Stories written by Stephen de Tarczynski

Aborigine Megan Davis has been elected to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Credit: Megan Davis

Q&A: “Aboriginal Women Need to Lead from the Front”

At the beginning of 2011, Australian Aboriginal woman Megan Davis will join a select group of indigenous experts from around the world.

ENVIRONMENT: Australia Backflips on Climate Action

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party has made much of its plans to tackle climate change even before it came to power with victory in the country’s 2007 election.

A footballer in hijab is in action for the Brunswick Zebras team.  Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

AUSTRALIA: Hijab-Wearing Footballers Oppose FIFA Ban

Sara Aboueid, 15, and Jamillah Noordin, 16, wear uniforms similar to countless numbers of footballers around the world.

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: Plan For Nuclear Waste Dump Faces Backlash

Aboriginal landowners in Australia’s far north are battling government plans to construct this country’s long-term nuclear waste storage facility on their land.

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: Africans Target of Racism, Harassment by Police

The police "picked me up, they put me in the back of the car. Then they took me to (locality withheld) and beat (expletive) me, and they left me there," a young person of African background said in a new study into the treatment of youths of African background by Australian police in Melbourne.

AUSTRALIA: Questions Persist about Troops in East Timor

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) may have reduced its numbers in East Timor as that country’s stability improves, but the controversy created by its troops’ behaviour continues to raise questions about their sensitivity to the political situation there.

RIGHTS-AUSTRALIA: Indigenous Groups Still Say No to Gov’t ‘Help’

"We don’t want to have any part of this. We want to move out of it so we have a bit of freedom and be able to determine our own future," says Richard Downs, an elder of the Alyawarra people of central Australia.

Q&A: “What is Important is to Give Equal Opportunity” – Part 2

Although women have long made major contributions to science, their efforts have often been overlooked. For the past 12 years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has teamed up with cosmetics giant L'Oréal to highlight the achievements of female scientists.

PHILIPPINES: Guarded Optimism for New Climate Change Law

While pessimism continues to dog the lead-up to next month’s climate change talks in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, a new Philippine law aimed at streamlining the country’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming has received a guarded welcome by environmental groups here.

PHILIPPINES: ‘Running After President Arroyo Is Only Just’

Philippine political affairs are rarely straightforward. The former Spanish and U.S. colony, which also endured occupation under Japan during the Second World War, has experienced major upheavals since independence was finally achieved—and recognised, this time—in 1946.

PHILIPPINES: Amid Disasters’ Rubble, Accusations Hound President

Even in the wake of the tropical storms that lashed the northern parts of the Philippines recently, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took time out to visit her home province.

Advocates hope that women will benefit fully from the new law. Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

PHILIPPINES: Women’s Rights Laws in Place

Although the enacting in August of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) - a major law aiming to end discrimination against women across the archipelago - was well-received here, there remain concerns about whether the legislation will be fully implemented.

PHILIPPINES: Long Way to Go in Fight Against Poverty

"It’s very difficult," says Joseph, 39, who has lived with his wife and three children in central Manila’s Rizal Park for the past six months after their home, a squat built on government-owned land, was demolished. "There are many people who are experiencing a lot of hardship here," he adds.

Even the small amount of money that CWC's members take home has been beneficial. Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

PHILIPPINES: Like Men, Women Aim to Put Food on the Table

Despite experiencing an unsuccessful first foray into the world of commerce, the members of the Canduman Women's Co-operative (CWC) remain focused on producing a profit to aid their families' day-to-day living expenses.

Abortions are usually carried out in dangerous and unsanitary conditions  Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

PHILIPPINES: Ban on Abortion Prevails

Sitting in an apartment in central Manila, 70-year-old Lydia (her second name has been withheld to protect her identity) speaks in hushed tones. A manghihilot, or traditional midwife, she is wary when talking about her experiences of abortion, an often-taboo subject in the Philippines.

Jan Ruff O'Herne, 86, was silent for 50 years Credit: FCWA

AUSTRALIA: Campaign for 'Comfort Women' Apology Intensifies

Activists here are stepping up their campaign to urge Australia's parliament to pressure the Japanese government to formally apologise to, and compensate, so-called 'comfort women', a euphemism for women across the Asia Pacific region who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan's military during the Second World War.

Ken Hewitt, recently unemployed, remains concerned about his family's future Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

AUSTRALIA: Male Job Losses Rise as Families Count Costs

Despite concerns that female workers would bear the brunt of Australian job losses due to the global economic downturn, employees in the male-dominated manufacturing industry have so far been the hardest hit.

"The same crimes are happening, repeating now under the name of democracy" Credit: Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

Q&A: "The Killing of Women Is Like Killing a Bird Today in Afghanistan"

It is easy to understand why epithets such as brave and courageous often accompany the name of Malalai Joya. Slight of stature and serenely demure, the young Afghan woman’s past and present encapsulate the plight of her countrywomen.

AUSTRALIA: Scientist Pushes For Coral Triangle Action

While Australia remains committed to playing an ongoing role in assisting the six nations of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) to protect their marine environments, a leading scientist here says that an Australian-style of management in the triangle will not work.

AUSTRALIA: Policy May Force Indigenous Communities From Traditional Lands

A government plan purporting to improve the lives of people living in isolated areas of Australia’s Northern Territory will be implemented at the expense of surrounding homeland communities and ignores the cultural and health benefits for people living on those traditional lands, warn critics.

AUSTRALIA: Military to Focus on Immediate Neighbours

The Rudd government’s recently-released defence white paper outlines a substantial boost to the nation’s military capabilities and places a high priority on stability in neighbouring countries, including Indonesia and South Pacific states.

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