Human Rights & Justice

Issue 40 - November-December 2012

By James Balowski

Jakarta – The killing of a leading pro-independence activist in West Papua during a raid reportedly led by members of the Australian-funded and -trained counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88 (Densus 88) raises serious questions about how Australian workers’ tax money is being used in Indonesia.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – After a three-year investigation and testimonies from 349 witnesses, Indonesia’s National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has declared that the systematic prosecution of alleged members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) when former president Suharto and the military seized power in 1965 constituted gross human rights violations.It urged that the military office

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Reneging on a pledge to apologise and make reparations for the victims of the 1965 anti-communist purge, when Suharto and the military seized power, the government of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is now parroting the New Order regime’s myth that the killings were justified to save the country from communism.

Issue 39 - May-July 2012

By John Percy

Australian and Vietnamese artists are contributing works to an art exhibition in Sydney August 7-11 to expose the ongoing horror of the Agent Orange chemical warfare inflicted on the Vietnamese people by the US war in the 1960s and ’70s. August 10 is the 51st anniversary of the beginning of spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam.

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Riots erupted in the West Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura on June 14 after a leading pro-independence activist was shot dead during an arrest reportedly led by members of the Australian-funded counter-terrorism unit Detachment 88.

Issue 37 - December-January 2012

By John Percy

The many crimes of the rapacious global corporation Monsanto were exposed at a public forum in Sydney November 23, organised by Agent Orange Justice – Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network.

Issue 36 - October-November 2011

By Hamish Chitts

The Australia Cuba Friendship Society (Brisbane) held a screening of the film Will the real terrorist please stand up? in solidarity with the Cuban 5 on September 7. The film was introduced by the Cuban ambassador to Australia, Pedro Monzon, who was in Brisbane as part of an official visit to Queensland.

By Barry Sheppard

San Francisco – On September 21, shortly before 11 pm, the state government of Georgia injected poison into the veins of an African American, Troy Davis. The murder was completed at 11:08 pm.

Issue 35 - September 2011

By Allen Myers

[This is the speech delivered at the Second International Conference on the Victims of Agent Orange in Hanoi, August 8-9, by AOJ-AVSN representative Allen Myers. Myers was a US GI active in resisting against the US war on Vietnam in the 1960s and was court-martialled twice for his activism.

By Hamish Chitts

Hanoi – The Vietnamese Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA) hosted the Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin in Hanoi August 8-9. Attending the conference were participants from more than 20 countries and 30 organisations, including Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists.

By Hamish Chitts

[This is the speech delivered at the Second International Conference on the Victims of Agent Orange in Hanoi, August 8-9, by Agent Orange Justice – Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network (AOJ-AVSN) representative Hamish Chitts. Chitts was an infantry soldier with the Australian military and served in East Timor in the late 1990s.

2nd International Conference of Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims

August 9, 2011 – The Second International Conference of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, held in Hanoi from August 8 to 9, 2011, included participants from around the world: Agent Orange victims, victims of other toxic chemicals, scientists, lawyers and social activists.

Issue 33 - June-July 2011

By Mai Phuoc Dung

[This is the speech delivered to the launch meeting of Agent Orange Justice-Australia Vietnam Solidarity Network, held in Sydney on June 1, by the Vietnamese consul general in Sydney, Mai Phuoc Dung.]

Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues and friends:

By John Percy

Agent Orange Justice-Australia-Vietnam Solidarity Network, has now been established in Australia. A very successful inaugural meeting was held in Sydney on June 1, attended by more than 40 people, with 20 new members joining AOJ.

By Kim Bullimore

Melbourne visual artist Van Thanh Rudd’s art work titled Pop Goes the System, which depicts Justin Bieber supporting Palestinian human rights, was banned from the 2011 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival by festival organisers.

By Andrew Martin

In April, refugee rights activists from Perth and other parts of Australia attempted to visit asylum seekers held in the Curtin detention centre. Leading the protest action were the asylum seekers themselves, who went on hunger strike. Why is there so much underlying tension within the system of mandatory detention?

Issue 31 - April 2011

By James Balowski

Jakarta – The gruesome murder of three members of the Ahmadiyah religious sect by an Islamist mob has left Indonesia’s image of pluralism and religious tolerance in tatters. On February 6, a mob of 1500 people attacked 21 Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, a village in Banten province in Java, killing three and seriously wounding five others.

Issue 29 - February 2011

By Andrew Martin

Thousands of Tamils around the world commemorated the massacre at the Nagerkovil school that occurred 16 years ago near Jaffna, in the north-east of Sri Lanka. Many of the Tamils who commemorated the bombing of the school are facing deportation back to Sri Lanka where the Tamil people face systematic persecution.

Issue 28 - November-December 2010

By Steven Katsineris

Dear Editor,

By Win Padauk Wah Han

Write of life / the pious said
forget the past / the past is dead.
But all I see / in front of me
is a concrete floor / a cell door / and John Pat.

– by Jack Davis

Issue 27 - October 2010

By James Balowski

Jakarta – In November 2004, Indonesia’s newly elected president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, pledged to bring to justice the murderers of Indonesia’s most prominent human rights activist, Munir Said Thalib. Yudhoyono called the killing a “test case for the nation” on “how much Indonesia has changed”.

Issue 26 - September 2010

By James Balowski

Jakarta – Human rights groups have reacted angrily to an announcement by Washington that it will restore military ties with Indonesia’s abusive special forces Kopassus, accused of perpetrating some of the worst crimes against the people of East Timor, Indonesia and West Papua.

Issue 24 - July 2010

By Kim Bullimore

Israel announced on June 17 that it would “liberalise” its three-year siege of Gaza, allowing more categories of goods to enter the blockaded territory. Non-essential items such as tomato sauce, snacks, mayonnaise and cosmetics will now be allowed in.

Issue 23 - June 2010

By Danielle Sabai

On May 19, the government of Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva finally launched an assault on the Red Shirt camp in the Bangkok neighbourhood of Rachaprasong. Television stations from around the world broadcast brutal images of assault tanks destroying the bamboo and tyre barricades and soldiers armed with rifles firing live ammunition at demonstrators.

Issue 21 - April 2010

By Nick Everett

“Aboriginal people are treated worse than second class citizens”, Paul Haywood told a rally in Perth on March 17. Haywood, whose brother Deon Woods died in the Perth watch-house on March 14, told protesters, “Deon’s son is here today. Now he hasn’t got a father. I haven’t got a brother. My mother has lost her son and my sister in law has lost her man.”