the efficacy of torture is also a return to the older
‘torture, or from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
                                                                         economy of disciplinary power in which the actuality and
punishment’ (Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of
                                                                         threat of physical and mental pain is seen to be more
Human Rights). But human rights is also about ‘the right
                                                                         efficacious than the forms of disciplinary power that have
to freedom of opinion and expression (including)
                                                                         developed over the last two centuries, which have been
freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
                                                                         based on surveillance and self-censorship. Even more
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through
                                                                         chilling is the unquestioning acceptance of the new
any media…’ (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of
                                                                         authoritarian state powers which are legitimated in the
Human Rights).
                                                                         name of protection and security of the social body.

We uphold the right to absolute freedom from torture and
                                                                         To understand the broader context in which increasing
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. But we also
                                                                         state power is being legitimated it is helpful to
defend the right to freedom of expression, including the
                                                                         understand how contemporary Australian society has
right of our colleagues, Professor Mirko Bagaric and Dr.
                                                                         been constructed as ‘risk society’. The concept of risk
Julie Smith, to argue for the moral and legal rights to
                                                                         society holds that the identification of risk, risk
practise torture. It is in the context of our right to freedom
                                                                         assessment and risk management increasingly frame
of expression that we wish to draw attention to the failure
                                                                         our everyday lives, often regardless of the objective reality
of intellectual rigour, lack of understanding of the
                                                                         of risk. As Ulrich Beck, the leading theorist of risk society
principles of social science evidence and morally flawed
                                                                         has suggested in his 1999 publication World Risk
                                                                         Society, the ‘more threatening the shadows that fall on
                                                                         the present day from a terrible future looming in the
The Bagaric/Smith viewpoint rests on the use of
                                                                         distance, the more compelling the shock that can be
argument through analogous and hypothetical situations,
                                                                         provoked by dramatizing risk today…' claims about the
the assumption that the means justify the ends and
                                                                         ubiquity and functions of torture. The analogies
invoked in the article serve as legal precedents, but they
                                                                         Established risk definitions are thus a magic wand with
also confuse legal and moral argument. For example,
                                                                         which a stagnant society can terrify itself.
just because it might be legally acceptable to shoot and
kill a hostage-taker, this does not mean that it is morally
                                                                         Indeed, as a number of commentators on risk society
acceptable. While the means/end debate remains
                                                                         have pointed out, the valorisation of the riskiness of
unresolved in academic circles, acknowledgement and
                                                                         contemporary life is a forceful tool in the hands of those
explanation of the authors’ position in this debate should
                                                                         in power. It provides a way of legitimating practices and
have been provided in the article, to set the framework for
                                                                         policies that were once thought to be beyond the realm of
their analysis.
                                                                         human decency, such as the policies and practices of
                                                                         incarceration of suspected ‘terrorists’. Indeed, the
The ubiquity of a practice does not make it right, any
                                                                         construction of a constant threat or danger allows the            7
more than the fact that murder occurs somewhere in the
                                                                         state and state apparatuses to use and justify a range of
world everyday means that we should have no legal or
                                                                         disciplinary practices, including the use of torture.
moral compunction about legalising murder. The efficacy
of torture for extracting useful information is by no means
                                                                         The paradox is that as Beck points out, the more we
proven, as Professor Bagaric and Dr. Smith would have
                                                                         attempt to ‘colonize the future with the aid of the category
discovered had they cared to analyse the existing
                                                                         of risk, the more it slips out of our control’. This is
research, which has cast doubt over the effectiveness of
                                                                                                                  (continued on page 8)
torture in extracting reliable information.
                                                            BOOK REVIEWS

    Reluctant Saviour: Australia, Indonesia and the Independence of East Timor, by Clinton Fernandes, Scribe,
    Melbourne, 2004
                      In this readable and engaging account,           violence, the Australian policy was in crisis. A rising tide of
                      Clinton Fernandes examines the reversal          mass protests, vigils, work bans, and high school walkouts
                      of Australia’s longstanding bipartisan           placed unprecedented pressure on the Australian
                      policy of support for the illegal Indonesian     government to act. Fernandes charts the rushed attempts
                      occupation of East Timor. It is a timely         to secure US pressure on Jakarta to accept a multinational
                      work which contests an official view of          peacekeeping force. As Fernandes highlights, this was a
                      Australia’s lead role in the multinational       dramatic reversal of Australia’s position, which had
                      peacekeeping force as a shining example          previously sought to scupper - at the highest diplomatic
                      of successful humanitarian diplomacy,            levels - earlier US suggestions that a peacekeeping force
                      and bold international leadership.               might need to be countenanced. For Fernandes, the tipping
    Fernandes’ account of the development of the East Timor            point occurred when US foreign policy makers realised that
    crisis in 1999 suggests a rather different picture - of            the level of Australian public outrage was placing strain on
    established foreign policy priorities being cornered and           the alliance. As he notes, ‘the Australian public was starting
    reluctantly dismembered in the face of a ‘tidal wave of            to ask why the US response was so feeble’. Fernandes’
    public outrage’ at Australian inaction during the militia          account of the logistical panic that accompanied the rapid
    rampages of early September 1999.                                  deployment of INTERFET highlighted Australia’s ill-
                                                                       preparedness for any response beyond than the
    Starting with the emergence of the Jakarta lobby following         evacuation of foreign nationals to Darwin.
    the ascension of Suharto in the mid 1960s, Fernandes
    charts the continuity in Australia’s bipartisan policy of          Reluctant Saviour also highlights the ongoing strength of
    support for the New Order regime, in the interests of a            internationalist sentiment in Australian community, despite
    stable regional investment climate. Following the invasion         the retreat of our government from most forms of
    of East Timor in 1975, this position evolved into a complicit      progressive multilateralism. While many Australians are
    policy of providing diplomatic cover for the occupation -          justifiably proud of ultimate emergence of INTERFET, the
    offering dejure recognition of Indonesian sovereignty in           reminder is a timely one, as regressive nationalist
    return for a favourable seabed deal in the Timor gap, and          priorities are reasserted in negotiations over Timor Gap oil
    managing public opinion in Australia by concealing the             revenues. While recent developments in these
    extent of the unfolding human rights catastrophe in Timor.         negotiations remain unsatisfactory, they remind us that
    The second chapter examines the continuation of this               public opinion must now be acknowledged as a potent
    policy under the Howard government. Fernandes’ analysis            force in Australia’s relations with Timor-Leste.
    highlights how Australian efforts at deterring international
    scrutiny continued as the wider policy framework                        Dr Michael Leach
                                                                       Research Fellow
    disintegrated through August and September 1999.
                                                                       Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Deakin Univ.

    Fernandes argues that Howard’s well-known letter to
    Habibie sought, effectively, to refurbish the policy as East
    Timor became increasingly ungovernable in the post-                (continued from page 7)
    Suharto era, and domestic Australian criticism mounted.
                                                                       because while risk society opens up new opportunities, it
    Citing the model of the Matignon accords in New
                                                                       also carries with it the possibility of a never-ending spiral
    Caledonia, Howard noted the possibility of a ‘substantial
                                                                       of unintended new risks. That is to say, as we respond to
    period of autonomy’, which, by implication of the analogy,
                                                                       the risks we see, we open up new unintended risks, as is
    might delay and contain pressures for independence.
                                                                       happening in the world of geopolotics, such as is
    Fernandes cites evidence suggesting Habibie’s more
                                                                       occurring in Iraq and Iran, and more pertinently for this
    radical ‘autonomy or independence’ referendum surprised
                                                                       article, in the aftermath of the revelations about the torture
    not only the Indonesian military, but DFAT policy makers
                                                                       regime in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
    whose own preference for autonomy with Indonesia was
    openly expressed.
                                                                       In this context then, the Bagaric/Smith article involves a
                                                                       coupling of risk management and torture. This coupling
    Throughout the lead up to August 30 referendum, Australia
                                                                       consists of more than a conceptual slippery slope. It
    continued a policy of offering diplomatic cover to Indonesia
                                                                       provides a dangerous reframing of moral injunctions and
    by thwarting attempts to internationalise the issue. As late
                                                                       opens up new cracks in the once solid moral and legal
    as August, Australian intelligence demonstrating the clear
                                                                       stronghold of human rights, cracks which provide a new
    links between the TNI and militia activity was being
                                                                       source of leverage in the growing justifications of the need
    suppressed, as public statements buttressed Indonesian
                                                                       for strengthening the authoritarian state.
    claims that a ‘civil war’ was in progress. Even as
    intelligence leaks began to seriously undermine their                   Professor Susan Kenny & Associate Professor Fethi
    credibility, the Australian Government kept up talk of ‘warring    Mansouri
8   factions’, or, alternatively, of ‘rogue elements’ within TNI. As   Director and Associate Director
    East Timor descended into an orgy of post-referendum               Centre for Citizenship and Human Rights
                                                                       Deakin University

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