Tag Archives: Australia

Maldives: Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) Speaks out in Support of 56 Lawyers Summarily Suspended in Maldives After Calling for Judicial Reform

September 20, 2017

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has joined a number of prominent international non-governmental organisations in calling on the Supreme Court of the Maldives to rescind the indefinite suspension of 56 lawyers who signed a joint petition raising concerns over the conduct of the judiciary and calling for judicial reforms and independence.

Following receipt of the petition, the Department of Judicial Administration published an announcement via Twitter stating that 56 lawyers would be indefinitely suspended from legal practice and investigated for obstructing the independence of the judiciary, remarking on the duties of the judiciary and attempting to influence the courts by preparing and signing an illegal document against the jurisdiction, procedures and decisions of the courts in violation of various laws, including the Constitution of the Maldives.

It is reported that the lawyers’ petition had raised several rule of law concerns including the Court’s alleged tendency to rule on critical matters late at night and suspend dissenting lawyers without due process. The UN Human Rights Council has previously raised concerns about violations of the right to a fair trial and allegations of political bias by the judiciary of the Maldives, however the Maldivian Government rejects all such criticism as unlawful infringements against the judiciary.

ALHR President Benedict Coyne said, “It appears that none of the 56 lawyers have been allowed to exercise their right to defend themselves or be heard before a professional disciplinary body and have no redress mechanism available to challenge their suspension.”




Australia: Dutton Claims Lawyers Who Represent Asylum Seekers for Free Are “Un-Australian”

September 13, 2017

Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton announced on August 28 that 70 asylum seekers were being issued with new “final departure” visas. These people had their fortnightly welfare payments cut off, and were given three weeks to vacate their accommodation.

The move could affect up to 370 former offshore detainees who were transferred to Australia due to medical reasons. The cohort are the last asylum seekers to have made it to Australian shores, and were the focus of the recent ‘Let Them Stay’ campaign.

Dutton recently told the Daily Telegraph that “the con” was up. He acknowledged that these people had come to Australia for medical care, but claimed that “through tricky legal moves they are now prevented from returning to their country of origin, Manus or Nauru.”

The minister added that the cost of providing for each of these asylum seekers within the Australian community is $120,000 a year, but neglected to mention that the cost of detaining them offshore is $573,000 per annum.

Shock jock radio

The minister then appeared on Alan Jones’ 2GB radio program. He asserted that the asylum seekers were performing these “tricky legal moves” with the help of lawyers representing them on a pro bono basis.

When Jones posed the question, “But this is un-Australian, isn’t it?” Mr Dutton replied, “Well, of course it is.” The minister further implied that these lawyers “have been playing the game” for far too long, and that the nation was “not going to be taken for a ride.”




Australia: Lawyers representing asylum seekers are ‘un-Australian’: Peter Dutton

August 28, 2017

Refugees at the Manus Island regional processing centre protesting earlier this month.

Lawyers representing asylum seekers trying to stay in the country are “un-Australian”, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has declared.

Mr Dutton said the government had been frustrated by its constitutional responsibilities to asylum seekers, and lashed out at lawyers acting on behalf of those in detention.

“These lawyers have been playing the game with these people who are willing participants and we’re a generous nation, but we’re not going to be taken for a ride,” he told Alan Jones on 2GB radio on Monday.

On Sunday, Fairfax Media revealed the Turnbull government planned to end income support for up to 100 Australian-based asylum seekers and give them just three weeks to find a home, a move Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s “weakest move yet”.










China/Australia: ‘My country, my people’

June 2, 2017

“It was a very serious interrogation.” Detained by Chinese agents on his way home to Australia in April, activist Dr Chongyi Feng might have faced imprisonment. Instead, safely back with his family, the former Communist Youth League member is speaking out for those who want reform in China – and want it soon.

“It’s over,” thought the compact, bespectacled man as he approached the final departure barrier at Guangzhou airport. His academic mission had been a success, the interviews conducted during the month’s field trip providing valuable new material. Dr Chongyi Feng’s subject, which had preoccupied him for two years, was human rights lawyers and their role in the new China.

A Chinese citizen, well-connected in the Chinese Communist Party of which he remained a member, Chongyi Feng was flying back to academic life in Sydney after another return visit to his homeland. It was a journey he had made nearly every other year since 1993 when he and his family migrated to Australia, where the chirpy professor was now a permanent resident, and his wife and daughter citizens.

What Feng had not expected on this March trip was that he himself would be subjected to hours of interviews over ten days by agents of Chinese state security. They had followed him after a first round of interrogation in the southern city of Kunming and announced their intention to continue questioning the China specialist after Feng’s trip took him eastwards to Guangzhou. The operatives resumed their task, ranging widely across a variety of subjects – some of which, the 56-year-old assistant professor at the University of Technology in Sydney admits, surprised him.

Now, as Feng walked through the airport, he believed all of that was behind him. Which is when he was stopped, to be told he was going nowhere. In fact, Feng was blocked from boarding Australia-bound flights on two occasions until, on April 1, after considerable international media attention to his unfortunate circumstances, he was permitted to return home. It was the first time in Feng’s history of travel between his adopted Australian home and the country in which he was born that an attempt had been made to restrict his exit.




China/Australia: Lest our politicians forget … China is still a communist state

April 11, 2017

It is now clear that the strife still unfolding between Australia and China has its origins in Beijing’s nationwide campaign to shut down lawyers who take on human rights cases.

The impact of the co-ordinated arrests almost two years ago of 286 lawyers and their colleagues, followed by their jailing for up to 12 years for “state subversion”, continues to send waves throughout China and the region.

These law firms represented cases ranging from farmers whose land was stolen by local officials to writers prosecuted for criticising long-dead communist “heroes”.

A few months before the arrests, President Xi Jinping said on the role of law that the Communist Party must ensure “the handle of the knife is firmly in the hands of the party and the people”.

People who feel cheated or downtrodden must not get their hands on that handle. In recent years, lawyers, often acting pro bono, had begun to articulate such grievances, finding ways to challenge the authorities in the courts. This connection is now decisively being cut.

Six weeks ago, Australia’s ambassador to Beijing, Jan Adams, and envoys from 10 other countries, including Britain, France, Japan, Canada and Switzerland, signed a letter urging Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun to investigate reports that such lawyers are being tortured. The ambassadors called for an end to the government’s lengthy detention of people suspected of “political” crimes at secret locations.

The whereabouts of some of those seized in mid-2015 are still unknown.


China/Australia: China ‘abruptly cancels’ Australian delegation’s planned visit after human rights criticism

April 5, 2017

ABC News

A delegation of federal politicians’ planned visit to China has been abruptly cancelled after Beijing took offence at a human rights petition signed by Australia.

The letter from 11 nations — including Canada, Japan and Switzerland — reportedly urged China to investigate disturbing reports of torture against human rights lawyers.

It is believed the joint letter was sent last month from the diplomatic missions in China of the signatory countries, and reportedly expressed “growing concern over recent claims of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in cases concerning detained human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders”.

The letter was meant to remain private but was leaked to the media.

Some members of Federal Parliament’s Law Enforcement Committee had been due to fly to China yesterday for a week-long visit to examine what the country is doing to stop the import and export of methamphetamines, known commonly as ‘ice’.

Sources have told ABC News the parliamentary delegation’s planned visit was “abruptly cancelled” about two weeks ago — shortly after the joint letter on human rights concerns was received by the Chinese Government.










China/Australia: Bob Carr’s backroom manouevering ends Chinese nightmare for Sydney academic

April 3, 2017

Sydney professor Feng Chongyi has arrived back at Sydney Airport, Australia after being detained in China for a week and interrogated by authorities. SUPPLIED: ABC NEWS.

FORMER Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s public silence on the fate of a Sydney academic held by the Chinese might have baffled some.

He was in China, had plenty of opportunity to pump up Australian outrage, and could have done it face-to-face with the Chinese leadership.

But the former NSW premier had taken the advice of a Chinese official on how to deal with the case of detained University of Technology Sydney professor Chongyi Feng, who was released from Chinese custody yesterday.

Professor Feng, a teacher in Chinese studies, had been blocked from returning to Sydney twice and was interrogated for more than a week for “endangering state security”.

As the Chinese official put it, back room inquiries might help, but “the microphone way” would only worsen Mr Feng’s plight.

Further, other sources suggested Mr Feng’s detention had not been authorised at the top levels and the Chinese government wanted the issue settled in the national interest.


















http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-39470592?utm_source=HRIC+Updates&utm_campaign=33f73dd36b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b537d30fde-33f73dd36b-259223637 (CHINESE)

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