NATIVE TITLE WIN, EUTHANASIA POLICY & BOAT RESCUE DEAL: THE HUMAN RIGHTS WRAP UP

By Bec Devitt and Eva Csik
Aboriginal Flag Puzzle Piece

4 August 2012

Native Title win in Queensland

The Federal Court of Australia has recognised the Djungan people’s native title rights 17 years after the first claim was lodged.

Jim Archer lodged the first of four claims with his brothers in 1995. The Archers have lived on the land their whole lives. “We decided to stay there and prove our connection to land” Mr Archer said.

Yarrabah Mayor, Errol Neal, who is also a claimant said “we can start looking at the future … the hard work is ahead now, and we need to do it together”.

Tackling euthanasia policy

Scott Prasser, executive director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University and professor of public policy has spoken out about the serious need to tackle the Euthanasia policy issue. Mr Prasser acknowledges that euthanasia is a difficult issue to address because it falls into a group of policy problems that are “highly complex, difficult to understand, resistant to solving and have profound implications for the fundamental insitutions of society”.

Individual rights have to be balanced against society’s responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable, including the aged and dying.

Mr Prasser points out three basic requirements for dealing with complex policy problems such as euthanasia:

  • Time must be given for open public discussion in order to bring together different perspectives and create a shared understanding of the issue.
  • Reliable evidence and data collected so as to inform the debate
  • Multiple appropriate mechanisms should be set up for public engagement in informed debate.

Mr Prasser states that “complex policy problems defy simplistic and populist solutions and call for thorough and extensive public discussion and cool debate”.

Australia to make boat rescue deal with Indonesia

A new deal is to be signed between Australia and Indonesia allowing Australian patrol boats to rescue asylum seekers in Indonesian waters without local authority permission.

Even though Australian patrol boats have already been entering Indonesian waters to rescue asylum seekers, they have been doing so without rules protecting them.

Indonesia’s Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has said that Australian authorities “worry that our radar would be catching them, either the air defence system or the maritime radar”.

Acting prime minister Wayne Swan has not confirmed whether the deal is being discussed.

Tamil asylum seekers swim ashore

Four men swam ashore at Cocos Islands earlier this week from a boat carrying 67 Tamil asylum seekers.

Local resident Jack O’Donnell said one of the men spoke broken English and told him that the people on board were very exhausted and in need of food.

Mr O’Donnell had said that he alerted the police who spoke to the four men upon arrival.

The asylum seekers have been taken into custody and transferred to Christmas Island for health, security and identity checks.

Refugee status refused

More than half the asylum seekers released from detention and issued with bridging visas have been denied refugee status by the Immigration Department.

The number of asylum seekers living in the community is soon to exceed the number in detention.

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