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					UNITY
THE NATIONAL PUBLICATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA


Compiled from Federal parliamentary and other sources relevant to Australia's obligations to the United
Nations

Editor: Judy Cannon - 07 3358 2623
Email: judycnnn@yahoo.com.au

Contributing Editor: Ian Mathews - 02 6281 4025
Email: imathews@ozemail.com.au

Earlier editions of UNity 2004-05, 2006 and 2007 are on the
UNAA website: www.unaa.org.au or email the editor.


11 August 2007


515

Editor: Judy Cannon - 07 3358 2623
Email: judycnnn@yahoo.com.au

Contributing Editor: Ian Mathews - 02 6281 4025
Email: ian.mathews7@bigpond.com

Earlier editions of UNity 2004-05, 2006 and 2007 are on the
UNAA website: www.unaa.org.au or email the editor.


CONTENTS 515


[1]  RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT ‘A VITAL HUMAN RIGHTS SAFEGUARD’
    IRONY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ‘SHOULD RECONSIDER’
[2] BRISBANE COURT HEARS HANEEF CASE
[3] WE SHOULD LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ON ENVIRONMENT
[4] PACIFIC STATES URGED TO JOIN INTERNATIONAL COURT
[5] KOREAN LEADERS TO HOLD SUMMIT
[6] EAST TIMOR - GUSMAO SWORN IN
[7] MIDDLE EAST - STRONG SECURITY COUNCIL CONSENSUS ON IRAQ
     LEBANON – ISRAEL – IRAN- JORDAN - UAE
[8] AFGHAN SUFFERING CONTINUES
[9] INDIA ‘NEEDS TO ACT’ TO SAVE LIVES
[10] WEEK IN THE UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM
[11] DEVELOPING RURAL CHINA AND INDIA
[12] SRI LANKA ‘GUILTY OF ABUSES’
[13] AFRICA: CONGO HEADS SECURITY COUNCIL
     CONGO – DARFUR – ETHIOPIA/ERITREA – SOUTH AFRICA
[14] EBB AND FLOW IN SOUTH AMERICA
[15] SENATE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-TERROR TERMS RELEASED
[16] CHANGES TO AUSTRALIAN LAWS AND INTENT
     APEC – BILL OF RIGHTS – CITIZEN TEST
[17] APEC EVENTS IN SYDNEY
[18] NEW AMBASSADOR TO MICRONESIA
[19] HREOC AWARDS OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS
[20] GLOBAL WARMING
[21] MEDIA MATTERS
[22] ARTICLES IN FOCUS
[23] BOOK TO READ ON CHILD ABUSE
[24] LITERACY TEST FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS
[25] IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON …
[26] UNITY, UN AND UNAA CONTACTS




[1]   RACIAL DISCRIMINATION ACT ‘A VITAL HUMAN RIGHTS SAFEGUARD’

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has long been calling on
governments to take action to curb violence, and child and alcohol abuse in Indigenous
communities in the Northern Territory. However, it is vital that any action taken protects basic
human rights, including the right to be protected from discrimination purely on the basis of a
person’s race, HREOC said in a statement on Wednesday.

HREOC has welcomed the Federal Government’s recognition of the broad ranging nature of
social and economic problems in many Indigenous communities. This recognition has presented
an historic opportunity to deal with this national tragedy.

In the legislation announced yesterday HREOC particularly supports:

the commitment of significant financial resources to address disadvantage;
providing follow-up targeted primary health care for acute and chronic conditions;
investment in rehabilitation and detox programs; and
confirmation that native title rights will be protected from extinguishment by the
temporary compulsory acquisition of Aboriginal land.

However, HREOC is concerned that the legislation seeks to sidestep the Racial Discrimination
Act 1975 (Cth) (RDA).

The RDA was Australia’s first law to protect human rights and remains a proud achievement for
our nation, it stated. The RDA implements Australia’s international obligations under the
Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

Upholding the values of the RDA is vital to ensuring community respect for government action
and to maintain Australia’s reputation as a nation committed to equality.

The broad legislative measures proposed will impact specifically on Indigenous people. The
legislation asserts that its provisions and acts done for the purpose of the legislation are not
discriminatory as they are ‘special measures’ for the purpose of the RDA.
‘Special measures’ must be necessary and for the sole purpose of securing adequate
advancement of a certain group or individuals requiring protection so as to ensure they enjoy
their human rights equally with others.

HREOC is concerned that the legislation goes on to provide that it is exempt from the operation
of the RDA. If the measures proposed cannot meet the test for a ‘special measure’, then rather
than remove the protection of the RDA, the measures should not be enacted.

The details of the complex legislation were not exposed for considered public discussion or
community consultation before introduction to Parliament, and, it seems, will quickly pass
through both Houses. The many expressions of disquiet, from Indigenous communities in
particular, indicate that the legislative measures have not been adequately demonstrated to
them to be special measures necessary for their wellbeing. This is particularly so in relation to
the leasing of Aboriginal land by the Commonwealth, and the partial removal of the permit
system.

HREOC considers that it is vital to the success of the Emergency Response that the Federal
Government engage with all the Indigenous communities that will be affected by the legislation,
listen to their concerns, and ensure that the measures are necessary to deal with the matters
of disadvantage being addressed.

As the government considers that the legislation must pass through Parliament quickly, much of
the detail of the legislation and its proposed administration is not yet fully understood. Time
might disclose aspects of the new measures that operate in ways that do not benefit Indigenous
communities, and which could be improved by changes to the legislation.

HREOC urges Parliament to include a requirement that the Emergency Response measures be
reviewed after 12 months. DETAILS: Louise McDermott on 02 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597.

DELEGATION FROM NT
A delegation of some of the Northern Territory's most influential Indigenous leaders went to
Canberra to lobby against legislation giving the Federal Government control of Indigenous
communities in the Territory, the ABC reported (5/8/07).

The group included one of the authors of the Little Children Are Sacred report, Pat Anderson.
The delegation was led by former ATSIC chief Pat Turner and retired Territory government
minister John Ah Kit. Ms Turner said introducing the legislation in such a rush was an abuse of
power, “So not only are they treating Aboriginal people with contempt, they're also treating
the Parliament with contempt."

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has attacked the legislation, saying it is discriminatory.
"The Racial Discrimination Act provides, as does the international convention for special
measures, for the advancement of a particular racial group," she said.

"We do not believe that the measures contained in this legislation are for the advancement of
Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It clearly takes their rights away, it takes away
their right to make decisions over their land."

AN IRONY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ‘SHOULD RECONSIDER’
Now more than ever the Federal Government should reconsider its position on the Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples currently before the UN General Assembly, Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma said in a subsequent HREOC
statement on International Day of the World's Indigenous People.
 "International Day of the World's Indigenous People allows all of us to acknowledge the
incredible achievements of an estimated 370 million Indigenous Peoples world wide," he said.

 "It is also of critical importance that we use today to recommit ourselves to eradicating the
ongoing poverty and discrimination faced by Indigenous peoples everywhere.

 "In the past Australia has played an active and constructive role in developing the Declaration
on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. In fact, Australia actively supported the establishment
of the current second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the theme of
which is 'building a partnership for action and dignity.' However it seems somewhat ironic
considering what is being played out in Australia with the fast passage of complex and lengthy
legislation relating to the Northern Territory," he said.

"We all know that the basis of good public policy is to actively involve the people who will be
affected by government decision-making in the process of shaping those decisions. It is a
fundamental human right of Indigenous peoples that their informed consent is sought when
governments are making decisions that will impact on their land yet despite this, the
legislation currently before Parliament has been developed without involvement or input from
Indigenous people."

 Mr Calma said the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) was calling for
the Northern Territory legislation to be reviewed one year after its implementation and for
Indigenous voices to play a major role in such a review.

 "While we have major challenges ahead domestically, the Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples currently before the UN General Assembly represents some hope on a global
scale," Mr Calma said.

 "The Declaration's text has been 20 years in the making and has the support of the world's
Indigenous peoples. The Declaration is an instrument that complies with international law and
equates the rights of Indigenous Peoples with the rights of all other peoples.

"It can only benefit the ability of Indigenous peoples to enjoy their distinct human rights and
should be adopted without amendment," Mr Calma said.


[2]   BRISBANE COURT HEARS HANEEF CASE

A Brisbane court was told Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews had improperly used his
powers to revoke Mohamed Haneef's visa, the ABC reported on Wednesday. This was disputed
by Crown lawyers.

Dr Haneef's visa was revoked last month after he was given bail after being charged with a
terrorism-related offence, which was later dropped. An appeal against the decision has
resumed in the Federal Court.

Dr Haneef returned to India late last month after a terrorism-related charge against him was
dropped by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and dismissed by a
Brisbane magistrate. The decision on the visa case is expected within the month.


[3]   ‘WE SHOULD LISTEN TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ON ENVIRONMENT
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, marking International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
on Thursday, said the international community had grown increasingly aware of the need to
support indigenous people.

This should be done by establishing and promoting international standards; vigilantly upholding
respect for their human rights; integrating the international development agenda, including the
Millennium Development Goals, in policies, programs and country-level projects; and
reinforcing indigenous peoples’ special stewardship on issues related to the environment and
climate change, he said.

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Sha Zukang, noted that indigenous
peoples live in many of the world’s most biologically diverse areas and have accumulated a
great deal of knowledge about these environments.

“With their wealth of knowledge about their environment indigenous peoples can and should
play a crucial role in the global effort to respond to climate change. We should listen to
them,” he said.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as adopted by the Human Rights Council in
June 2006 and currently being considered for adoption by the General Assembly, also
recognises that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices
contributes to sustainable development, including proper management of the environment.

“The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples represents the minimum standards for
the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples. Many still live under the most
oppressive and marginalised conditions and yet they are also the ones who are providing
solutions to serious world problems, such as climate change and the erosion of bio-cultural
diversity,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues.

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in its 2008 session will focus on ‘Climate change,
bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship role of indigenous peoples and new
challenges.’

The UN estimates that there are about 370 million indigenous people in more than 70 countries
around the world. They are among the most marginalised people in economic, social and
cultural terms.

DETAILS: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii
A statement from the Secretary-General statement:
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2007/hr4930.doc.htm
OHCHR information kit in English: at www.ohchr.org
UN Information Centre: at unic@un.org.au or +61 0 2 6273 8200.


[4]   PACIFIC STATES URGED TO JOIN INTERNATIONAL COURT

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) — an international network of more
than 2,500 non-governmental organisations advocating for a fair, effective and independent
court — is urging governments to ratify or accede to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of
the International Criminal Court (ICC), in a August 7 letter to the ministers of foreign affairs
from Pacific island nations.

The nations and territories targeted by the CICC for August were the Cook Islands, the Federal
States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
and Kiribati. More than half of the world —105 countries— has joined the ICC, which is the first
permanent international court capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes
and crimes against humanity. On World Day for International Justice (July 17), Japan made
history by becoming the 105th state to formally accede to the Rome Statute.

By joining this landmark court, a major power like Japan has greatly raised the profile and
strength of the Asia/Pacific region at this historic institution,” said CICC Asia/Pacific Regional
Coordinator Evelyn Balais Serrano. “Indeed, Australia recently convened a meeting with Pacific
and Asian states to strengthen their engagement with the court. Furthermore, this is a region
with a longstanding interest in countering large-scale crimes. The message is clear: the time
for Pacific states to join the global struggle against impunity has arrived.”

The coalition’s letter highlights support for the court in the broader region: Afghanistan,
Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, Japan, the Marshall Islands and Nauru, Mongolia, the Republic of
Korea, New Zealand, Samoa, Timor Leste and Tajikistan are all members. Although Bangladesh,
the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Thailand have all signed the statute, they have yet to
complete the process of ratification. The coalition is equally encouraged by the momentum in
Nepal and Indonesia toward ratification by 2008. In addition, Lao DPR has also announced its
intention to accede but has yet to work out the requirements to do so.

“We are hopeful that support for international justice in Asia is building,” said CICC Convenor
William Pace. “The accession of Pacific states to the ICC treaty would help galvanise this
support and ensure greater participation by a region with much at stake when it comes to
preventing and addressing grave crimes against large numbers of innocents.”

DETAILS: Anaga Dalal on + 1.646.465.8517 and at dalal@iccnow.org
CICC website: www.iccnow.org;
Evelyn Serrano, Asia/Pacific regional coordinator, Coalition for the International Criminal Court
(CICC) on +63 2 456 6196 ; +63 917 894 9786 (mob) and serrano@iccnow.org
Ross Robertson, MP (New Zealand), President, PGA International Council; Assistant Speaker of
the NZ Parliament, on +64 4 471 9873 and at ross.robertson@parliament.govt.nz;
Harry Duynhoven, MP (New Zealand) Member of the Board, PGA Foundation; NZ Minister for
Transport Safety on +64 4 471 9321 and at harry.duynhoven@parliament.govt.nz

POLITICAL TEMPERATURES RISE IN SOLOMON ISLANDS
The mounting challenge to the leadership of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare
has been dealt a crushing blow with the arrest of Opposition Leader Fred Fono on bribery
allegations, The Australia reported (7/7/07).

Mr Fono yesterday appeared in a Honiara Magistrates Court to face two conspiracy charges
after a weekend of lobbying MPs to support an opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in
Mr Sogavare later this week.

Political tensions were rising in Honiara on the eve of the resumption of parliament and some
MPs were angry at Mr Sogavare's handling of several issues, including his refusal to extradite
the Solomons Attorney-General Julian Moti on child sex charges to Australia.

FRAGILE ISLES AND GUEST WORKERS
The question of whether Australia should accept guest workers from the South Pacific on a
temporary basis does not go away. Nor is it likely to at a time of labour shortages at home and
climate change effects and failing states in the region. The latest prominent figure to canvass
the issue was the new World Bank president, Bob Zoellick, in an interview last week with the
Herald. While he has since denied telling Australia what it should do, Mr Zoellick said it was
"absolutely critical" that fragile island societies be able to send people overseas to work.
Sydney Morning Herald opinion (6/8/07). ARTICLE:
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/08/05/1186252538302.html?page=2

[5]   KOREAN LEADERS TO HOLD SUMMIT

The leaders of the two Koreas will hold a summit in the North Korean capital Pyongyang over
August 28/30, the ABC/Reuters/ Korea News Service reported on Wednesday. The summit will
be only the second meeting between the two countries. Analysts have said that South Korean
President Roh Moo-hyun has long been pressing for such a summit to secure his legacy as his
largely unpopular term nears its end.

[6] EAST TIMOR - GUSMAO SWORN IN

East Timor's former president Xanana Gusmao was sworn in as prime minister in Dili amid riots
and threats of a legal challenge by the country's opposition, the ABC reported on Wednesday.
Mr Gusmao was appointed by new president Dr Jose-Ramos Horta after attempts to form a
government of national unity failed.

Australia has congratulated Xanana Gusmao on his appointment as prime minister. The
Opposition Fretilin party is angry that Mr Gusmao was asked to lead a coalition government as
his party won fewer seats in the parliamentary elections. Fretilin has threatened to challenge
his appointment it in the courts.

Gangs attacked Australian and UN personnel in Dili on Tuesday, the Sydney Morning Herald
reported (8/8/07), and the ABC reported on Friday that mobs in East Timor have burnt down
houses in protest against the make-up of the new government. The UN police confirmed 142
houses had been destroyed. About 60 people were arrested. It was later reported that more
than 1,000 villagers were fleeing to the mountains.

TIM COSTELLO ‘WE HAVE DROPPED THE BALL’
In a Sydney Morning Herald (9/8/07) article, Tim Costello, of World Vision, says, “I remain a
critic of Australia's approach to the region. Put simply, I believe we have dropped the ball by
focussing predominantly on ‘fighting fires’ rather than tackling the root causes behind the
violence and anarchy. We must take a more holistic response that addresses the interests of
our neighbours first and not our own political ends.” ARTICLE: ‘Fighting fires is not the best
answer’ at http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/08/08/1186530442973.html

[7]    MIDDLE EAST - STRONG SECURITY COUNCIL CONSENSUS ON IRAQ

There is strong consensus within the Security Council on an expanded United Nations role in
Iraq, the world organisation’s top political officer said this week, although security constraints
imposed by the continuing conflict in the country would mean only a small increase in UN staff
there. DETAILS: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=23439&Cr=iraq&Cr1=

For almost four years, the UN has kept itself at arms length from the turmoil of Iraqi politics -
but next week, that could all change, the BBC reported (2/8/07). Britain's outgoing UN
ambassador Sir Emyr Jones Parry said the new draft resolution which would extend and widen
the UN role. Crucially, the Russian ambassador gave his approval to the draft on Thursday.

A Western diplomat told the BBC that the Iraqi government itself had been fully consulted over
the draft, and no progress would be made without its full co-operation. It was hoped that the
newly extended mission would play a major role in healing sectarian rifts, settling boundary
disputes and planning a national census.

BAN URGES EXTENSION OF PEACEKEEPERS IN LEBANON
The UN Security Council should extend the peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon urged this week. The 13,000 blue helmet troops - whose current mandate
expires at the end of August - have helped stabilise the country since the war between Israel
and Hezbollah, he said. Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv, Israel)/Associated Press (7/8/07).

LEBANON HOLDS TENSE VOTE
Lebanon on Sunday held a tense vote on who should replace two assassinated lawmakers who
had been critical of neighbouring Syria. The result will help set the tone in politically charged
Lebanon, which is scheduled to also elect a new president within weeks. International Herald
Tribune/Associated Press (8/5)

SECURITY COUNCIL WARNS OF LEBANON ARMS
The UN Security Council has unanimously urged all countries, especially in the Middle East, to
help ensure that an embargo against arms exports into Lebanon is not violated. The council had
"grave concern" over reports that arms were flowing into Lebanon, as well as about Hezbollah's
recent statements "that it retains the military capacity to strike all parts of Israel." The
Guardian (London)/Associated Press (8/4)

MORE MINISTERS BACK AWAY FROM IRAQI PM'S GOVERNMENT
Five more ministers are departing the Iraqi Cabinet, increasing the number of ministers who
have quit or boycott cabinet meetings in Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki's government to nearly
half. The departures leave al Maliki's unity government with no active Sunni participants as
pressure builds on Iraqi leaders to produce tangible progress to heal sectarian wounds. The
Toronto Star/Associated Press/Reuters (7/8/07).

ISRAELI POLICE REMOVE WEST BANK SETTLERS
Pelted by rocks and chunks of metal, hundreds of Israeli riot police officers on Tuesday forcibly
removed Jewish settlers from houses they had been occupying illegally for months in the West
Bank city of Hebron, the New York Times reported.
The confrontation on Tuesday began at dawn, and grew more heated with the sun, as the
police forced their way into occupied buildings that the inhabitants and their 200 or so
supporters had welded shut and barricaded. The police were backed up by concentric circles of
troops from the Israeli Army that closed off the area. ARTICLE:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/world/middleeast/08mideast.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&o
ref=slogin

IRANIAN POLICE ARREST 230 AT ROCK CONCERT
Iranian police arrested 230 people in a raid on an underground rock concert close to Tehran,
amid a growing crackdown on behaviour deemed contrary to Islamic law, the ABC/AFP
reported (5/8/07). It appears recording equipment, alcohol, bootleg CDs, revealing female
clothing and drugs were seized at the concert in the city of Karaj just west of the capital.
One of its tightest moral crackdowns in years is reported as underway. Women must cover their
heads and all bodily contours; consumption of alcohol and mixed-sex parties are strictly illegal.
Police have recently targeted men whose dress is deemed ‘Satanic’ or overly Westernised.

MIXED REACTION TO JORDAN'S ENDORSEMENT OF UN WOMEN'S RIGHTS PACT
Jordan last month endorsed the UN convention against discrimination against women that the
country originally signed over a decade ago, but Jordan's Islamists criticised the move, saying
the convention seeks to "steer people away from religion." Women's groups and human rights
bodies it. The Daily Star (Lebanon)/Agence France-Presse (6/8/07).

UAE INCREASES EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GUEST WORKER CONCERNS
The United Arab Emirates is working to improve conditions for the guest workers who make up
more than 90 per cent of its workforce. While foreign workers are segregated from the general
population and have no right to be a member of a union or attain citizenship, UAE authorities
are enforcing break-times, have mandated better living conditions, increased health benefits
and are fining companies that ignore regulations. International Herald Tribune (5/8/07).


[8] AFGHAN SUFFERING CONTINUES

HOSTAGES STILL HELD BY TALIBAN
Two women among 21 South Koreans held by the Taliban in Afghanistan were seriously ill,
according to a rebel spokesman, The Australian reported (1/8/07). The militants have
demanded the release of insurgent prisoners. The 23 South Korean Christians were kidnapped
from a bus in Ghazni province. Two hostages have already been murdered. Afghan officials,
demanding the unconditional release of the remaining captives, have said no deal will be
struck with the Taliban.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer described the recent abduction and killing of the South
Korean citizens as a cowardly act by the Taliban who “continue to kill, maim and abduct
innocent civilians in Afghanistan. The Taliban's use of such barbaric tactics, mostly aimed at
Afghans themselves, underlines the need for the international community to remain steadfast
in its mission to defeat these extremists.” (4/8/07). DETAILS: Foreign Minister’s office on 02
6277 7500; department on 02 6261 1555.

SITUATION IS WORSE: KARZAI
On the eve of his Camp David meeting with George Bush, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai,
painted a bleak picture of life in his country, saying that security had worsened and that the US
and its allies were no closer to catching Osama bin Laden than they were a few years ago,
according to the Sydney Morning Herald. "The security situation in Afghanistan over the past
two years has definitely deteriorated," Mr Karzai said. ARTICLE:
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/afghanistan-is-getting-worse-says-
karzai/2007/08/06/1186252630711.html

Afghan officials tallying the number of civilians wounded during a late-night NATO and US-led
air strike, after receiving reports up to 300 residents were hurt or killed in Helmand province,
the CBC News reported (3/8/07). Reuters reported that provincial officials and residents were
saying between 200 and 300 civilians were killed or wounded. If the death tolls became
confirmed, it could be the worst incident of foreign troops causing civilian casualties since the
Taliban Government was ousted in 2001, Reuters reported.


[9]   INDIA ‘NEEDS TO ACT’ TO SAVE LIVES

With this year's monsoon flooding especially calamitous in India - more than a 1,200 people
have been killed and millions forced from their homes - experts blamed the government for
failing to strengthen embankments, build needed dams and come up with evacuation plans, the
Miami Herald/AP reported (8/8/07).

In neighbouring Bangladesh, a much poorer country, this year’s flooding killed 192. Experts said
it could have been worse but for a new pilot system, devised with the help of the US National
Centre for Atmospheric Research, which forecast floods and gave thousands of people time to
evacuate.

UNICEF said in a statement that millions of malnourished children, the most vulnerable to
diseases and infections, were at risk after being stranded by flooding.
"Entire villages are days away from a health crisis if people are not reached in the coming
days," said Dr Marzio Babille, UNICEF's health chief in India. "Children, who make up 40 per
cent of South Asia's population, are particularly susceptible."

It was reported that what little preventive steps had been taken came from international aid
groups like British Oxfam and US-based Catholic Relief Services, which have been working on a
community level to prepare villages for the annual flooding. Jennifer Poidatz, the head of
Catholic Relief Services in India, said the government needed to act to really make an impact.

NEPAL: 300,00 NEED FOOD AND WATER
In Nepal, unremitting rains for the last two weeks flooded entire swaths across the heavily
populated southern plains, on the border with India. The UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs estimated that up to 300,000 people were in need of water, food and
other humanitarian supplies.

Nearly 10,000 people were displaced, and 84 had been killed, said Paul Handley, a field
coordinator with the agency. The unusually heavy rains this year seem to have affected more
of the country. The UN and aid agencies had nearly exhausted supplies of food and other goods,
he said, although the monsoon season was not expected to end for at least another month.


[10]   A WEEK IN THE UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM

UN AGENCIES TO PROVIDE RELIEF FOR REFUGEES FROM CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
7 August – Some 26,000 refugees who have fled insecurity in the Central African Republic and
are now living in Cameroon will soon receive much-needed help from several United Nations
agencies joining forces to alleviate their plight. FULL STORY or see UN News Centre.

FLOOD RELIEF EFFORTS IN SOUTH ASIA ‘UNPRECEDENTED’ TEST FOR AID AGENCIES – UN
6 August – As monsoon rains continue to pound South Asia, the United Nations Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) has warned that the sheer size and scale of the resulting floods, as well as the
massive numbers of people affected, poses an “unprecedented challenge” for governments and
aid agencies in their relief efforts. FULL STORY

NEPAL: UN TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY FOOD FOR 60,000 FLOOD VICTIMS FOR 3 MONTHS
3 August – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is sending up to three months
worth of emergency rations to some 60,000 flood victims in Nepal after incessant rains over the
past three weeks wrought havoc across the Himalayan country. FULL STORY

UN PROVIDES FOOD FOR TENS OF THOUSANDS: FLOODS IN COLOMBIA, FREEZING IN PERU
2 August – The UN is helping to provide emergency food to nearly 100,000 people after the
worst floods in decades in Colombia and the coldest weather in 30 years in Peru brought even
more misery to over 1 million of Latin America’s most impoverished inhabitants. FULL STORY

ZIMBABWE: UN FOOD AGENCY SEEKS URGENT FUNDS TO FEED OVER 3 MILLION PEOPLE
1 August – The UN World Food Program (WFP) appealed today for $118 million to assist over
three million Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages caused by a poor harvest and
worsening economic turmoil in the southern African nation. FULL STORY

[11]   DEVELOPING RURAL CHINA AND INDIA

LAND OWNERSHIP CENTRAL TO ASIAN GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES
Parcelling out small tracts of land to India's rural poor and guaranteeing property rights for
Chinese farmers would help ease the rural-urban gap and persistent poverty as the two
countries experience rapid economic growth. The Washington Times (6/8/07).
LITTLE OF CHINA'S FOOD RESEARCH KNOWLEDGE GETS TO FARMERS
China has plenty of food research centres aiming to improve farming techniques, but little
knowledge trickles down to farmers in the field, The Washington Post reports. China has grown
so rapidly, it is more difficult for the government to ensure that scientific ideas are
communicated to and applied in rural areas. The Washington Post (6/8/07).

INNOVATORS IN RURAL INDIA FIND SUPPORT
Small-scale innovators in India, with government seed money, who produce things like a solar-
powered motorboat and a speed bump that generates energy when a car passes over it, give
hope that ideas to solve practical problems will help the economy. Chicago Tribune (6/8/07).

[12]   SRI LANKA ‘GUILTY OF ABUSES’

The Sri Lankan Government is engaging in illegal killings and is responsible for hundreds of
disappearances this year in its battle against Tamil Tiger rebels, Human Rights Watch said in a
report this week. "The Sri Lankan Government has apparently given its security forces a green
light to use 'dirty war' tactics. Abuses by the [Tigers] are no excuse for the government's
campaign of killings, disappearances and forced returns of the displaced," said Brad Adams, the
group's Asia director. Sri Lankan officials denied the charges. AlertNet.org/Reuters (6/8/07).

[13]   AFRICA: CONGO HEADS SECURITY COUNCIL

WITH CONGO AT HELM, SECURITY COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON AFRICA
The UN Security Council is set to focus heavily on Africa this month as the Republic of Congo
takes over the body's rotating presidency. The new president, Congo's UN Ambassador Pascal
Gayama, said he will ask envoys on the Council to discuss new ways to best prevent armed
conflicts in Africa and around the world. SABCnews.com (South Africa) (3/8/07).

DRC GENERAL DEFENDS HIS ROLE AMID HUMANITARIAN DISASTER
In the eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a well-armed renegade general
says he just wants to protect the minority Tutsis, but UN officials say he is responsible for
forcing some 230,000 people from their homes this year. Amid rising tension, the UN is warning
that the country could face another civil war. The Washington Post (6/8/07).

DARFUR REBEL GROUPS FORGE COMMON PLATFORM
Representatives from eight Darfur rebel factions on Monday reached agreement on a common
platform of "power-sharing, wealth-sharing, security arrangements, land and humanitarian
issues" for negotiations with the Sudanese government. The meeting followed the UN decision
to deploy a large peacekeeping force in Darfur, and raised hopes the political process may help
end the bloody conflict. IOL (South Africa)/Agence France-Presse (6/8/07).

US HAS STAKE IN ETHIOPIA-ERITREA PEACE
The best way for the US to prevent terrorists from finding a haven in the Horn of Africa was not
building a military presence there, but rather to help defuse the Ethiopia-Eritrea border
conflict, The Boston Globe argues. A settlement would "make it easier to form a common front
against the stateless sources of violence in the Horn," says The Boston Globe (7/8/07).

SOUTH AFRICA REPORTS SOME DECLINE IN HIV INFECTION RATE
The rate of HIV infection among young, pregnant South African women is dropping, but the rate
for older women is up. Among pregnant women under 20 the infection rate fell from 15.9% in
2005 to 13.7% in 2006, reported The Guardian (London)/Associated Press (2/8/07).


[14] EBB AND FLOW IN SOUTH AMERICA
CHILD MIGRANTS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA FACE UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Grinding Central American poverty, a desire to escape abuse and the absence of parents
seeking better opportunities are driving child migrants to take the dangerous journey into
Mexico and the US. As they wait for a chance to reunite with relatives in the US or for steady
work, many find themselves working 12-plus hour days selling chewing gum, washing car
windows or shining shoes. The Christian Science Monitor (3/8/07).

IN BOLIVIA, SOCIAL PROGRAMS TIED TO REGIONAL POLITICS
Leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales is pouring more resources into social programs such as
health and education. Much of the money comes from Venezuela, believed to be, to some
extent, a tool to steer Bolivia away from US influence, the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund, The Washington Post reports. The Washington Post (3/8/07).

[15]   SENATE COMMITTEE ON ANTI-TERROR TERMS RELEASED

The Australian Democrats have released draft terms of reference for their proposed Senate
Select committee inquiry into Australia's anti-terrorism laws, following the controversial use of
the laws in the Dr Mohamed Haneef case.

The Democrats have proposed a comprehensive cross-party Senate inquiry into Australia's anti-
terrorism laws in light of the Haneef case, in addition to any investigations resulting from the
case itself.

"The Democrats are prepared to support a judicial inquiry into the handling of the Haneef affair
which would be a fact finding mission and could look at all aspects of the case, but unlike this
Senate Select inquiry, it would not allow for a thorough examination of the adequacy or
otherwise of the laws,” Democrats' attorney-general's spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott
Despoja said.

"An inquiry into the anti-terrorism laws – which allowed Dr Haneef to be detained for 12 days
without charge – is essential, especially before any additional powers are granted to our police
or intelligence agencies," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Senator Stott Despoja's draft terms of reference consider whether Australia's anti-terrorism
laws, including the laws which enabled the detention and charging of Dr Haneef:

       adequately safeguard Australian citizens from the threat of terrorism;
       define ‘terrorism’ too broadly and curtail fundamental human rights;
       provide a reasonable framework for agencies such as the AFP;
       have compromised fundamental principles of justice such as the presumption of
       innocence and habeas corpus, and the granting of bail;
       wrongly allow for periods of indefinite detention while suspects are questioned,
       including ‘dead time’;
       adhere to principles of natural justice and are compatible with Australia’s obligations
       under international law; and
       interact appropriately with other powers of detention and deportation, for example
       immigration laws.

The committee is to be comprised of government, opposition and minor party senators, and is
due to report by December 1.                DETAILS: Raina Hunter on 0417 085 260.


[16]   CHANGES TO AUSTRALIAN LAWS AND INTENT
The Federal Government plan to create new search warrants where suspects were not notified
of the existence of the warrant for months needs to be changed, according to Labor's Homeland
Security spokesperson Arch Bevis (3/8/07).

“Mr Howard’s plan to allow special anti-terrorism powers to be used for any criminal offence
that brings an imprisonment of ten years or more goes too far,” Mr Bevis said.

“These laws have already been criticised by a Senate Committee that has a Liberal party
majority, yet the government continue to ignore concerns about the laws. Labor will be moving
amendments in line with the recommendations of the Senate Committee so that only terrorist
related offences or crimes involving death or serious injury are subject to these new delayed
notification warrants,” he said.

The Bill containing these powers is due to come before Parliament when it resumes. “It
contains a number of improvements that has the support of all states and territories and
bipartisan support federally. However, the scope of these special powers needs to be restricted.

“Labor has consistently argued that special counter terrorism laws need a fixed sunset clause
that requires the parliament to review these laws in the future. We will be moving
amendments to introduce a sunset clause for these new anti terrorism powers, something that
the Liberal members of the Senate committee also recommended.

“We need strong anti-terror laws but it is important that we get the balance right. The Liberal
senators who reviewed this Bill understand that. Unfortunately, Mr Howard and Mr Ruddock
don’t seem to agree” Mr Bevis said.         DETAILS: Jason Söderblom on 0409 374 900.

SELL OUT ON CIVIL RIGHTS PRIMES POLICE POWERS FOR APEC
"Passage of the sneak and peak Bill (Crimes Legislation Amendment National Investigative
Powers and Witness Protection Bill) through the Senate marked a dramatic erosion in Australia's
sovereignty and civil rights," Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said (8/8/07).

"Civil liberties have been trashed by this legislation," Senator Nettle said. "This legislation
allows Australian federal police offers to search peoples homes, access all computer records
and confiscate property and documents without having to tell the person that such a search has
occurred.

"This Bill gives Australian federal police, civil informants and foreign intelligence officers
immunity when they break Australian laws as part of undercover operations. We are likely to
see this new power used during APEC. Thanks to the Government and Opposition our civil
liberties have taken a dramatic step backward," Senator Nettle said.
DETAILS: Kristian Bolwell on 0411638320.

NEED FOR BILL OF RIGHTS ‘HIGHLIGHTED’
The Australian Democrats say that the High Court ruling in the 'Jihad' Jack Thomas case
highlights the need for an Australian Bill of Rights, said Senator Natasha Stott Despoja
Democrats attorney-general’s spokesperson (3/8/07).

The ruling, which condoned the imposition of a restrictive control order on Jack Thomas after
he was cleared of terror charges by the Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal, found that the
government's anti-terror laws were supported by the defence power in the constitution.

"In the climate of fear which the government seeks to perpetuate to justify its draconian terror
laws, it is clear that the only thing that will provide Australians with robust protection of their
fundamental civil liberties is a Bill of Rights," she said.
"The Democrats have long campaigned for a federal Bill of Rights, but the Federal Government
has been trumped by the states, who continue to take the lead on such issues. With the
government so intent on the harmonisation of our national laws, surely it is time that some
serious consideration was given to a federal Bill of Rights, she asked.

"As the only democracy in the western world without a Bill of Rights, Australia is fast becoming
a laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the world on this topic. Preventative detention
orders can be challenged in the US, UK and Canada, because all of those jurisdictions have
charters or human rights acts. The Haneef debacle and Thomas ruling should reignite this
debate in Australia,” Senator Stott Despoja said.

In 2005, Senator Stott Despoja re-introduced the Parliamentary Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Bill (2001) to entrench a Bill of Rights in Australia. DETAILS: Raina Hunter on 0417 085 260.

LIBERAL MP FIGHTS CITIZENSHIP TEST
Liberal MP Petro Georgiou recalled the language difficulties of his migrant father in an
impassioned rejection of the Federal Government's tougher citizenship test, the Sydney
Morning Herald reported (9/8/07).

Constandino Georgiou held down two jobs, raised and educated a family, but like hundreds of
thousands of postwar immigrants, never spoke the English now required under the citizenship
test, Mr Georgiou said.

Legislation for the new test passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday with tacit
support from Labor, which refused to be drawn into a debate which could wedge the party.
Labor had called for improvements to migrant English programs and other settlement services,
but did not call for a vote on the legislation.

Mr Georgiou said he would not support the legislation, saying the test would prevent "many
meritorious aspiring citizens" from acquiring citizenship. Despite their limited English, people
like his father were committed to Australia. "They have enriched every facet of our nation's
life," he said. "They worked hard. They obeyed the law."

The Federal Government’s new citizenship test would require applicants to have an
understanding of the values, traditions, institutions and history of Australia and would assist
them to maximise opportunities and contribute to Australia’s future success as a nation, a
Federal Government media release stated in May. The 2007-08 Budget provided $123.6 million
over five years for the new citizenship test. Test centre sites were planned across Australia.
DETAILS: Kate Walshe on 0421 588 794.

[17] APEC EVENTS IN SYDNEY

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Summit, to be held in Sydney from
September 6/7, is described as the key event bringing together business and economic leaders
during APEC Leaders’ Week from September 2-9.

It will bring together business leaders, opinion setters, policy makers and APEC economic
leaders from across Australia and the Asia-Pacific to discuss global economics, trade, energy
and climate change, education, information and innovation. An invitation-only event, the
summit's proceedings will feed into discussion at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

APEC is an inter-governmental forum facilitating economic growth and prosperity, cooperation,
trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, and operates on the basis of non-binding
commitments, open dialogue and equal respect for the views of all participants regardless of
the size of their economy. The 21 APEC 'Member Economies' are Brunei Darussalam; Canada;
Chile; People's Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea;
Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Republic of the Philippines; The
Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States and Viet Nam and
Australia.

The APEC Australia 2007 year culminates with the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM)
when leaders will issue the APEC Economic Leaders Declaration, containing the shared views of
leaders and to set the strategic directions for APEC for the next year.

The gathering of leaders from the United States, People's Republic of China, Indonesia, the
Russian Federation and Japan with other Asia-Pacific partners is a valuable assembly to
promote regional stability. In recent years APEC's agenda has expanded to include key global
issues including counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and health.

The APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) is over September 5/6; APEC Economic Leaders Meeting
(AELM), September 8/9. DETAILS: Business Summit website at: http://www.apec2007.org;
APEC in Australia at http://www.apec2007.org/apec.aspx?inc=aa/aa

ACFID ASKS FOR EVIDENCE ON CLUSTER MUNITIONS
The Australian Council for International Development has asked the Federal Government for
evidence to back up its "repeated assertion of no harm to civilians" from a proposed purchase
of a new category of munitions by the Defence Department.

ACFID first raised the issue with the Foreign Minister and Parliamentary Secretary in early June.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Greg Hunt, responded by saying
that the new category of munitions was not similar to other cluster munitions in that it had
technical features which ensured that civilians were unlikely to be harmed. Mr Hunt has also
offered to provide a briefing for ACFID by Defence experts on this matter.

ACFID has reiterated its earlier request for any form of evidence. "Given the Government’s
prominent commitment to the international negotiations to ban cluster munitions and its high
profile work on land mines over many years, we have been less than impressed at the
reluctance to provide any evidence base for the assertions being made," ACFID executive
director Paul O'Callaghan says in its current bulletin. DETAILS: www.acfid.asn.au

[18]   NEW AMBASSADOR TO MICRONESIA

Susan Cox is to be Australia’s new ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, with
concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She
is expected to take up her appointment in September. Ms Cox is a career officer with the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is currently Director in the Post Security Task
Force. Overseas, she has served as Deputy High Commissioner in Port Vila (1998-2001) and as
Vice-Consul in Noumea (1990-93). She has also served in Cairo. She was awarded a Medal in
the Order of Australia for her role in the management of the response to the Bali bombings in
2002. DETAILS: Foreign Minister's office on 02 6277 7500; department on 02 6261 1555.

[19]   HREOC AWARDS OPEN FOR NOMINATIONS

The president of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), John von
Doussa, has officially opened nominations for the 2007 Human Rights Medal and Awards.

Since 1987, HREOC has recognised the often extraordinary contribution made to Australian
society by a variety of men and women committed to issues of human rights, social justice and
equality through these awards.
“The Human Rights Medal and Awards celebrate their 20th anniversary this year and provide an
excellent opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of individuals and
organisations by nominating them for these prestigious awards,” Mr von Doussa said.

Each year HREOC receives outstanding nominations for the Human Rights Medal and award
categories of law, community (individual and organisation), arts non-fiction, print media,
television and radio.

To nominate the achievements of an individual or organisation for the 2007 Human Rights
Medal or one of the award categories, an entry form is at www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards
or telephone 02 9284 9618 and forward supporting material by October 5.

The awards ceremony at the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney will be on December 10. Mr von
Doussa will deliver the annual Human Rights Day Oration. DETAILS: 02 9284 9618 or at:
www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards.


[20]   GLOBAL WARMING

UN REPORT DETAILS EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS OF EARLY 2007

The world experienced a series of record-breaking weather events in early 2007, from flooding
in Asia to heatwaves in Europe and snowfall in South Africa, the United Nations weather agency
said on Tuesday.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said global land surface temperatures in January
and April were likely the warmest since records began in 1880, at more than 1 degree Celsius
higher than average for those months.

There have also been severe monsoon floods across South Asia, abnormally heavy rains in
northern Europe, China, Sudan, Mozambique and Uruguay, extreme heatwaves in southeastern
Europe and Russia, and unusual snowfall in South Africa and South America this year, the WMO
said. Read more. And click here for WMO release.

BUSH INVITES COUNTRIES AND UN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS
US President George W. Bush on Friday invited several countries to participate in a summit on
climate change at the end of September, saying it would aim at establishing voluntary goals for
reducing emissions while promoting economies.

The White House, which said the meeting would complement the United Nations process,
invited such countries as France, Britain, China, India, Brazil and Mexico, as well as the UN
itself. The Washington Post (4/8/07). Australia will join the meeting, to be hosted by Secretary
of State Condoleeza Rice in Washington over September 27/28.

AUSTRALIA ‘CAN’T VOTE AT BALI CLIMATE CHANGE MEETING’
Due to the Howard Government’s failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, Australia will only have
observer status at the Bali meeting where a post-Kyoto agreement will be negotiated and voted
upon, shadow foreign affairs minister Robert McClelland said on Wednesday.

He said the Federal Government had acknowledged as much in its own submission to the UN
implementation body, to which the Kyoto Protocol is attached. The submission entitled
Participation of Observer States in Kyoto Protocol Processes, states:

‘Parties to the Protocol have an express legal obligation to allow Parties to the
Convention to participate as observers in Protocol proceedings. The only limitation on
participation is that only Parties to the Protocol can take decisions. Participation by
Parties to the Convention … would not include a right to vote or block consensus.’

“Australia is a Party to the Convention but not a Party to the Protocol due to our government’s
refusal to ratify the treaty,” Mr McClelland said. The bottom line was that the Howard
Government became lightweights when it came to helping address climate change at global
forums because of its ongoing refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

US HOUSE PASSES BILL TO USE OIL TAX BREAK FOR BIOFUEL PROGRAMS: The US House of
Representatives passed an energy Bill that would repeal a $16 billion tax break for oil
companies and direct the money toward alternative energy sources such as biofuels. San
Francisco Chronicle (8/5)/The Wall Street Journal (free content) (6/8/07).

GETTING CHINA AND US TO JOIN CLIMATE CHANGE DEAL
The world should consider paying China, now the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, to
participate in a global warming agreement, the Financial Times argues. And the international
community must persuade the US that it has more to gain than lose from joining a global deal
to fight climate change, write Eric Posner and Cass Sunstein, of University of Chicago Law
School. Financial Times (subscription required) (8/8/07).

EUROPE AIMS TO LEAD WORLD ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
A European Commission plan to produce 20 per cent of Europe's electricity through renewable
sources by 2020 is helping drive the continent's premier position in the rapidly expanding
sustainable energy industry. Investment in the sector is expected to top $90 billion in 2007, and
Europe is the top spot for investments. European companies are also expanding their
production of wind turbines and solar panel designs. Der Spiegel - English online (6/8/07).

GREEN DOUBTERS CAST PALL OVER CLIMATE CHANGE BATTLE
In the battle against climate change there continues to be an extremely well-funded counter
campaign to influence governments and public policy that denies the effects of global warming
despite overwhelming scientific evidence. Through strategic use of advertisements, op-ed
pieces, lobbyists and media attention, the self-proclaimed green doubters argue that warming
is a natural process and that any changes will be harmless. Newsweek (8/8/07).

GORE: CHINA NEED NOT SACRIFICE GROWTH OVER EMISSIONS
China can successfully cut its carbon gas emissions without sacrificing economic growth by
using technological advances, former US Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday. "There are
ways to leapfrog the old, dirty technologies," he said. China's water shortages were closely tied
to climate change and the country should act. AlertNet.org/Reuters
(8/8/07).
GHANA'S ECONOMY HIT BY CLIMATE CHANGE
Ghana's economy had been on the upswing in recent years but is now threatened by a sharp
drop in rainfall, which undermines its use of hydro power. The severe shortage of rain has
forced the government to ration electricity and companies to buy expensive diesel generators.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) (8/8/07).


[21]   MEDIA MATTERS - CLASSIFICATION CHANGES ‘GO TOO FAR’

"The proposed amendment to classification laws, currently before the Senate, aimed at
restricting the publication of material that 'advocates' terrorism, are unnecessary, dangerous
and inimical to essential freedom of communication,” Professor Ken McKinnon, Chairman of the
Australian Press Council, said this week. “It is a further egregious example of the government's
consistent tendency to legislate limits on the public's access to information."
He told the ABC on Thursday that there had been government haste to introduce the Bill and
that the public did not know much about it.

In a Press Council statement, he said the government had already demonstrated that it had at
its disposal powers more than sufficient to restrict dangerous publications, including laws
against sedition, advocacy of violence, racial vilification and various provisions within the
Criminal Code and anti-terrorism legislation.

“The issuing of an ‘RC’ classification by the Classification Review Board against Defence of the
Muslim Lands and Join the Caravan in 2006 clearly shows that the present scheme leads to bans
on public access to material that advocates terrorism. In fact, the current classification powers
are so sweeping that they even allowed the banning of Dr Philip Nitschke's, The Peaceful Pill
Handbook, action well beyond any desirable public restrictions on the free flow of
information.”

He said the new proposals, if enacted, would not only put material that directly advocates
terrorism outside the law but also anything considered by authorities to indirectly advocate
terrorism.

“Opinion or commentary upon the news, or material that analyses the underlying causes of
terrorism, may still be banned, given the narrow scope of the exemptions in the Bill. There is a
justifiable fear that such material may be incorrectly regarded as ‘indirectly advocating’
terrorism, which would inevitably lessen the availability of information to the public.

“Moreover, the fact that the standard of proof in classification will be ‘on the balance of
probabilities,’ a much lower standard than the normal criminal requirement of beyond
reasonable doubt, will make the proposed regime abhorrent.”

He said in dealing with the threat of terrorism it is important that the public is well informed
on matters related to it. “Research into the background of terrorism and terrorist groups can
assist in safeguarding an open and liberal democracy. Similarly, there is a need to ensure that
material that can aid research, add to our understanding of terrorism and assist in reasoned
debate on the issues should not be arbitrarily restricted as a result of a Bill that contains
definitions of ‘advocacy’ that are far too wide.”

See also: Submission to a Senate Committee on the Classification legislation

AFGHAN JOURNALISTS ESTABLISH CHARTER
Media practitioners and journalists from all over Afghanistan adopted a historic National
Charter for Media and Democracy at a summit meeting in Kabul on July 31. This charter,
enshrining the values of free speech and the right to information of all citizens, will constitute
the basis for action by professional media unions and associations in the years ahead.

The media summit was convened under a project being implemented by the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ), with its local associates in Afghanistan, the Afghan Independent
Journalists' Association and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists. Funded by the
European Commission, the project will in the months ahead, seek to train a cadre of media
professionals fully conversant with best practices in political reporting and election coverage.

The National Charter on Media and Democracy, now available in English and Dari, underlines
that the journalist has the right to function in conditions of safety and security and that he or
she has the right to organise in professional bodies and collectively bargain for wages and
appropriate working conditions. This claim to a distinct set of rights as a professional
community is underlined by an ethical code that commits journalists to the public right to
know. DETAILS: www.ifj-asia.org and IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919.
CHIEF EDITOR PICKED UP BY GUNMEN
But on August, it is reported by IFJ that Kamran Mir Hazar, chief editor for a popular news
website in Kabul and reporter for Salam Watandar Radio, was picked up outside his office by
gunmen who identified themselves as personnel of the Afghanistan National Security
Directorate (ANSD). A colleague said Mr Hazar was threatened and coerced, before being taken
away to an unknown location.

The Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) and the Committee to Protect Afghan
Journalists (CPAJ) have since made a number of inquiries with the ANSD, but were met with a
denial that the agency had anything to do with Mr Hazar’s abduction.

The IFJ learns that Mr Hazar was taken for “questioning” one month back by the ANSD,
following a number of media reports critical of high-ranking Afghan government officials.
Following his release after four days of detention, he was reportedly living inside the Kabul
office of an international media development organisation. Jacqueline Park, IFJ’s director for
the Asia Pacific, said demands for his immediate release had been made.
DETAILS: IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919.

CALL FOR PAKISTAN TO RELEASE JOURNALIST
The IFJ has urged the Pakistan Government to release journalist Munir Mengal, who was just
released from 16 months’ military detention only to be put back in jail under a 30-day custody
order.

According to reports, Mr Mengal, the head of the Baloch Voice TV station, was released by
intelligence agencies on August 6 but was arrested soon after by police in Qalat, in the south-
western province of Balochistan.

He was allegedly arrested under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance.

“Holding Mengal in captivity with no legal justification is a serious violation to his human
rights,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. This prison sentence is another telling
blow for Mengal and his family, who have already suffered enough with him detained by the
military for more than a year,” she said.

According to reports, Mr Mengal had disappeared since April 4, 2006, after landing at Karachi
international airport. He went missing only three months before Baloch Voice TV, the first
Baloch language TV station, was due to air via satellite. The IFJ maintains its view that the
Balochistan region is one of the most dangerous areas for journalists to work in Pakistan.

INDIAN JOURNALISTS FACE STATE GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS
According to reports received from the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), the Manipur state
government has imposed new restrictions on the local media, particularly on reporting the
activities of armed insurgent groups in the state.

The International Federation of Journalists understands that the Home Department in the
Manipur state government has issued an order under which any material, printed or
electronically encoded, would be forfeited, if believed to contain anything connected to
underground or subversive groups.

It appears the police can seize any copy of the publication in question, and under warrant
issued by a magistrate, enter upon and search any premises for the same.

“These powers reserved for the police authorities would stifle any notion of media freedom”,
said IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park. “More alarming though, is the notion that the
state authorities can legitimately respond to the intimidation of the media by armed insurgent
groups, with threats of their own”.

The IFJ endorses the IJU’s demand that the Manipur state government should withdraw its
recent order and build an ambience where media freedom is respected. DETAILS:
IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919.


[22]   ARTICLES IN FOCUS

ABORIGINAL ACTION 'A BETRAYAL'
The authors of the report that prompted the radical federal intervention in the Northern
Territory say every one of their recommendations for tackling child sexual abuse in Indigenous
communities has been ignored by the Howard Government, the Sydney Morning Herald reported
(6/8/07). One of the authors, Pat Anderson, said she and her co-author, Rex Wild, QC, "feel
betrayed, disappointed, hurt and angry - pretty pissed off all at the same time" by the federal
response. "When we turned on the television and saw the troops roll into the Northern Territory
we were sort of devastated that this could happen," Ms Anderson, a health administrator, said.
ARTICLE: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/aboriginal-action-a-
betrayal/2007/08/05/1186252546944.html

INTERVIEW WITH CHEN SHUI-BIAN, PRESIDENT OF TAIWAN
Interview conducted on July 6 by Edward Cody of The Washington Post Foreign Service.
Transcript prepared by the Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan):
I understand that you were just at a tea party with some of your local constituents, and it
occurred to me that we were just talking with Mr. Liu that Mao Zedong said that "Revolution is
not a tea party." But maybe politics sometimes is a tea party! (8/7/08). FP Foreign Policy
magazine. DETAILS: washingtonpost.com and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
dyn/content/article/2007/07/07/AR2007070700929.html?referrer=emailarticle

SEED SLEUTH ON HUNT FOR DAILY, ETERNAL BREAD
Like an agricultural Indiana Jones, Ken Street searches the cradle of civilisation for ancient
treasures that can help feed the modern world, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
From his base in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the 44-year-old Australian roams the wilds of places
like Armenia and Tajikistan looking for the ancestors of modern cereal crops before they
become extinct. He is racing to help build a global genetic Noah's Ark, despite dangerous
mountain roads, lawless valleys, bandits, war zones and landmines. ARTICLE: Seed sleuth on
hunt for daily, eternal bread - National - smh_com_au.mht

SMALL DREAMS
In October 2001 a boat load of asylum seekers en route to Christmas Island drowned at sea. The
lives of 353 people on board - mostly women and children - were lost. It was the largest
maritime disaster since World War II, and yet the fate of these people barely disturbed the life
of the country they were aspiring to join. Amal Basry was one of the 45 refugees who survived
the disaster. She spent 22 hours in the water … Documentary maker Steve Thomas first met
Amal at an exhibition of paintings by artist and activist Kate Durham. Amal gave a speech
describing that night. "(It) was so moving that everybody was in tears, including me," Thomas
recalls. "… just made me think 'someone has to tell this story'.” ARTICLE:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/small-dreams/2007/08/07/1186252701272.html
'Hope', the feature documentary about SIEV X survivor Amal Basry and the SIEV X disaster, will
premiere on August 10 at 9pm at the ACMI Cinema, Federation Square, Melbourne. DETAILS:
http://www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au/2007/film?film_id=8634

NO SUCH THING AS A NEAT ENDING
Mohammed Sagar has finally found a home, in Sweden. But he says he can't settle down until
he receives justice from the Australian Government, writes James Button, in the Sydney
Morning Herald (4/8/07). Mohammed Sagar was not allowed to pass through Australia, because
he had been denied a visa. So in February the Iraqi asylum seeker had to make a journey just
as tortuous, though far quicker, than the one that landed him in detention 5½ years before.
ARTICLE: No such thing as a neat ending - World - smh_com_au.mht
UN AND CHILD PROTECTION

[23] A BOOK TO READ ON CHILD ABUSE

Now that Members of Federal Parliament and Senators have expressed their expert opinions
and cast their votes on the Federal Government’s Aboriginal child-abuse legislation, they may
care to read Child Protection – a handbook for parliamentarians [ISBN 92 9142 189 8 and 92 806
3800 9] published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and by UNICEF and written by Dan
O’Donnell with contributions from Dan Seymour.

There is an assumption by some, including MPs, that whatever is done in Australia leads the
world. It would be comforting to think that is true. However, the international community can
often teach us a better way.

Child Protection has chapters on several aspects of child welfare which most Australians would
say could not possibly apply to us. The fact is, though, that our courts hear accounts daily of
abuse of children, quite separate from the government’s current legislation on Aboriginal
communities. The book devotes a chapter to harmful traditional practices which would
certainly cover promised brides, forced marriages and adolescent pregnancy.

It also states that child protection responsibilities are sometimes hidden beneath the surface of
apparently unrelated matters. “For example, the protection concerns with regard to school
sanitation may not be immediately apparent to those working on the issue. Yet the link
between shared sanitary facilities and sexual abuse of girls requires that protection to be
considered,” it notes.

The book sets out the steps parliamentarians can take to improve the plight of abused,
neglected and institutionalised children.

Federal parliamentarians may take some comfort from the speed with which they have
embraced the Government’s intervention in the Northern Territory. It is ironic that much of
what the new legislation seeks to achieve could have been achieved if the federal government
had adhered to its undertakings and responsibilities under a range of UN conventions that it
purports to uphold.

These include:
- The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
- The Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography
-  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
-  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- The Geneva Conventions on International Humanitarian Law and Additional Protocols
-  International Labour Conventions (specifically Nos. 138 and 182)
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and
   children

And it’s not as though this advice is just hot off the press. Child Protection was published in
2004 and reprinted the same year.
For more information access www.ipu.org and www.unicef.org or email: postbox@mail.ipu.og
and pubdoc@unicef.org

Other titles relevant to Aboriginal affairs include
A Fatal Conjunction: Two Laws Two Cultures by Joan Kimm [ISBN 1 86287 509 X The Federation
Press, Sydney, 2004].
The Aboriginal People, Parliament & ‘Protection’ – in NSW 1856-1916 by Anna Doukakis [ISBN
978 1 86287 606 4 The Federation Press 2006]
Settling with Indigenous People – Modern treaty and agreement-making eds.Marcia Langton,
Odette Maze, Lisa Palmer, Kathryn Shain, Maureen Tehan with foreword by Sir Gerard Brennan.
[ISBN 978 186287 618 7 The Federation Press 2006]
                                                                 - Review by Ian Mathews

…      A BOOK TO READ FREEDOM

A book, entitled Rainbow Bird, written by teenager Czeny Cavouras will be published on August
26, on the anniversary of the Tampa incident. The book touches on the importance of freedom
and the detention regime.

Described as stark and beautiful, and of rare insight, the book is “More than a children’s book,
or an art book, this is a work of pain, hope, and simple, profound truth. An unseen, unnamed
narrator takes us on a journey through fear, uncertainty and despair to hope. Every page
challenges us to think and, above all, to feel.”

Created by fourteen-year-old Czenya Cavouras, her inspiration to write Rainbow Bird came
from conversations with her grandfather about his trips to Port Augusta. She asks readers to
imagine themselves in a similar situation and how they might respond.

Supported by Australians Against Racism Inc, a non-profit grassroots association that devises or
facilitates creative projects to counter racism in Australia. DETAILS:
www.wakefieldpress.com.au


[24]    LITERACY TEST FOR PARLIAMENTARIANS

What politicians read is probably more important than what they say. It is from reasoned
argument that policies – good and bad – are influenced rather than from pre-election rhetoric,
writes Ian Mathews. The Federal Parliamentary Library has published its August list of
“recommended reading” for MPs and senators. This extract concentrates on the material that
is relative to Australia’s obligations and responsibilities as a member-state of the United
Nations.

BILL OF RIGHTS:
Brennan, Frank. An Australian fence-sitter’s reading of Hushcroft’s living tree
concern. University of Queensland Law Journal, vol.25, no.1, 2006: 25-37.
Campbell, Tom. Does anyone win under a Bill of Rights? A response to Hilary Charlesworth’s
‘ Who wins under a Bill of Rights?’ University of Queensland Journal, vol.25, no.1, 12006:
55-63.
Charlesworth, Hilary. Who wins under a Bill of Rights? University of Queensland
Journal, vol.25, no.1, 2006: 39-53.
Hushcroft, Grant. The trouble with living tree interpretation. University of Queensland Law
Journal, vol.25, no.1, 2006: 3-23.

CENSORSHIP: Pennell, C.R. Book ban a bomb. Australian Literary Review,        vol.2, no.6, July
2007: 6-7.
 Calma, Tom. When do I stop being a refugee: the journey of citizenship and community
inclusiveness: a vision of multiculturalism and an inclusive Australian society. Speech, 18
October 2006: 5p.

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Bamforth, Nicholas. Same-sex partnerships: some comparative
constitutional lessons. European Human Rights Law Review, no.1, 2007: 47-65.

COPYRIGHT: Toobin, Jeffrey. Annals of law: Google’s moon shot. New Yorker,       5 February
2007: 30-5.

DEMOCRACY: Brumberg, Daniel. Islam is not the solution (or the problem). Washington
Quarterly, vol.29, no.1, Winter 2005-2006: 97-116.

FEDERALISM
McKay, Jennifer. The quest for environmentally sustainable water use. Reform Australia. Law
Reform Commission), no.89, Summer 2006-2007: 22-7.
Solomon, David. Howard has no respect for state rights. Courier Mail, 27 July 2007: 29.
Wall, Peter. The last warrior? Commonwealth Indigenous initiative versus the bureaucratic
quagmire of federalism. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol.79, no.2, March-April 2007: 14-6.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, SPEECH and PRESS
Fraser, Ron. The ABC’s FOI exemption for ‘program material’ in the Federal Court. Australian
Journal of Administrative Law, vol.14, no.1, November 2006: 55-65.
Moore, Matthew. For your own good, the Government can’t say. Sydney Morning Herald, 5
July 2007: 20.
Waterford, Jack. Now Britain waters down its FOI Act. Public Sector Informant), 3 April 2007:
2.
Hume, David and George Williams. Who’s listening? Intercepting the telephone calls, e-mails
and SMS’s of innocent people. Alternative Law Journal, vol.31, no.4, December 2006: 211-5.
Omestad, Thomas. Culture clash in Denmark. U.S. News & World Report, vol.142, no.1, 8
January 2007: 4-5.
Sorial, Sarah. Sedition and the question of freedom of speech. Current Issues in Criminal
Justice, vol.18, no.3, March 2007: 431-48.
Flint, David. Protect sources or liberty will suffer. Online Opinion, 4 July 2007: 2p.

TOPICAL HISTORY
Behrendt, Larissa. Reconciliation: forty years on. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3,
May-June 2007: 48-53.
Burnside, Julian. Australian values. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3, May-June
2007:15-20.
Cox, Eva. The demonising of feminism. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3, May-June
2007:31-5.
Sheppard, Leigh. 75 years of climate change, & renewable research unchanged. AQ:
Australian Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3, May-June 2007: 457.
Vanstone, Amanda. Fair go: our ultimate value. AQ: Australian Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3,
May-June 2007:10-4.

IMMIGRATION
Nicholls, Glenn. From the dictation test to the character test. Australian Policy Online, 26
July 2007: 2p. (The federal government’s treatment of Mohamed Haneef recalls the infamous
case of Egon Kisch)
Jupp, James. Terrorism, immigration, and multiculturalism: the Australian
experience. International Journal, vol.61, no.3, Summer 2006: 699-710.
Legomsky, Stephen H. The USA and the Caribbean interdiction program. International Journal
of Refugee Law, 2006: 1p.
INTERNATIONAL LAW
Aradau, Claudia. Law transformed: Guantánamo and the ‘other’ exception. Third World
Quarterly, vol.28, no.3, 2007: 489-501.
Steyn, Johan. Our government and the international role of law since 9/11. European Human
Rights Law Review, no.1, 2007: 1-7.

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS
Davies, Julie-Anne. Indigenous intervention: all in the family. (Mal Brough) Bulletin with
Newsweek, vol.6577, no.125, 10 July 2007: 18-21.
Toohey, Paul. In the hot seat [Clare Martin]. Bulletin with Newsweek, vol.125, no.6570, 22
May 2007: 32-4.
Behrendt, Larissa. Native title: beyond the backyards and beaches. Australian
Options, no.47, Summer 2006: 32-3.
Ciolek, Monika. Exploring connection: judicial interpretations of section 223 (1) (B) of the
Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). Australian Indigenous Law Reporter, vol.10, no.3, 2006: 14-31.
McIntyre, G.M.G. Noongar native title case. Brief, vol.33, no.10, November 2006: 17-9.

PARLIAMENT
Evans, Harry. United Nations Youth Association Conference. Parliament House, Canberra, 10
July 2007, Speech, 10 July 2007: 4p.
Hawker, David. Funding arrangements for the Parliament of Australia: a view to the
future. Discussion Paper (Australian National University. Democratic Audit of Australia), 5/07,
March 2007: 12p.

PARTY LEADERSHIP
Abjorensen, Norman. Australian politics: party of one. New Matilda, 17 January 2007: 4p.
Grattan, Michelle. Rudd plays hard to get. The Age, 28 July 2007: 8.
Oakes, Laurie. Power plays: it’s the economy, stupid. Bulletin with Newsweek, vol.125,
no.6571, 29 May 2007: 14.
Taylor, Lenore. Abide with me. Australian Financial Review, 27 July 2007: 43.
Warhurst, John. Party leaders’ power constrained by local machinations. Canberra
Times, 19 July 2007: 19.


PRIVACY
Lyons, Michael and Brett Le Plastrier. Protecting personal privacy: why Australia needs a tort
of invasion of privacy. Reform (Australia. Law Reform Commission), no.89, Summer 2006-2007:
69-72.
Stott Despoja, Natasha. A brief look at the history of privacy. AQ: Australian
Quarterly, vol.79, issue 3, May-June 2007: 60+ (7p.)
Stott Despoja, Natasha. Access card should be ordered off the field for good. Online
Opinion, 12 July 2007: 3p.

REFUGEES
Mann, Caroline, M. and Qulsoom Fazil. Mental illness in asylum seekers and refugees. Primary
Care Mental Health, vol.4, no.1, March 2006: 57-66.
Pease, Bob and Susan Rees. Researching domestic violence in refugee families. DVIRC
Quarterly, no.1, Autumn 2007: 10-5.
Toohey, Paul. Under the gaydar. Bulletin with Newsweek, vol.125, no.6570, 22 May 2007:
14-5.

WHISTLEBLOWING: Sawyer, Kim. Evil prospers when good people do nothing. Online
Opinion, 13 July 2007: 2p.
WOMEN IN POLITICS: Hunt, Swanee. Let women rule. Foreign Affairs,        vol.86, no.3, May-June
2007: 109-14+ (6p.)

BOOK REVIEW Protecting rights without a Bill of Rights edited by Tom Campbell, Jeffrey
Goldsworthy and Adrienne Stone. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006 – reviewed by David Erdos. Law
and Politics Book Review, vol.17, no.3, March 2007: 243-5.

All publications are available from publishers or from your federal MP or senators.

[25] IF MUSIC BE THE FOOD OF LOVE, PLAY ON …
The modern mix of Hindi and Urdu now commonly spoken in both India and Pakistan has
opened up an innovative way to calm tensions between the two nations through music, says a
commentary from Nation intern Swati Gauri Sharma in the International Herald Tribune. Mutual
affinity for love ballads and drum-heavy dance beats unites millions, has opened the doors to
success for bands from both countries and may help ease the South Asian neighbours' long-
troubled relationship, Sharma writes. International Herald Tribune (8/6)

[26]   UNITY, UN AND UNAA CONTACTS

To access major United Nations websites, go to:
United Nations
Secretary-General
UN News Centre
Key UN Bodies, Agencies, Funds and Programs.

For more information about the United Nations Association of Australia in your state or if you
want to join UNAA, access http://www.unaa.org.au/ or contact:

UNAA ACT unaaact@cyberone.com.au ph 02 6247 4499;
UNAA NSW office@unaansw.org.au ph 02 9212 0998;
UNAA Qld unaabalmain@optusnet.com.au ph/fax 07 3254 1096;
UNAA SA unaasa@picknowl.com.au ph 08 8226 4141;
UNAA Tas. secretary@UNAATasmania.org ph 03 6229 4269 http://www.unaatasmania.org/;
UNAA Vic info@unaavictoria.org.au ph: (03) 9670 7878 Website:
http://www.unaavictoria.org.au/;
UNAA WA unaawa@tpg.com.au ph 08 9221 9455 http://www.unaa-wa.org.au/;
UNAA NT (Darwin) http://au.f313.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=fletch44@bigpond.net.au
or on 0419 829509.

As a regular reader of UNity, please make sure you notify us if you change your email address
by sending your new email address to judycannn@yahoo.com.au

				
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