28 February 2013


The recent One Billion Rising global activist movement to end violence against women and girls brought together hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries to call for change.

The global reach of the campaign through the media was counted in the billions. The demonstrations and actions highlighted the horrifying fact that one in three women on the planet (approximately one billion) will experience gender violence during their lifetime.

The event, the culmination of a year's mobilisation that began on 14 February 2012 (Valentine's Day), is the largest day of mass action ever to stop violence against women and girls.

Protesters gathered to express their outrage, and to strike, dance and rise to support an end to gender violence once and for all.

"A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women," is also the theme for the 2013 UN International Women's Day which is celebrated on March 8th each year.


In September 2000, 188 member states of the United Nations signed on to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of eight targets which aim to halve world poverty by 2015.

The MDG's have featured regularly in this bulletin and many readers have participated in a variety of actions to ensure nations honoured their commitments. The result is that considerable progress has been made. For example, since 1990, the world has:
- halved the number of people living below the extreme poverty line of US $1.25/day
- halved the proportion of people living without access to clean drinking water. On current rates of progress 92% of the world’s population will have access to clean drinking water by 2015.
- reduced the number of children dying before their fifth birthday from 12 million a year down to approximately 7 million a year (which equates to 14,000 fewer children dying each day compared to 20 years ago.)
- reduced the number of women dying worldwide each year in pregnancy/childbirth from 543,000 women to 287,000 women – almost half.    
Visit the Micah Challenge website  for a summary of progress to date.

- 287,000 women still die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth,
- 6.9 million children each year still do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday and
- 2.5 billion people still live without access to adequate sanitation.
Micah Challenge  is calling for a renewed effort to ensure the global community finishes what it started.

Visit the Micah challenge website to learn more about what action you can take to Finish the Race


Amid further reports of a lack of proper facilities, unrest and acts of self-harm, including some involving children as young as nine or ten years of age, refugee advocates and international organisations have been banned from visiting the remote Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea.

The full story can be read at the Chilout website

The most recent set of statistics released by the Australian government reveals that there are currently 1221 children locked in Australia's immigration detention facilities, hundreds are believed to be unaccompanied.

Australia is the only Refugee Convention signatory nation to have a policy of indefinite detention for asylum seekers, no matter what their age.

International research has found that even short-term detention is harmful for a child’s mental and physical health and cognitive development. Children in detention are often denied adequate medical care and proper access to education, have limited opportunities to play, and witness their parents treated without dignity. Detention violates their human rights and increases their risk of sexual and physical abuse.

In 2012 Edmund Rice International submitted a report on Australia's treatment of asylum seekers as part of the review of Australia carried out by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. In its concluding observations the Committee again expressed its deep concern at the he mandatory detention of children in an irregular migration situation without time limits and judicial review, the failure to prioritise the principle of 'the best interest of the child' in asylum and refugee considerations and the conflict of interest where the legal guardianship of unaccompanied minors is vested with the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship who is also responsible for immigration detention and determinations of refugee and visa applications.

Australian Young Christian Students (YCS) are calling on the Prime Minister and Australian Parliament to uphold rights of Child Convention and end the detention of children.  With the recent amendments to the Migration Act, the wellbeing of these children is set to get even worse. The Parliament has not ensured that a guardian for the children will be sent offshore, so there is no-one who can advocate for their needs. No legal safeguards have been put in place to ensure their safety. To support YCS in their call for the rights of vulnerable children and young people, visit the petition website 


There currently more than 1,000,000 holders of temporary visas residing in Australia.

At the recently concluded Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) conference, the vulnerability of these visa holders was highlighted with many of them reportedly becoming captive and compliant labour for unscrupulous employers.

According to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)  reports of widespread skill shortages in Australia are a myth and the de-regulation of the labour market in recent years has resulted in many employers taking advantage to create an exploitable workforce and with the aim of reducing the current wages and conditions of Australian workers.

Whilst the news that the issuing of visas will be tightened, more steps taken to make sure imported workers are paid at market rates, and authorities will have more powers against employers who routinely abuse the visa system was welcomed as an important start for reforming the current system, the CFMEU is continuing to campaign to protect the wages and conditions of its members, ensure employment opportunities for Australians and end the exploitation of poor overseas workers.

On a more positive note, the Conference heard case studies of young Australian women forced into marriage in their parents’ home countries, but was told that new Australian legislation will criminalise forced marriage and empower the young women threatened with this situation.

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