Human rights don’t matter in our public debate, but they should — Simon Rice

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY SIMON RICE

JUNE 24 — Human rights is largely absent from public policy debate in Australia. Quite simply, human rights don’t matter when public leaders and commentators assess the merits of policy and laws. That is both remarkable and entirely understandable.

It is remarkable for two reasons. One is that human rights do matter in public debate in nearly every other country. The US is an exception – its “rights” discussion refers almost exclusively to its own arcane, idiosyncratic and irrelevant-to-Australia “Bill of Rights”. Elsewhere, public debate is informed by international human rights guarantees, translated into local law.

That leads to another reason why the absence of human rights in public debate in Australia is remarkable. Australia has signed up to those same human rights guarantees and it reports regularly to the United Nations on its compliance with its international obligations. So, Australia declares to the world its support for human rights, but it scarcely refers to the idea in its own affairs. Read more

Harmony and unity in our schools cannot be achieved by the curtailment of rights — Steven Thiru

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY STEVEN THIRU

President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru - Picture by MMO/Saw Siow Feng

President of the Malaysian Bar Steven Thiru – Picture by MMO/Saw Siow Feng

JUNE 25 — The Malaysian Bar refers to the report​[1]​ in MalaysiaKini dated June 23, 2015 that attributed the following statements to the Deputy Education Minister YB Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching: “Out of respect to our Muslim friends, we as non-Muslims should avoid eating or drinking in front of our Muslim friends. Non-Muslims need to be show [sic] some discretion on this matter during the fasting month.”

The statements were apparently made in response to the remark reportedly made by a teacher who told non-Muslim students not to drink water in the classroom and if they didn’t have water, they could drink from the taps in the toilet or their own urine instead. Read more

Group wants all forms of child exploitation an offence

Source: The Star Online

Perverted: The Penal Code has provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography but not those simply viewing it.

Perverted: The Penal Code has provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography but not those simply viewing it.

KUALA LUMPUR: While those caught having or promoting pornography, including child pornography, can be charged in court, those who view these streamed online get away scot free.

President of Voice of Children Sharmila Sekaran pointed out that the Penal Code had provisions to prosecute those who possessed or promoted child pornography, not for simply viewing it.

“If I view something on a site but don’t download it, I’m not going to be caught for porn possession,” she said.

Sharmila admitted that the pervert, if discovered, might spark heated discussions in the media but it would be “difficult to proffer a charge in court”.

This is one of the “technical” loopholes in the current Child Act that Sharmila is fighting to address. Read more