Human-rights groups urge action on Syria
Three major human-rights groups express separate concerns about the Syrian regime's crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. The groups say the international community should hold the Syrian leadership
Syria: Shootings, arrests follow Hama protest
Syrian security forces responded to a large peaceful protest on July 1, 2011, in Syria's central city of Hama with a series of deadly raids, killing at least 16 people in the last 48 hours, Human Rights Watch said today. Security forces and pro-government armed groups, known locally as shabiha, raided homes, opening fire several times, and set up checkpoints encircling Hama, Syria's fourth-largest city.
"Hama is the latest city to fall victim to President Bashar al-Asad's security forces despite his promises that his government would tolerate peaceful protests," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Security forces have responded to protests with the brutality that's become familiar over the past several months."
Masses could be cut in Wilcannia-Forbes
As the number of ordained priests diminishes in this part of the world, people are subjected to the injustice of being denied access to a regular celebration of the Eucharist – that revolutionary act by which Catholics commemorate the salvific gift of the life of Jesus Christ.
Some far west Catholic parishes in the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese of NSW may be able to celebrate Mass only every second Sunday, because of the shortage of priests, reports the ABC.
The diocese is operating without a bishop, and minus two priests.
March marks Mabo Day anniversary
Map: Townsville 4810
Several hundred Townsville residents marched through the city last month to commemorate the 19th anniversary of Mabo Day.
Eddie Mabo launched a decade-long fight for land rights through the courts in the 1990s but he died before the landmark decision was handed down. Organiser of the June 3 action Moses Neliman says the fight for recognition of traditional ownership is an ongoing issue.
"The sea rights claims are still going on in the Torres Strait and in other parts of Australia," he said.
"In a way, the Mabo decision may have opened up the proverbial can of worms for not only Indigenous Australians but all Australians, particularly issues with mining and the resources boom at the moment."
Time to move beyond grievance in Treaty relationship, Tribunal says
Meanwhile, New Zealand is at a crossroads in race relations and in its quest for a mature sense of national identity as a result of the settlements of historical Maori land grievances and tribal economic renewal, along with growth in Maori population and other social changes, according to The Waitangi Tribunal's report into the Wai 262 claim, released July 2.
The Love That Surprises: lessons from Timor-Leste
The principles of Catholic Social Teaching underpin the elements of good developmental accompaniment in the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council's latest booklet, The Love That Surprises: Lessons from Timor-Leste by former Caritas country director of the Timor-Leste program, Mark Green.
Green explores lessons that can be learned from working alongside people as they strive to achieve a better life for their community.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s inner freedom
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd recently had the privilege of spending two hours with Burma’s pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi. The rest of us were privileged to have the opportunity to listen to the first of her BBC Reith Lectures, which was broadcast in Australia on ABC NewsRadio.
Refugees and Migrants
The UN refugee convention: still valid?
23 June 2011
This year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Concluding Thinking Faith’s series for Refugee Week 2011, Amaya Valcarcel, Jesuit Refugee Service International Advocacy Coordinator, considers the aptness of the law to deal with forced displacement
I didn’t have to be afraid of the border anymore
By Tom Roberts of NCR
What Leo Guardado most remembers about crossing the border back in 1991 was moving along in moonlit shadows, trying, as a 9-and-a-half-year-old, to stay low and to keep his own shadow from showing.
A ‘maddening’ system: from courtrooms to shelters
Each day at the Evo A DeConcini US Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, 70 undocumented migrants are seated in orderly rows, hushed like a quiet congregation in long pews in the low light of a modern courtroom.
On this day Judge Bernardo P Velasco took little more than a half hour to call rank after rank of migrants to a line of microphones in front of the bench. The script was simple – questions delivered through an interpreter established that the defendants are citizens of other countries, mostly Mexico with a few from Guatemala, and that they knew they could have an individual trial, subpoena and cross-examine witnesses and refuse to testify.
Share Sweet Water for a Just Climate
Sweet Water is a short documentary from Caritas Australia that explores the impact of climate change on communities living in the coastal regions of South-West Bangladesh. Sweet Water illustrates how these vulnerable coastal communities are responding to the impacts of climate change in their region – the rapid rise of sea water, the destruction of vital soils through increased salinity and the increased frequency and ferocity of cyclones in Bangladesh. Watch and share Sweet