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THERE ARE A number of avenues through which the ‘place’ of Indigenous people in Australia can be approached. One fundamental arena of struggle has been over land rights. The approach to rights taken here, however, starts from an account of suffering and sets out to trace the political roots of that suffering. One of the clearest forms of suffering to mark Aboriginal lives in Australia is entrenched and widespread ill-health. Thus, across the Indigenous community, the story is one of premature death, often from diseases associated with

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
The promotion of human rights in international politics

This book argues for greater openness in the ways we approach human rights and international rights promotion, and in so doing brings some new understanding to old debates. Starting with the realities of abuse rather than the liberal architecture of rights, it casts human rights as a language for probing the political dimensions of suffering. Seen in this context, the predominant Western models of right generate a substantial but also problematic and not always emancipatory array of practices. These models are far from answering the questions about the nature of political community that are raised by the systemic infliction of suffering. Rather than a simple message from ‘us’ to ‘them’, then, rights promotion is a long and difficult conversation about the relationship between political organisations and suffering. Three case studies are explored: the Tiananmen Square massacre, East Timor's violent modern history and the circumstances of indigenous Australians. The purpose of these discussions is not to elaborate on a new theory of rights, but to work towards rights practices that are more responsive to the spectrum of injury that we inflict and endure.

(AusAID) Office of Indigenous Women (ATSIC) Women and Sport Unit (ASC) Women’s Bureau (DEET) Affirmative Action Agency Work and Family Unit; Equal Pay Unit (DIR) Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Unit (HREOC) Rural Women’s Unit (DPIE) Women’s Policy Unit (DSS) Key: ABS — Australian Bureau of Statistics; ASC — Australian Sports Commission; ATSIC — Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission; AusAID — Australian Agency for International Development; DEET — Department of Employment, Education and Training; DHS&H — Department of Human Services and Health; DIR

in Mainstreaming gender, democratizing the state?

East Timor in the creation and perpetuation of a pattern of severe and embedded abuse. That failure to pay attention to concrete circumstances marked the ‘realism’ of the prevailing international attitudes on East Timor; to what extent might it also characterise the current liberal approaches? The third case study, which looks at the ‘place’ of Indigenous Australians within Australian political life, returns to a liberal rights focus – in this case not involving the language of international rights talk but rather concerning the ideals

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Open Access (free)

claims of rights. This dominant construction of human rights establishes a quite particular way of imagining and constituting both the individual person and the political community or relationship. In so doing, it also highlights a narrow, if significant, range of political injury. The attributes and aspirations of the highly abstracted conceptualisation of the individual subject produced by this approach become the yardstick for the universal, but it is a yardstick that for many people – Indigenous youths in Australian jails or low-caste women

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
Open Access (free)

This brief retelling, drawn from secondary sources and from sometimes conflicting accounts, cannot do justice either to the complex events leading up to Indonesia’s incorporation of East Timor or to the varying interpretations of those events. 1 Moreover, the changed conditions in East Timor and Indonesia may, over time, allow a more complex history to emerge. This section will briefly discuss Timor’s colonial period and aspects of the positions of the Portuguese, the United States, and the Australian and Indonesian Governments leading up to the annexation

in Human rights and the borders of suffering

taken as already settled, and sometimes quite reasonably so. Frequently, however, as the later discussion of the health of Indigenous Australians indicates, such analyses assume or demand a crucial zone of uniformity, whether within the state or more broadly – a realm of public discourse that is declared to be neutral and open to all citizens and others, but one that is repeatedly exclusionary. Moreover, it is easy to overlook or forget these practices of exclusion, simply because within states they have proved relatively effective, so that, for example

in Human rights and the borders of suffering
An introduction

, adequate water and sanitation, poor health facilities and insecure food security. Indigenous people in North and South America, Africa and Asia have dramatically lower life expectancy and higher levels of health difficulties than non-indigenous members of their communities. Their languages are disappearing daily and, with the languages, extraordinary parts of our human knowledge base and culture. Climate change is having a more dramatic impact on the poor and marginalized persons in all our communities; one has only to look at the earthquake in Haiti or the floods in

in Knowledge, democracy and action
Open Access (free)

diversity and the multicultural policies adopted by Australia and Canada in the 1970s, to name just three examples. In the 1980s communitarian writers embraced the culture-friendly virtues of solidarity, togetherness and belonging, but ironically, while community was prized as homely and familiar, it was never spelt out which communities – cultural or otherwise – were being invoked. Only in the early 1990s did the liberal

in Political concepts
Open Access (free)

encounters where anything of significance is at stake or change is possible. Socratic dialogue is not a form of communication for some cultures (such as Indigenous Australian cultures). And what of feeling? Since what is being discussed is ideal exchange, those exchanges for which the need for dialogue may be most intense hardly have a place – for example, a meeting between disputing factions, or over questions embedded in hatred, grief, trauma, fear, or fragile or rigid identity, or with people who place other values above a training in argument. Nor

in Human rights and the borders of suffering