This week’s human rights news

By André Dao
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5 January 2012

Record increase in number of women on company boards

Australia has recently set a record for the number of women joining big company boards. The Australian Institute of Company Directors has released statistics which show that women now make up 13.5 per cent of directors of companies listed on the Australian Security Exchange, a dramatic increase from the previous years’ 8.4 per cent. The increase comes after new Australian Securities Exchange diversity guidelines, which kick in this financial year and will force companies to disclose the number of women on staff, in senior management and on the board. It also follows Federal Government warnings that it would consider implementing gender quotas if corporate Australia did not improve diversity on boards.

Despite the welcome increase, female company directors still remain greatly outnumbered by their male counterparts. With this in mind, the Australian Institute of Company Directors is offering 34 scholarships to women on not-for-profit boards to complete their Company Director’s Course.

Death toll in Iraq estimated to be 162,000

A British NGO has reported that about 162,000 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of the US led invasion in 2003. It is estimated that 80% of the 162,000 were civilians, while the remainder included US soldiers, Iraqi security forces and insurgents. According to Iraq Body Count, the violence peaked in 2006, with 90% of the deaths having occured by 2009. However, it warned that there has been no downward trend in civilian deaths since 2009.

Changes to Indonesian visa restrictions could increase people smuggling activity

The head of immigration with Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Ministry has conceded that the relaxation of Indonesian visa restrictions on citizens from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan could increase people smuggling activity. It has been reported that Indonesia is the main transit point for asylum seekers heading to Australia.

This report was compiled using the sources attributed in hyperlinks listed throughout. Don’t forget to tune in to Right Now Radio each Thursday at 6 pm on 3CR 855 AM to hear more human rights news. You can also stream live at


Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.