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Tuesday June 12, 2018

Please help us continue the fight for social justice

High court building entranceAt the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) we work to remove barriers to justice and fairness for people facing disadvantage.
Through our end-of-financial year appeal, we are seeking your support to continue our vital strategic litigation work to lead change. 
In 2017, PIAC ran 176 public interest cases for 165 clients, including in the High Court. At the heart of every PIAC case is a person confronted by injustice. And through our casework we expose and challenge unfair laws, policies and practices and hold decision-makers to account, to achieve impact for the community.
You can support us by donating online or by calling (02) 8898 6500.
Regular donations make a significant difference and provide more certainty for our work. We would be particularly grateful if you would consider becoming a regular donor.
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‘In Poor Health’: report on health care in immigration detention out tomorrow
Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre fenceAsylum-seekers in Australia’s onshore detention centres are being denied access to the medical care and treatment they need.
PIAC’s report ‘In Poor Health’ will be released tomorrow. The report examines the standard of health care available to asylum-seekers in immigration detention and details the stories of some of the 24 asylum seekers retained by PIAC, as part of our Asylum Seeker Health Rights Project. There are approximately 1800 people currently in immigration detention across Australia.
The government owes a duty of care to people it detains. However, the legislation that governs our regime of detention does not include a right to reasonable medical care and treatment. This ‘legislative vacuum’ stands in stark contrast to the laws of Australian states and territories which ensure people in correctional custody have that right.
The report, which includes ten practical recommendations for change, will be available on PIAC’s website tomorrow.
Photo: Flickr - David Stanley
Sri Lanka conflict mapping project enters phase two
We are about to commence phase two of our Sri Lanka Conflict Mapping and Archive Project (CMAP).
Phase one of CMAP included a detailed review of more than 60 different sources that included information on alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Sri Lanka between 1983 and 2009. We logged close to 3,500 incidents at over 500 towns.
In February 2018, we met with stakeholders in Sri Lanka to share our work. We received overwhelming support from donors and official endorsement from the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms.
Phase two of CMAP will include more sources, identify the root sources of the information, and provide reflective overviews of the incidents. We will also be making the database accessible to transitional justice mechanisms. More…
Time for recognition: Uluru Statement from the Heart
PIAC and other staff in a group with the Uluru statement from the heartPowerful and profound, the Uluru Statement from the Hearth is the product of an unprecedented process, through which Indigenous Australians have come together to articulate their vision for how the Australian Constitution should now recognise them and how meaningful reconciliation can be achieved.
In our submission to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, PIAC recommends that any constitutional reform must be based on the Uluru Statement.
This includes taking concrete steps to hold a referendum on the proposed Voice to Parliament and establishing a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making between governments and First Nations and facilitate truth-telling about our history.
It is time for Parliament to seize this historic opportunity to help achieve substantive recognition, and through it, genuine reconciliation.
PIAC welcomes proposed NSW anti-violence Bill
On 5 June, the NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman introduced the Crimes Amendment (Publicly Threatening and Inciting Violence) Bill 2018. PIAC welcomes the Bill, which will strengthen prohibitions of incitement of violence against particular groups.
Importantly, this Bill will expand these protections to cover religious belief or affiliation, and intersex status, for the first time, as well as updating terminology around sexual orientation and gender identity, alongside the existing attributes of race and HIV/AIDS status. The maximum penalty for this new offence in the Crimes Act, which replaces offences for serious vilification under the Anti-Discrimination Act, will be increased to up to 3 years’ imprisonment.
However, if passed this Bill will also create significant discrepancies between who is protected under the Crimes Act and who can lodge a vilification complaint under the Anti-Discrimination Act, highlighting the need for comprehensive reforms to NSW’s out-dated anti-discrimination regime.
Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd
www.piac.asn.au - ABN 77 002 773 524

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Address postal inquiries to:
Public Interest Advocacy Centre
Level 5, 175 Liverpool St,
Sydney NSW 2000