Posts Tagged ‘Report’

Australians ranked among world’s worst eco-offenders

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Adam Morton; 30/10/08

Australians have the world’s fifth largest ecological footprint — and it is getting bigger. An international report by conservation group the World Wildlife Fund has found the average Australian uses more land and water than people from all countries bar the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait and Denmark. The Living Planet Report 2008 says it takes 7.8 hectares to maintain the lifestyle of each Australian, up 16% from the last report two years ago. Globally, the report compares the disaster awaiting the planet to the global financial crisis, saying it is heading for an “ecological credit crunch”.


Hetero sex a big HIV risk

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Adam Cresswell; 6/8/08

Straight couples are much more likely to transmit HIV during sex than most people realise, with new research showing the true risk may be hundreds of times higher than official guidelines suggest. Doctors and patients are told that on average only one heterosexual transmission of the AIDS virus would be expected for every 1000 sexual contacts, assuming one partner was HIV-positive and the other negative. But US researchers have told a world meeting of HIV experts in Mexico that the true figure could be as high as one transmission for every 10 instances of vaginal sex.


Children ‘left out’ of Asia’s boom

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008


The widening gap between rich and poor in Asia’s booming economies is leaving many mothers and children behind and putting children’s lives at risk, according to a new UN report. The UN’s report on the state of Asia’s Pacific’s children, released on Tuesday, highlighted growing concerns that children in India and China continue to suffer despite their countries’ economic gains. “The divide between rich and poor is rising at a troubling rate within sub-regions of Asia Pacific, leaving vast numbers of mothers and children at risk,” the report from Unicef, the UN children’s agency, said.


Executions on the rise in Iran, S. Arabia – rights group

Friday, July 25th, 2008


Executions jumped by a third in Iran and quadrupled in Saudi Arabia last year, causing the total number of executions around the world to rise yet again in 2007, a human rights group reported Thursday. It said China remained far in front as the world’s top executioner. The Rome-based Hands Off Cain, which campaigns to stop the death penalty, said that while countries were increasingly renouncing the death penalty, more people were put to death in 2007 than in either of the previous two years. In all, the number of executions increased last year to at least 5,851, compared with 5,635 in 2006 and 5,494 in 2005, the group said in its annual report. The gradual trend of abolishing capital punishment continued, with 49 countries retaining the death penalty, compared with 51 in 2006 and 54 in 2005. Only 26 countries that have capital punishment on their books actually used it in 2007, down from 28 in 2006, the report said. China alone accounted for at least 5,000 executions, the rights group estimated, based on reports by the media and other human rights groups. The exact number of executions in China remains a state secret. This was the same estimate the group gave for China last year.


Timor sleuth names torture officers

Sunday, July 13th, 2008

Lindsay Murdoch; 12/7/08

An Australian investigator has named Indonesian military officers responsible for crimes against humanity committed in East Timor in 1999, including acts of torture in which victims were forced to eat their own ears. David Savage delivered a key report to the Indonesia-East Timor Truth and Friendship Commission that was scathing of Indonesian authorities who have for years denied responsibility for violence that left at least 1400 Timorese dead. Mr Savage says in the report, which has been obtained by The Age, that there was “an explicit policy by the Government of Indonesia, at least the military branch”, to use and support militia groups to intimidate, coerce and even kill civilians in favour of rejecting Indonesia’s rule at a UN-supervised referendum.


HRW report dismissed as one-sided

Thursday, July 10th, 2008


The head of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (RCCI) Recruitment Committee, Waleed Al-Soweidan, has criticized a report by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the ill treatment of housemaids in the Kingdom, saying the report is based on only “a few cases in which domestic helpers have suffered.” In its 133-page report, entitled “If I Am Not Human: Abuses Against Asian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia,” released yesterday, the HRW called for sweeping labor and justice reforms and for stricter punishment for sponsors who abuse workers. “Saudi families are abusing female migrant workers to the point of slavery and Riyadh needs to respond with sweeping labor and justice reforms,” the report stated. “There are more than a million domestic helpers, including maids, in the Kingdom and it is natural that there will be some problems and disputes here and there,” said Al-Soweidan.


The politics of human trafficking

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Joseph A. Kechichian; 26/6/08

…The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices preceded these publications, going back to the early 1970s, when President Jimmy Carter elevated human rights concerns to the policy level.  In all of these reports, including the ones that displayed blatant misinformation, an effort was made to let facts speak for themselves. Starting in the late 1990s, a slew of new areas of concern emerged, including religion – with the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom -and now human trafficking. The June 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report, a 295 pages document available at, is in its eight edition and seeks to address a deadly serious issue. Human trafficking means the actual trade in persons, which is akin to modern-day slavery, as its victims are clearly forced into labour or sexual exploitation. The detailed report estimates that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 individuals are made to involuntarily cross national borders to satisfy criminal gangs each year.To be sure, trafficking in people is wrong, and using physical force is neither pleasant nor victimless. Whenever someone is enslaved – readers are encouraged to consult the original to better understand heart-breaking cases – we all lose part of our humanity.


Warming threat to krill, whales – WWF

Friday, June 20th, 2008


Antarctic whales are threatened by shrinking foraging zones and the need to swim hundreds of kilometres further to find food because of climate change, a WWF report says. Species such as the minke whale, favoured by Japanese hunters, face dramatic changes to their habitat in little over an individual whale’s lifespan, the report says. The report, Ice breaker: Pushing the Boundaries for Whales, has been released just ahead of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Chile next week. It summarises WWF research showing levels of global warming predicted over the next 40 years will lead to winter sea-ice coverage of the Southern Ocean declining by up to 30 per cent in some key areas.


USA leads the world on prisoner numbers

Monday, June 9th, 2008


The US has 2.3 million people behind bars, more than any other country and more than ever before in its history, Human Rights Watch says. This means an incarceration rate of 762 per 100,000 residents, compared with 152 per 100,000 in Britain, 108 in Canada, and 91 in France, the organisation said in a statement commenting on Justice Department figures released yesterday. The figures show a sharp racial imbalance in the US prison population, with blacks outnumbering whites by six to one. Nearly 11% of black men aged 30-34 are in prison, according to Justice Department figures. Human Rights Watch said blacks were 12 times more likely to be jailed for drug-related crimes than whites, though drug use was about the same in the two races. “Although whites, being more numerous, constitute the large majority of drug users, blacks constitute 54% of all persons entering prisons with a new drug offence conviction,” it said.

Australia earns Amnesty’s ire in human rights report

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Dewi Cooke; 29/5/08

The Federal Government’s intervention in indigenous communities has earned Australia scorn in this year’s Amnesty International global human rights report. The intervention occurred “without adequate consultation” and resulted in a lack of control by indigenous people over their own lands, the report found. “The fact that the Racial Discrimination Act was suspended with respect to the intervention is of particular concern to us, it’s a breach of international law,” Amnesty campaigns manager Andrew Beswick said. Detailing the human rights performances of 150 countries, the report criticised a Queensland court for “inappropriately” bringing matters of consent into the rape trial of a 10-year-old Aboriginal girl after a prosecutor characterised the incident as “childish experimentation”. Nine males charged with the rape were later given non-custodial sentences.


Peacekeepers still preying on children

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Mike Pflanz; 28/5/08

Sexual abuse of children as young as six by aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers has continued unchecked despite repeated promises to stamp it out, according to a 12-month investigation published yesterday. The study by charity Save the Children UK said there were significant levels of abuse in emergencies, much of it unreported. Unless the silence ended, attempts to stamp out exploitation would “remain fundamentally flawed”. The UN is investigating claims against its soldiers in hotspots such as Haiti, Liberia, Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo. But the report said official UN statistics appeared to underestimate the scale of abuse, probably because so much went unreported.


ASIS spies ‘illegal but needed’

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Cameron Stewart; 28/5/08

Australian governments would have to embrace “illegal”, “deceptive” and “underhanded” espionage overseas in order to protect the national interest, according to the top-secret reports of the Hope Royal Commission. The reports, released in full yesterday under the 30-year rule, contained blunt calls for more aggressive espionage overseas, warning that failure to do so could compromise vital Australian political, military and economic interests in the region. The reports show that despite Justice Robert Hope’s damning findings on the domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, he was upbeat about the potential of the two foreign spy agencies, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the eavesdropping agency Defence Signals Directorate. The previously unreleased report relating to ASIS found Australian governments needed to accept that foreign espionage had become vital to the national interest.


Divorce and the psychological fallout

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

Bonnie Miller Rubin; 10/5/08

The effect of marriage breakdown on children may not be as harmful as once thought. For years, social scientists have believed that children of divorce have had more behaviour problems than those growing up in two-parent homes. But research suggests the impact may not be as damaging as believed. Instead of comparing these youngsters with those from intact families — the usual methodology — a more accurate assessment would be to evaluate them before and after the marital dissolution, says Alan Li, of policy think tank RAND Corp.


Booze blitz: alcopop tax lifted by 70%

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Josh Gordon & Dan Harrison; 27/4/08

Federal taxes on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks were increased without warning at midnight last night by 70% under a Rudd Government plan to fund a new preventive health program and tackle binge-drinking among teenagers, particularly girls. The tax hike — the first for the Labor Government — is expected to raise more than $2 billion in extra revenue over the next four years. A senior Government source last night confirmed that part of the windfall would be used to fund Australia’s largest ever investment in preventive health, focusing on alcohol, smoking, diet and exercise.


Displaced people highest in a decade

Friday, April 18th, 2008


Armed conflicts and violence displaced more than 26 million people within their own countries in 2007, the highest number in more than a decade, an international monitoring body says. And while there is growing international attention to the plight, there has been no breakthrough in reducing their numbers or improving their situation, said specialists from the Norwegian Refugee Council. The council’s internal displacement monitoring centre estimated that the number of such displaced people reached 24.5 million in 2006. But that figure continued to grow in 2007. Last year, the number of displaced people rose sharply in Iraq where there were almost 2.5 million victims by year-end, as well as Congo (1.4 million) and Somalia (1 million).


Pakistan police fail as ‘honour killings’ soar

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Bruce Loudon; 10/2/08

A staggering new statistic on the so-called honour killing of women and girls in Pakistan was revealed yesterday when the country’s top human rights body reported that at least 565 died last year — double the number killed the previous year. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in its annual report that the death toll could in fact be about 1000 — and it added that arrests had been made by investigators in only a derisory 128 cases.