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May 30, 2011

University of Chicago\’s Mansueto Library suffers power outage

University of Chicago’s Mansueto Library suffers power outage

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Only emergency lights remained on. Ceiling lights, fluorescent lights at the reading tables, and staff computers at the circulation desk (hidden to the right) were shut down.

Incoming thunderstorms brought cloud cover to Chicago. The Mansueto Library is shown here in almost complete darkness.

The University of Chicago‘s Joe and Rika Mansueto Library was shut down by a power outage for a short time on Saturday, preventing library personnel from providing full services to its patrons.

The US$81 million library, which opened May 16, includes a 180-seat reading room under a 691-panel glass dome. Five stories underground, a system of five cranes retrieves books sorted into bins, carrying a maximum of about 3.5 million volumes. As of 3:50 p.m. CDT, the automated storage and retrieval system, along with staff computers at the circulation desk, were shut down, preventing patrons from retrieving materials stored underground.

The glass ceiling normally allows enough natural light to pass, but rain clouds in the area darkened the room. Patrons began to flip light switches in front of their seats, but to no avail, and a circulation clerk announced that there had been a power outage. Some patrons then moved to the adjacent Regenstein Library, which still had power. Power was still running along the corridor linking Mansueto and Regenstein Libraries, along with the nearby restrooms and Special Collections Research Center.

An electrician arrived at the building at around 3:50 p.m., and power had been restored by 5:45 p.m.



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Former Hungarian president Ferenc Mádl dies aged 80

Former Hungarian president Ferenc Mádl dies aged 80

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Monday, May 30, 2011

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Ferenc Mádl held the Presidential office for five years

Ferenc Mádl, President of Hungary from August 4, 2000 to August 5, 2005, died aged 80 on Sunday. During his time in office, Mádl became co-chairman of the World Justice Project and was recognized for his work in securing peace and solidarity in Europe.

Mádl studied law at Budapest‘s Eötvös Loránd University, graduating in 1955. He went on to work in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences before becoming head of its law department. After a career in law, Mádl entered politics, becoming a minister without portfolio in the first post-communist government. He later became Hungary’s Minister of Education, a post he held in 1993 and 1994.

During his time as president, Mádl oversaw three prime ministers: Peter Medgyessy, Ferenc Gyurcsany and current prime minister Viktor Orban.

Current Hungarian president Pal Schmitt paid tribute to Mádl upon learning of his death. A statement released by his office said, “Pal Schmitt learnt with deep sorrow of the former head of state’s death, and on this day personally expressed his condolences to [Mádl’s] family.” Prime Minister Orban commented on posted on his Facebook page, “We are shocked to hear the news. May he rest in peace!”



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Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza

Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza – Wikinews, the free news source

Egypt opens border crossing with Gaza

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Monday, May 30, 2011

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Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip on Saturday, allowing Palestinians unrestricted access out of the Strip for the first time since June 2007.

The opening of the crossing was one of the conditions of a peace agreement that Egypt and Palestinian political groups Hamas and Fatah agreed to last month. Under the new crossing rules, all Palestinian citizens except men between the ages of eighteen and forty will be able to pass through the border unrestricted, while men in that age range will have to possess a visa in order to enter Egypt. All people crossing the border are also required to have a Palestinian ID card. The crossing will be open daily except Fridays and holidays from 0900 to 2100 local time.

The last time there was an open crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was prior to June 2007, when Hamas gained control of Gaza, and Egypt and Israel closed their borders in response. Since then, only about 300 people have been allowed through the Egyptian border each day, usually those in need of medical facilities and students.

The crossing will allow only people through; no commercial traffic will be permitted and everyone who passes through will be searched.

Israel has raised concerns about the opening of the border, claiming that weapons will be smuggled through. The country’s vice prime minister, Silvan Shalom said that the opening of the border “is a dangerous development that could lead to weapons and al-Qaida smuggling in Gaza.”

A spokesperson from Hamas called the opening of the crossing “a courageous and responsible decision which falls in line with Palestinian and Egyptian public opinion.” He said that Hamas hopes “it is a step towards the complete lifting of the siege on Gaza.”

An Egyptian government spokesperson, Menha Bakhoum, said that the decision to open the crossing was made in order to “ease the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.”



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Brazilian surfer wins world championship in Pichilemu, Chile

Filed under: Pichilemu — admin @ 5:00 am

Brazilian surfer wins world championship in Pichilemu, Chile

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Pichilemu
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  • 1 April 2012: Roberto Córdova wins Concertación primary elections in Pichilemu, Chile
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  • 4 June 2011: Brazilian surfer wins world championship in Pichilemu, Chile
  • 28 May 2011: Paraguayan ambassador to Chile visits Pichilemu hacienda after ‘slavery’ controversy
Location of Pichilemu in the O’Higgins Region

Monday, May 30, 2011

Promotional poster of the world championship.
Image: Quiksilver.

Attendants to the Quiksilver ceremonial, looking forwards to the Punta de Lobos rocks.
Image: Diego Grez.

The fourteenth Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos Big Wave Invitational surf championship took place on Saturday in the Chilean city of Pichilemu, often called the “Capital of the Surf.” In this year’s competition, 24 surfers from countries such as South Africa, Peru, Chile, the United States, and Argentina participated in the championship, including Pichileminians Ramón Navarro and Cristian Merelló, and Hawaiian Köhl Christensen. The surfers competed for a US$20,000 prize.

Background

The Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos has been a tradition since 1998. Christensen won that championship, and has regularly participated in it since then, according to La Tercera. “If [the Chilean waves] weren’t that good, I wouldn’t come back. They’re powerful, that’s what makes of Chile a great place to train,” Christensen told La Tercera.

The competition was scheduled to take place sometime between April 1 and May 31; it was confirmed to take place on May 28 by Gary Linden, the Big Wave World Tour Contest Director. “We are excited to kick off the 2011 Big Wave World Tour with the third annual Quiksilver Ceremonial. […] It looks like patience is going to pay off as we are expecting surf in the 30 to 40 foot range with light winds and good lighting making for the perfect start to season,” Linden said.

“The Quiksilver Ceremonial is one of the world’s most anticipated big wave events, featuring some of the best waves and skilled surfers from around the globe,” Hawaiian media Aloha Update reported. Carlos Ferrer, marketing manager of Quiksilver Chile, said: “This championship has managed to put itself as one of the great dates of the worldwide surfing scene. It is of international class.”

Mayor of Pichilemu Roberto Córdova with the championship organizers on Thursday.
Image: Pichilemu city hall.

On Thursday, Mayor of Pichilemu Roberto Córdova reunited with organizers of the ceremonial, Carlos Ferrer, Gary Linden, and Ricardo Parot from Wetfly Productions, at the Pichilemu city hall. “The mayor reiterates his commitment to the community with these kinds of events in the low-season as they are great attractions that help support Pichilemu’s tourism industry,” city hall representatives said on its Facebook profile.

Many people visited Punta de Lobos on Friday, as the surfers were practicing. “There was great expectation in Punta de Lobos yesterday [on Friday],” La Tercera reported. “It has arrived the same amount of people coming a long holiday weekend to Pichilemu, but this time, only to see the championship,” director of surf magazine Glass.cl Rodrigo Farías told the newspaper. Farías also told La Tercera that during last year’s ceremonial there were waves eight-meters high, and “[Saturday]’s waves are expected to be more ordained.” He predicted that it would be “a bit cloudy, and there will be more time between one wave and another, so there could be more tubes, which will be much better visually.”

The championship

Video footage of the first stage of the semi finals of the Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos.
Image: Diego Grez.

The surfers dropped into the sea to begin the championship at 07:30 local time (11:30 UTC). It is estimated that least two thousand people from Chile and other countries attended the event throughout the day. A helicopter flew overhead at Punta de Lobos, recording and photographing the surfers and attendants. The attendants were given free fruit juice, fruits, as well as Red Bull drinks at the end of the day.

The 24 competing surfers were: Köhl Christensen, Carlos Burle, Marcos Monteiro, Peter Mel, Chris Bertish, Ramón Navarro, Diego Medina, Cristian Merello, Rusty Long, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Fernando Zegers, Reinaldo Ibarra, Greg Long, Gabriel Villarán, Jamie Sterling, Anthony Taschnick, Mark Healey, Kealii Mamala, Jaimie Mitchell, Danilo Couto, Sebastian de Romana, León Vicuña, and Matías López.

The Quiksilver Ceremonial Punta de Lobos was broadcasted live in HD quality for the first time in the championship’s history through its official website. The footage included underwater shots.

The championship lasted until 17:30 local time (21:30 UTC), and the results were as follows:


# Name Country Score
1 Marcos Monteiro Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil 21.17
2 Ramón Navarro Flag of Chile.svg Chile 19.32
3 Gabriel Villarán Flag of Peru.svg Peru 14.81
4 Köhl Christiensen Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg USA 2.00
5 Cristián Merelló Flag of Chile.svg Chile 0.00
5 Greg Long Flag of the United States (Pantone).svg USA 0.00

“Viva Brazil! Firstly I want to thank God, because everyone’s okay and nobody got injured. I also want to thank the residents of Pichilemu for giving us good vibes and to the jet-skis pilots, who worked hard all day. I knew this day was going to come,” Marcos Monteiro, the winning surfer said shortly after the championship ended during a press conference.

The Big World Tour’s next stop is Pico Alto, Peru, on July 1.

Photographs

It is estimated that at least two thousand people visited Pichilemu and Punta de Lobos to watch the Quiksilver championship. Image: Diego Grez.It is estimated that at least two thousand people visited Pichilemu and Punta de Lobos to watch the Quiksilver championship.
Image: Diego Grez.

People arriving at Punta de Lobos to watch the championship. Image: Diego Grez.People arriving at Punta de Lobos to watch the championship.
Image: Diego Grez.

There were several rescuers at sea. Image: Diego Grez.There were several rescuers at sea.
Image: Diego Grez.
Partial view of the Punta de Lobos beach. Image: Diego Grez.Partial view of the Punta de Lobos beach.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Billowing flags of several countries, representing the competing surfers. Image: Diego Grez.Billowing flags of several countries, representing the competing surfers.
Image: Diego Grez.
There was a skate ramp, where local skaters could play. In the picture, from left to right, local skaters Demetrio Vidueira, Matías Herman, and Jacob Soto. Image: Diego Grez.There was a skate ramp, where local skaters could play. In the picture, from left to right, local skaters Demetrio Vidueira, Matías Herman, and Jacob Soto.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.
Image: Diego Grez.



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Blatter set to be re-elected as FIFA suspends two senior officials

Blatter set to be re-elected as FIFA suspends two senior officials

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Monday, May 30, 2011

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Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, has been cleared of any wrongdoing as two senior officials have been suspended.
Image: Agência Brasil.

FIFA has suspended two of its senior officials amid allegations that they bribed voters ahead of the organization’s presidential election, while Sepp Blatter has been cleared of ignoring these activities and is now set to be re-elected as FIFA chairman on Wednesday.

Mohamed bin Hammam, head of the Asian confederation, and Jack Warner, head of the Caribbean and North American (CONCACAF) federation, were both suspended from any involvement with association football pending an investigation into the alleged bribery.

“Both bin Hammam and Warner were provisionally banned from future activity in football while a full investigation is carried out,” announced Petrus Damaseb, chairman of the FIFA ethics committee. “There, they can confront their accusers.”

At a recent FIFA meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11, the committee heard that both bin Hammam and Warner were accused of offering US$40,000 in cash gifts to other national associations in return for their votes in the presidential election.

Blatter was also summoned to the ethics committee following allegations that Warner told him in advance about the payments. The committee later accepted Blatter’s testimony and cleared him of wrongdoing.

This decision clears the way for Blatter to be run unopposed for re-elections as FIFA president on Wednesday.



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May 29, 2011

Fiat plans to buy majority stake in Chrysler

Fiat plans to buy majority stake in Chrysler

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

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Fiat announced on Friday that it intends to purchase the six percent of automaker Chrysler that the US government currently owns, which would give the Italian company a 52 percent majority stake in Chrysler.

According to Fiat’s announcement, the company has told the US Treasury that it intends to use its option to buy the share in Chrysler held by the US government, a deal that will be finalized by June 10. If a price is not agreed on by that time, Fiat will pay the average of the estimates of two investment banks.

In 2009, Fiat bought a twenty percent stake in Chrysler, which had just exited bankruptcy, and has since increased its holding to 46 percent, expected to increase to 57% by the end of this year.

According to analyst Maryann Keller, the deal is a good one for both companies, as “[n]either one has the ability to compete alone in the kind of global environment that they face.” Analyst Rebecca Lindland said that the move will also benefit the companies by getting “them out from underneath any hint of government ownership and any of that negativity that went along with the bailout.”


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May 28, 2011

US military to withdraw military trainers from Pakistan

US military to withdraw military trainers from Pakistan

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani

The United States military plans to begin to withdraw military training troops from Pakistan after the Pakistani government requested the departure of the troops.

Pentagon spokesperson David Lapan said that official sources from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad requested a scaling down of the American training force, which is estimated to be composed of between 120 and 300 troops, on Wednesday.

“We were recently notified in writing that the government of Pakistan wished for the US to reduce its footprint in Pakistan. Accordingly, we have begun those reductions.”

The majority of the US presence in question is comprised of Special Forces troops, who train, prepare and give advice to Pakistani soldiers as part of a wider effort to counter Islamist fighter and terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda. Mr. Lapan did not specify exactly how many troops would be leaving, though unnamed military sources have said that the total force will number around 50 after the reduction.

The impending withdrawal of troops highlights the tensions between the US and Pakistan in the wake of the American raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad home, resulting in the death of America’s most wanted terrorist. Prior to this announcement, concerns within Pakistan have been raised about whether the attack violated Pakistan’s sovereignty, and some lawmakers have called for a review of Pakistani–US relations.

In the days following the raid Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that any comparable raids in Pakistan in the future would lead to a re-evaluation of the nation’s military and political collaboration with the US. He also told his commanders of the desire to have the numbers of American troops in Pakistan be brought down to “the minimum level.”



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Ratko Mladić arrested for war crimes

Ratko Mladić arrested for war crimes – Wikinews, the free news source

Ratko Mladić arrested for war crimes

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Politics and conflicts
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Ratko Mladić in 1993
Image: Evstafiev Mikhail.

Ratko Mladić, otherwise known as “The Butcher of Bosnia,” has been arrested after being sought for over a decade. The 69-year-old former Serbian general and war crimes suspect was arrested on May 26 by Serbian special police in Lazarevo, Serbia. Mladić was accused of war crimes shortly after the 1992–1995 Bosnian War. He was wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity, including the orchestration of a massacre of over 8000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica.

The arrest has prompted protests from Serbian nationalists, who herald Mladić as a national hero and patriot. However, the international reaction to Mladić’s capture is more positive. French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Serbia’s actions, saying it is another step for Serbia on the path to joining the European Union. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt gave similar praise, saying that the Serbia’s prospects of joining the EU are “brighter than ever.”

Serbia’s war crimes court ruled that Mladić is fit for trial, despite claims from family and supporters to the contrary. Ratko Mladić’s son Darko claims that his father is too weak to face extradition to The Hague for trial. Mladić could face extradition within a matter of days.



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Paraguayan ambassador to Chile visits Pichilemu hacienda after \’slavery\’ controversy

Filed under: Chile — admin @ 5:00 am

Paraguayan ambassador to Chile visits Pichilemu hacienda after ‘slavery’ controversy

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Barracks on the San Antonio de Petrel farm in Pichilemu.
Image: Diego Grez.

Paraguayan Ambassador to Chile Terumi Matsuo visited Pichilemu as a denouncement of trafficking of persons from Paraguay in the Pichileminian hacienda of San Antonio de Petrel, currently property of politician Francisco Javier Errázuriz Talavera, prompted an investigation. The investigation is being conducted by the Government of Cardenal Caro Province, and the Immigration Department of the Investigations Police of Chile (PDI). Errázuriz Talavera is also known by its nickname, Fra Fra.

Paraguayan media was the first to report that a ‘slavery regime’ was taking place in the former presidential candidate’s hacienda, after former workers ‘managed to escape’ from there. According to Pichilemu News, it was reported that the workers “were only given one meal daily, and salty water,” and “[Errázuriz] had promised to give them 750US$, about 350,000 Chilean pesos as salary.” Pichilemu News also reported that at least 150 persons were victims of the ‘slavery regime’, as it has been called by the Paraguayan media.

Matsuo arrived at Pichilemu at 11:00 local time (15:00 UTC) on Saturday, and after reuniting with the governor of Cardenal Caro Julio Ibarra Maldonado, both went to the Cabañas Santa Irene, where the affected Paraguayans were staying. According to Jorge Nasser’s Radio Entre Olas, the ambassador “invited the workers to the [Pichilemu] municipal gymnasium for a meeting, in order to coordinate the actions to get them back to their country of origin or, as some have preferred, to stay in Chile.”

Evelyn Matthei in 2009.

“Nothing surprises me of Mr. Errázuriz, I think the whole country is tired of him too. This man believes he’s the owner of Chile, [he’s just the] owner of a farm, I think it’s not worth it to respond him. But I assure you we are going to fiscalize everything that needs to be fiscalized,” Minister of Labor and Social Providence Evelyn Matthei told Radio Universo on Tuesday. According to Matthei, “six Paraguayans and one Brazilian” were found at the Petrel hacienda, “working without a contract and without proof of payment.” “It’s totally and absolutely unacceptable to bring undocumented workers [here], to have them working without a contract and to not know if they have been paid or not. We aren’t going to accept that,” Matthei added.

Photograph taken near the entrance to Pichilemu, looking forwards to San Antonio de Petrel vineyards, on April 16, 2011.
Image: Diego Grez.

In response to actions taken by the Chilean government, Francisco Javier Errázuriz wrote an open letter on Tuesday which he sent to several media outlets in Chile, titled “A la ministra Evelyn Matthei y a los chilenos” (“To Minister Evelyn Matthei and the Chileans”). “Matthei argues that the Ministry of Interior has denied that I knew the income situation of the Paraguayans, in circumstances that I have stamped letters from that ministry [which would demonstrate] they always helped to facilitate the arrival of those citizens from a sister nation, which then would be hired and may assist in the development of Chile, [I was] even recommended that the Ministry of Interior would give them the MERCOSUR visa, because it’s quicker, and [they] instructed that way the Governor of Pichilemu [sic],” Errázuriz said in the letter. Errázuriz also accused Matthei of being racist towards immigrants: “The Labor Minister does not want immigrants to work in Chile to strengthen our motherland. [She] demonstrates with that that her roots aren’t found here —but in the origin country of her family—, which isn’t Chile, and that she as descendant of German immigrants, the ‘jus sanguinis‘ prevails over the ‘jus soli‘.”

The Labor Department fined more than 14,000,000CLP (30,002 USD) to the company of Francisco Javier Errázuriz, Frutales y Viñedos Errázuriz Ovalle, on Thursday. María Cecilia Sánchez, Director of Labor, said “the situation is being investigated by the Prosecution Office [Fiscalía],” and that “26 persons who were working at Errázuriz’s company were brought back to their origin countries [Brazil and Paraguay], and other 46 are staying at cabañas in Pichilemu.” Sánchez added that “[an investigation] needs to be consolidated on what happens in another Francisco Javier Errázuriz’s company, Bosques de la Costa S.A.”

On Friday, Minister Matthei reunited with Paraguayan Ambassador Matsuo, “who thanked the government efforts to clarify the laboral abuses,” El Mercurio reported. “This is a laboral case that ashames us as a country. It really ashames that something like this occurs in Chile,” Matthei said. “This is one of the worst things I have seen and what actually happens is that it ashames,” she added. Matthei also said Francisco Javier Errázuriz would not be paying anything to the Paraguayans because “they have to pay him firstly, because he brought them [to Chile], and according to himself he trained them.”



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May 27, 2011

UN accuses Australia of \’demonising asylum seekers\’

Filed under: Archived,Australia,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

UN accuses Australia of ‘demonising asylum seekers’

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Friday, May 27, 2011

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File photo of Navi Pillay in 2009
Image: Antônio Cruz (Agência Brasil).

The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner has questioned Australia’s tough asylum seeker policies this week, stating that Australia’s mandatory detention regime has “cast a shadow” over its human rights record. Navi Pillay, the UN’s Human Rights watchdog, was particularly critical of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s asylum seeker trade deal with Malaysia.

This bilateral agreement, if signed, would see 800 refugees attempting to get to Australia by boat immediately transported to Malaysia instead. In return, Australia would take 4,000 genuine refugees from Malaysia over a space of four years. However, Malaysia has not signed either the international Refugee Convention, or the Convention Against Torture. In an interview with the ABC, Ms Pillay voiced concern over this, stating that Australia may “violate refugee law” by sending asylum seekers to a country where no laws are in place to protect them.

Pillay, a South African former anti-apartheid protester, also voiced distress over the omnipresence of political “demonising” of these asylum seekers stating, “[t]he consequence of the constant political refrain that Australia is being ‘flooded’ by people who are ‘queue jumpers’ has resulted in a stigmatisation of an entire group of people, irrespective of where they have come from or what dangers they have fled”.

In her six-day trip to Australia, the UN Human Rights Commissioner visited two detention centres and said she was overwhelmed with the “grim despondency” of asylum seekers, many of whom wait over 18 months to have their case assessed.

The mistreatment of refugees was today reinforced with the release of an Australian Rights Commission report, which revealed extensive problems of self-harm and depression among detainees at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney.



Sources

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