By Georgina Pickers

NCWQ Human Rights State Adviser

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Victorian Rosie Batty was awarded Australian of the Year for her work and advocacy on behalf of families of victims of domestic violence, following the death of her son killed by her estranged husband. The emotional trauma suffered by the immediate families of victims is enormous by largely overlooked by society and the justice system.

Queenslander Hetty Johnston, tireless campaigner against sexual violence towards children was amongst several nominees for 2015 Australian of the Year award. According to Ms Johnston, some 59,000 children are sexually assaulted every year.

An electronic ‘app’ (application) is being developed. It will be especially targeted at young females with the aim to educate young women on their rights, emphasising that physical and emotional abuse and / or controlling behaviour is unacceptable in health relationships.

While the two Australians facing Indonesian justice have attracted wide media attention it is not the first time Australians have been executed for drug trafficking. Whilst drug smuggling is calculated, quite organised and motivated purely for monetary reward, most reasonable thinking people would say it is not in the same league as premeditated murder or mass killing. Over the years most countries have abolished capital punishment, with the United Nations, publically condemning the practice.

Currently it is noteworthy that a number of Asian countries, besides Indonesia, impose a death penalty for drug smuggling. As harsh as the penalty may be, most participants believe they will not be caught. One must therefore ask what kind of the deterrent does a death penalty really offer?

Terrorism reached Australian in the form of the Martin Place Lindt café siege with tragic results. Predictably security organisations including the Australian Federal Police called on the government to increase spending and resources for counter surveillance and other security measures.

Ransom demands and sickening treatment of hostages by Islamic State (ISAS) continue to shock the civilized world. Publicity, recruitment and propaganda by social media and news outlets must be prevented. Whilst many argue ‘freedom of the press’ is paramount, media and social networks have responsibility not to assist ISAS by the continuously showing video footage ‘glorifying’ their brutal activities.

If people convicted of crimes they are not allowed to ‘profit’ from publicity. Surely the same principle must apply to extremist organisations such as ISAS.

Queensland Police are expected to review their use of guns, after the shooting of 7 people since early 2014 (4 fatal). When it is illegal for the public to carry guns then it is not unreasonable for ‘the man in the street’ to ask why, given other tactics at hand, that the police resort to using this option so freely? The deadly finality is tragic especially when those killed apparently suffered mental illnesses.  The UN Human Rights charter incorporates principals for the protection of those with mental illness. These covenants must be given some weight when revising the approach to difficult situations such as these.

Adviser Report Human Rights February 2015

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