Bangladesh has released a commemorative stamp to honour Professor Muhammad Yunus’ Nobel Prize win.
The stamp featuring the inaugural 1998 Sydney Peace Prize winner was launched by Bangladesh’s Chief Adviser Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed last Wednesday.
Click here to listen to an ABC Melbourne interview with 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Dr Hans Blix, together with former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who now heads the International Crisis Group.
Blix was in Melbourne to attend the United Nations Association of Australia National Conference.
Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will call for new elections after Hamas took over Gaza.
Elections in Palestinian territories are not due till 2010.
Independent Palestinian lawmaker and 2003 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Dr Hanan Ashrawi supports the idea of elections. In an interview with bitterlemons.org, an online forum with both Palestinian and Israeli views on various issues, Ashrawi said:
“I think elections are an absolutely necessary instrument of democracy and therefore the only way to settle disputes and allow the public to elect representatives and hold their representatives accountable. Elections are an essential tool for the creation of a responsible system of good governance.”
Click here to read the full interview.
Amnesty International’s Secretary General Irene Khan said that the international human rights group will neither endorse nor disapprove of its policy which supports abortion for women subject to sexual violence, rape or incest.
Khan, the 2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, said the policy was inspired by rapes in war zones, Reuters reported. Khan also urged governments to provide safe abortions for women who got preganant as a result of rape, incest or when her life is threatened.
The Roman Catholic Church has urged Amnesty to reverse its decision, threatening to withdraw all support for the group.
Khan said Amnesty’s policy was consistent with the group’s long-standing campaign against violence towards women. She added that the policy “doesn’t mean that we are in favour of abortion as a right”.
“A policy has been made … that Amnesty should support women to be able to make the decision to terminate pregnancy without fear of violence in these limited cases of sexual violence or where the life of the mother or her health is very seriously threatened,” Reuters quoted Khan as saying.
Separately, the Sydney Peace Prize recipient has also called on the Mexican government to investigate suspected torture and abductions by state officials that took place in the Mexican city of Oaxaca last year.
Former Australia Governor General and 2001 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Sir William Deane has expressed concern over the number of homeless people who could be excluded from this year’s federal election.
The Age reported that up to 60,000 homeless people across Australia could be affected.
Sir William said this state of affairs is “deeply disturbing” because “in a true democracy such as ours, the views of the electorate are important in framing both political views and policies. If most of the people directly affected by homelessness in our country … do not participate in the political process, the needs and interests of the homeless are less likely to carry the weight that they should.”
He added that disenfranchisement exacerbates the isolation of the people “and a further cause of the lack of self-esteem”.
Hanover Welfare Services chief executive Tony Keenan there was no legal obstacle for the homeless to vote. He added that the homeless vote rate could be improved with initiatives such as having polling booths in crisis housing centres to ensure that those enrolled to vote will be able to cast their ballot.
A recent Amnesty International study revealed that women who oppose Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe are suffering increasing violence and repression.
“The Zimbabwean government needs to address the underlying economic and social problems that are motivating women to protest — rather than attacking them and criminalising their legitimate activities in defence of human rights,” said 2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Irene Khan. Khan is the Secretary General of Amnesty International.
Khan called on African leaders to increase their pressure on Mugabe to “immediately stop the intimidation, ill-treatment, torture and harassment of critics of government policies”.
Click here to see the full report – Zimbabwe: Between a rock and a hard place – women human rights defenders at risk.