Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SBS Documentary - The Edmund Rice Centre's "A well-grounded fear"

I have just posted the following comment on the SBS website chatroom on this excellent doco:

"Thank you for your documentary. I was a witness to much of the 'process' associated with the Nauru detainees as a member of the DIMIA coordinating committee for the Nauru detention facilities. I have been raising concerns about the violations perpetrated by the Howard Govt since early 2005 through my blog at
I have written three times to Sen Evans in his capacity as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, seeking a judicial inquiry into the refugee policies of the Howard Govt. On the 3rd occasion I received the standard perfunctory reply from DIMC stating everything is now hunky dory on the human rights front and that an inquiry would be inappropriate. I suggested terms of reference for the inquiry. One of my suggested areas of investigation was the "wrongful repatriation of asylum seekers (a particular concern of the UN Committee against Torture)". My ToR were, of course, much broader in scope because I hold strong views that the mandatory detention policy should be investigated and that those responsible for human rights violations held accountable, mainly to ensure it can never happen again."

It is time to pursue these issues more forthrightly. Politicians and public servants must understand the inviolable nature of human rights and that their systematic violation diminishes us all.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Human Rights in Tibet - EMAIL ACTION: Where is Dhondup Wangchen?

The ATC reports that in March this year, after completing the filming for his unique documentary, ‘Leaving fear Behind’, filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen was arrested in the Tibetan province of Amdo along with his assistant Jigme Gyatso, a Buddhist monk. The arrests were confirmed by the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet but have not been formally acknowledged by Chinese authorities.

On 15 October, Jigme Gyasto was released from Kachu prison reporting that he had been severely tortured - including being hung by his feet from the ceiling for several hours, receiving regular beatings and being tied to an interrogation chair for days at a time.

No news has emerged on the fate of Dhondup Wangchen.

Click to send an email to Stephen Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs, requesting the Minister to push the Chinese Government to release Dhondup Wangchen.