The dignity of the human person, created in the likeness of God, is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching. In practice we see that the dignity and rights of many people in Australia and around the world are violated or disrespected. We are challenged to work for societies in which human rights are respected, protected and promoted.
Unfinished business in the Timor Sea
The 15th anniversary, marked recently, of East Timor's historic vote for independence, highlights Australia's unfinished business in the Timor Sea and Timor's ongoing struggle to become a true sovereign nation - complete with sea boundaries.
Women in Timor-Leste
The Alola Foundation was established in 2001 by Kirsty Sword Gusmao, the former First Lady of Timor-Leste. The initial focus of the Alola Foundation was to raise awareness and campaign against sexual and gender-based violence in Timor-Leste. The Foundation has grown to include a wider range of programs that assist the women and children of Timor-Leste - programs such as advocacy, economic empowerment, education and literacy, and maternal and child health.
How the UN works with T-L women
A video from United Nations Women presents stories on how the organisation has supported women in Timor-Leste to rebuild themselves and work toward participation in peacebuilding in their country.
Watch the video here
Jesuit scholastics in Timor-Leste
Young Jesuits in Timor-Leste are helping to build this new nation through education.
Zamboanga siege: rebuilding communities
A year after a battle in the southern Philippines city of Zamboanga left 140 dead and more than 120,000 people displaced, 50,000 of those are still without homes. The fighting lasted three weeks and completely destroyed more than 10,000 homes.
Watch the video here
Yazidi plight continues while world looks on
The international spotlight has moved away from the plight of the Yazidis – many of whom remain stranded in Iraqi Kurdistan with little or no aid.
Who are the Yazidi?
It was the harrowing story of the Yazidi retreat up Mt Sinjar that helped galvanise world opinion for the new intervention in Iraq which Australia has joined. But who are the Yazidi people?
Asia's basic freedoms fall short
There is a general lacuna in legal and institutional protection for freedom of assembly and expression in many Asian countries with most emphasising restrictions rather than the promotion of freedoms, writes Renato Mabunga from Manila.
Ignatian network promotes ethical consumption and investment
Australians need to educate themselves about the full cost of technology and resources - particularly in relation to disadvantaged communities, says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.
College seeks to end corporal punishment in Timor-Leste
A young teacher blames Timor-Leste’s violent past for brutality towards children saying that teaching is about how to best deal with students from families raised in the shadow of Timor-Leste's violent past as well as the transfer of knowledge.
Thai junta told to probe alleged torture
Thai authorities should immediately and impartially investigate the alleged torture of an opposition activist in military custody, Human Rights Watch said. ‘Red Shirt’ activist Kritsuda Khunasen, 27, was secretly detained without charge at an unidentified military camp for four weeks in June 2014.
Insurgents disrupt medical services
Insurgent forces in eastern Ukraine have threatened medical staff, stolen and destroyed medical equipment and hospital furniture, and compromised the ability of civilian patients to receive treatment, Human Rights Watch said.
A foreign surgeon looks back on a tumultuous time in Gaza
Norwegian emergency surgeon Dr Mads Gilbert 'The heart of the Earth beats in Gaza now. It bleeds, but it beats.'
In South Sudan they do everything with tears
Gumbo, a small hamlet just west across the Nile River from the capital of Juba, is emblematic of some of South Sudan's considerable challenges and seemingly intractable problems following months of violence that have resulted in thousands dead, hundreds of thousands - perhaps as many as 1 million - displaced and uprooted, and a political crisis that seems to be getting worse, not better.
Rwanda: Justice after genocide 20 years on
On the 20th anniversary of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Human Rights Watch stands in solidarity with the victims and with those who survived. The Rwandan genocide was exceptional in its brutality, in its speed, and in the meticulous organisation with which Hutu extremists set out to destroy the Tutsi minority.
Indonesian presidential candidate slammed over Timor-Leste abuses
A human rights group has criticised the presidential candidacy of a former Indonesian general who has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Timor Leste and several Indonesian provinces.
Prabowo Subianto commanded Indonesia's special forces from 1980 to 1998 and is said to have been the architect of the 1991 massacre at the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili.
Sri Lankan clergy appeal for UN enquiry into abuses amid Australian opposition
Diplomats preparing for the 25th United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva have expressed concern Australia is working to 'actively undermine' a push for an international inquiry into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, because of the government's eagerness to cooperate with that country's leaders on asylum seekers, according to media reports.
UN members criticise NZ’s human rights record
The United Nations Human Rights Council has found New Zealand human rights wanting with 155 recommendations for improvements. In its Universal Periodic Review released 4 February there were 25 recommendations relating to women’s rights including protection from violence and equal pay, 18 recommendations relating to inequality, particularly Maori, Pacific and minority communities, 16 recommendations relating to Treaty of Waitangi and indigenous peoples’ rights and 10 relating to asylum seekers and migrants.
EU/Indonesia timber agreement flawed
The new timber trade agreement between Indonesia and the European Union does not go far enough to curb illegal logging linked to rights abuses, Human Rights Watch says. The agreement requires Indonesian timber exported to the EU to carry a certificate showing it was harvested legally, but does not address whether harvesting the timber violated local community rights. Nor does it address corruption in the issuance of timber licenses, which robs Indonesia of billions of dollars in revenues annually.
Indonesian Sister plays mothers’ little helper
At a meeting of 50 mothers on the Indonesian island of Flores several years ago, Servants of the Holy Spirit Sister Eustochia Monika Nata asked the gathering if their husbands had ever hit them. ‘Only two mothers said never,’ she recalls.
The empowered independent Indian women
Thousands of women in the Delhi slums have resolved to help their families out of poverty. And they are succeeding...
The sexism the polls don't show
When the chapter on Julia Gillard is written in the history of Australian women, it will relate how the treatment our first woman PM exposed entrenched habits of sexism, writes Catriona Menzies-Pike in New Matilda.
Women for the Church
It is an interesting time to be a woman in the Church, Beth Doherty writes. 'It is a time for reflection and prayer, as always. It is a time for questioning - and some things are not always easy to understand or accept. However, more positively, it is a time where, at least in this country, women can make our voices heard in many ways.
Child sex abuse kept silent in India
India's focus on preventing sexual assault, after the gang rape and murder of a New Delhi student, should include stronger efforts to protect children from sexual abuse, according to a new report.
"When I got to the police station I was interrogated," said Krishna, who was raped when she was 12. "I was kept in the police station and was locked up. They kept insisting that I change my statement, otherwise they threatened that something would happen to me."
Peasants mark Manila massacre 25 years ago
Two decades after 13 protesters died in what has been dubbed a massacre in Manila, landless farmers still long for justice, reform and a piece of land to call their own.
Our century's greatest injustice
Sheryl WuDunn's book Half the Sky investigates the oppression of women globally. Her stories shock. Only when women in developing countries have equal access to education and economic opportunity will we be using all our human resources.
As a journalist reporting on China, Sheryl WuDunn saw the everyday oppression of women around the world. She and Nick Kristof wrote Half the Sky chronicling women's stories of horror and, especially, hope.
Unlock the talent, passion, greatness of girls
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell -- of her own life's transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?
Leymah Gbowee is a peace activist in Liberia. She led a women's movement that was pivotal in ending the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003, and now speaks on behalf of women and girls around the world.
Schools unite for justice
Leaders from Jesuit and partner schools in New South Wales and Victoria are developing joint initiatives to promote social justice in their communities.
International Women’s Day
International women’s day reminds us that, despite great strides for the position of women in ‘developed’ societies, women still comprise 70 percent of the world’s poor.
Fate of East Timor's stolen generation in Indonesia finally coming to light
They were East Timor's stolen generation. Between 1975 and 1999 about 4000 young and vulnerable Timorese were secretly taken to Indonesia where some of them were forced to work in slave-like conditions while others were educated and grew up with the families of soldiers.
South Africa’s failing maternity care
Human Rights Watch
Abeba M. became ill while pregnant and went to the hospital. The nurses swore at and insulted her. When she bled on the floor, they ordered her to clean it up. When she was in serious pain and called for help, a nurse said, ‘What do you want me to do?’
South Africa says the ratio of women dying from childbirth complications has more than quadrupled over the past decade. But according to a new report, it can reverse this trend by taking measures that include improving oversight and accountability for its public hospitals and health workers.
Educating Palestinians for the new world
What hope is there for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza? With the United States giving $2.7billion annually in aid to Israel, Bethlehem University's vice-chancellor Peter Bray asks why Israel would want to change. He told Peter Kirkwood for Eureka Street about why he has hope.
Church Positions on Human Rights Act
Frank Brennan SJ notes the different views of major churches on a Human Rights Act but argues that an Act could respect conscience and freedom of religion.
Human Rights Consultation Report
The National Human Rights Consultation's report is now available online.
"A just society can become a reality only when it is based on the respect of the transcendent dignity of the human person. The person represents the ultimate end of society, by which it is ordered to the person."
Pontifical Council for Justice & Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, n 132.
Stories And Reflections