Tag Archive for australia

Healing the Wounds of War: a Spiritual Axis

spiritual axis

After World War 2 the world was in ruins. The nations that fought against each other in that war were the last people who you would think would naturally cooperate with each other in a common cause. In Australia, when I was growing up, there was still (if fading) a lingering collective memory among some…

Adam and the Rainbow Serpent

sidewalk rainbow serpent

In ancient biblical lore Adam is the first human and the creation story of Adam and Eve is well-known. Adam and Eve are cast as responsible for the “fall of man” through their disobedience in eating from tree of good and evil. This story is regarded as a metaphorical rather than literal in the Baha’i teachings.[1]…

Australia’s refugee intake at historic lows

Update November 2016:  Since this post back in 2015, Australia has announced a special humanitarian intake for Syrian refugees. According to information published by the Department of Border Protection, in the 2015-16 year, 17,555 humanitarian visas were issued including almost 3800 to Syrian refugees. In a discussion paper issued for the 2015-16 year, the Department…

The borders of virtue and power

Closing borders: to refugees, to undocumented migrants, raises questions of virtue and questions of power. The public debate around borders is so fractured, so superficial, so bedevilled with assumption and ritual conflict that it conveys little new meaning.  It simply reiterates the existence of a continuing contest – a contest that often is more about power than rights. In this contest…

Three reasons for Abandoning Mandatory Detention

gate at Christmas Island Detention Centre

A paper delivered at a roundtable on alternatives to detention held in Canberra, June 9 – 10, 2011 By Penelope Mathew Freilich Foundation Professor The Australian National University Why does mandatory detention of asylum seekers continue in Australia when there are alternatives? In this short presentation, I invite people to think about three important issues…

Migrant Rights? Not our problem …

migrant rights are human rights protest

Despite being urged to do so, Australia will not ratify the Migrant Workers Convention: one of the major human rights treaties of the world.  The Australian Human Rights Commission and countries taking part in a review of Australia’s human rights performance under the UN universal periodic review, urged Australia to consider ratifying the International Convention on the Protection…

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Australia

As, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, today acknowledged there are a lot of human rights positives for Australia, but there were two issues on which Australia’s record is troubled: Australia’s treatment of indigenous Australians and asylum seekers. “In my discussions with Aboriginal people, I could sense the deep hurt and pain that they…

Why Global Citizenship?

1. Introduction Plutarch said: … nature has given us no country as it has given us no house or field. … Socrates expressed it … when he said, he was not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world (just as a man calls himself a citizen of Rhodes or Corinth).[1] Plutarch…