Tag: human rights

No doubt the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is an avid student of history. Wherever it was that he learned it, he certainly seems to know that, in a tense game of Cold War diplomacy, the minacious art of brinkmanship can often be absolutely everything.
Are police watching your Facebook, looking at your private health records, banking details, and email addresses? Are they modifying or copying your data and posts without your knowledge, or forcing you to hack others on their behalf? If they didn't have the power to before, they do now.
Between 1905 and 1970, generations of First Nations children were forcibly removed from their families, under a policy of so-called ‘protection.’ The 1995 Bringing Them Home report estimated that between ten and thirty-three per cent of all First Nations children were taken from their loved ones.
The latest Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, serves up a thought-provoking critique of the unethical and largely unregulated tactics employed by social media platforms, namely surveillance capitalism and data mining, in order to exploit users for commercial benefit. The doco’s director, Jeff Orlowski, seeks to draw a causal link between the rise of these tactics in the 2010’s and broader social, political and economic concerns such as mental health issues, the spread of misinformation/conspiracy theories, and election tampering.
The late great Nelson Mandela served 27 years in prison for his opposition to the apartheid system of racial segregation in South Africa. When he was finally released from custody in 1990, he famously said "To deny a person their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."
What goes around always seems to come around again. In February 1862 a familiar advertisement appeared in the employment columns of the London Times newspaper. It read simply "WANTED: A smart, active girl to do the general housework of a large family, one who can cook, clean plates, and get up fine linen, preferred. No Irish need apply."
On Friday last week my dear daughter Carly Nyst, a UK-based Australian lawyer who is currently the Legal Director of the human rights group Privacy International in London, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the right to privacy in the digital age. As part of a panel which included Flavia Panasieri , the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Catalino Botero Marino, Carly told the Commission that the right to privacy is a fundamental part of human dignity, which guarantees the protection of other human rights such as the freedom of expression, and should be jealously defended by the United Nations, particularly in the wake of WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden Affair. The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Botero said the Commission recognised that systematic collection of data by governments directly affects the right to privacy and freedom of expression, and appropriate safeguards and controls must be elaborated to prevent those negative effects on human rights.
Last week I was invited by Amnesty International to join a panel of criminal justice experts discussing the human rights implications of Queensland's anti-bikie laws, indefinite detention regime, and other current and mooted legislative changes challenging many of our accepted notions of personal liberty. The discussion, which took place in the Banco Court of Brisbane's new Supreme Court complex, and involved a broad spectrum of speakers ranging from the Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart to legal academics and practitioners, was introduced by the President of the Queensland Court of Appeal Justice Margaret McMurdo, who spoke powerfully of the need for lawyers to find a voice in championing human rights both here and internationally.