Monday, September 23, 2013

Operation: Breach Indonesian Sovereignty

With Tony Abbott's new foreign policy stances on immigration in full swing, the Coalition government is getting heaps of criticism from the UNHCR to, most recently, the Indonesian government.

Indonesian MP, Tantowi Yahya, stated in an interview with Lateline his concerns over Abott's policies interfering with Indonesian sovereignty. The policy dubbed, "Operation Sovereign Borders," mentions that if boats carrying asylum seekers are found coming from Indonesia, Australian authorities will "turn the boats around" to their port of origin; forcing the Indonesian government to deal with the immigrants themselves.

I foresee potential damages to Australia-Indonesia relationships if this policy is carried out accordingly...

Serco Watch

Interesting article about Serco, the multinational corporation that is in charge of Australia's Immigration Detention Centers (IDC). I had the opportunity to visit one of the IDCs in Northam called Yongah Hill. I'm not sure what to make of what seems like a "for-profit" prison...

Brief Issue Update- Sudanese President al-Bashir trying to come to U.S. to Speak at the UN

Last Monday I began my internship with United to End Genocide here in Washington, DC!

So far, my duties have included compiling lists of human rights events around the city, gathering news stories dealing with the countries our organizations works with and those countries on our "Watch List," and creating a weekly policy update sheet for our staff meetings.

Our office has been buzzing just this last week with the United Nations 68th General Assembly meeting beginning this week. In particular, we found out last week that Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir plans to attend the General Assembly meeting this Thursday to speak.

Bashir has been charged by the International Criminal Court on ten counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes for his involvement in the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

As part of our advocacy and awareness campaign, I have posted a blog on United to End Genocide's website for you all to read. It discuss a little bit about the current situation, and whether or not Bashir will get to the United States.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

David Bosco- Syria

Perhaps a little off topic from Australia, but I wanted to share this tweet from the Washington Post about David Bosco because I am currently reading his book, "Five to Rule Them All."

The exciting fact about Mr. Bosco is that I get to meet him in October when he comes to speak to my International Law and Organizations class! It will be interesting to hear his take on the functionality of the UN first person.

Here's the link to his interview:

The man who wrote the book on the U.N. Security Council tells how it’s handling Syria

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Human Rights Watch on the New Government

Today, Human Rights Watch writer, Elaine Pearson, discussed what the new Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, should do to address the treatment of asylum seekers.

Abbott, a member of the country's Liberal party, won the election on September 7th against incumbent Kevin Rudd. The new Liberal-National Coalition government has the opportunity to improve the country's immigration processing centers, or continue its "race to [the] bottom" in refugee/asylum seeker policies.

Pearson provides an interesting look at the current situation. With the new government in place, it is the perfect time to alter policies... however the question remains: Will they? 

"A more effective and humane solution would be to encourage more neighboring countries to adhere to international law and adopt the 1951 Refugee Convention and help them develop their capacity to protect refugees. On September 9, the United Nations human rights chief urged Australia, a party to the treaty, to follow the spirit and letter of the Refugee Convention."

Friday, September 6, 2013

How I Became I Human Rights Major

This is why I can confidently say that I am proud to be an SMU student, because I get to interact with my hero on a daily basis. Thank you Dr. Halperin for reminding me how choosing to be a Human RIghts major was the best decision I have ever made.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5th- Here's Australia For You...

This article puts an individual face to the injustices faced by many asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. At this very moment, people all over the country are suffering like Ranjini, stuck "indefinitely" in detention centers, separated from their loved ones, with no legal right to work.

The human rights violations committed by the Australian government can no longer be ignored.

Right now, Australia is in the climax of their Prime Minister elections. Both sides have radical viewpoints on how to address the issue of the "boat people." Neither Kevin Rudd nor Tony Abbott are doing anything to better the situation.

Maybe after the elections one side will realize the gravity of this issue and try to rectify the damage before Australia's reputation as a free, democratic, human rights oriented country is completely destroyed.

Australian refugee Ranjini in court challenge