WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 14 February 2015

14 Feb 201514th February 2015 
WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


1. As you may know by now, I am a big fan of Desert Pea Media. This is their latest collaboration between elders and young people in Normanton in Queensland (Australia). It’s called ‘The Dreamers’ and it looks at “the derivatives of ill health in the local community, the effects of trauma and isolation, and looking at solutions and ways to create positive change”. Not hard to believe the producers when they say “the young people in this video are some of the most impressive, switched on and vibrant people we know”.


2. Each year the Human Rights Commission publishes a report on the progress and priorities in equality for Indigenous people. This report runs alongside the report delivered by the Prime Minister. The Closing the Gap Report for 2015 is produced in partnership with Oxfam and can be downloaded. Needless to say, the findings of the report are disturbing in terms of the disadvantage experienced by Indigenous people. Thursday 19th February is Close the Gap Day and we encourage everyone to get involved in whatever way you can.  And just finally on this topic, Chris Sarra has written a great article on the importance of acknowledging the potential in Indigenous communities, knowing that this is what is really required to close the gap.


3. The UN agency, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) is bringing together Indigenous representatives from 50 countries to consult on the ways in which traditional knowledge can be used to assist in ending poverty and hunger in rural communities. This is the second time that the Indigenous People’s forum has met.


4. The 13th Oxford Human Rights Festival is on from 18th – 21st February. The program looks fantastic. “Though this section of film, graphic design, poetry and talks, we aim to raise awareness of a range of human rights issues here in the UK and across the world.” The themes include refugee issues, women’s rights and politics and revolution.  New Internationalist Magazine is a partner at the festival.


5. Greenpeace has published an article on the hidden ways that we waste water – and what we might be able to do about it. I certainly had no idea how much water it takes to make a t-shirt or a cup of coffee!


6. The Human Rights Commission Report on children in detention, The Forgotten Children, was tabled in Australian parliament on 12 February. The report attempts to understand the impacts of detention on all aspects of children’s development. The HRC has called for a Royal Commission into the practice of detaining children and the development of strategies to assist children who have been impacted. The report also recommends that all remaining children in detention and their families be released into the community within the next four weeks. Not surprisingly, the HRC has found that the Australian government is in breach of its international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. There has been a great deal of coverage of this story from the major news outlets – ABC, The Guardian,  and The Canberra Times published a number of the powerful drawings from children in detention that were included in the report There is also a video of the press conference when Gillian Triggs, President of the HRC spoke to the report. Rather than seriously explore the findings of this report, Tony Abbott launched another attack on the HRC  The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre has an online petition calling for the immediate release of all children in detention.


7. The UNDP has released its report on the results achieved in Asia and the Pacific in 2013-2014. It’s a great report showing some very significant improvements in the 36 countries in this region.


8. There has been some interesting research about the benefits of social media for social change. It relates to those who tweet about their experiences of sexism and it suggests that not only do the women themselves feel more empowered but that others who receive these tweets are being educated about these issues.


9. This is a very interesting article in which Liam McLoughlin takes the idea of ‘the bystander effect’ and applies to our Australia society’s attitudes to refugees and asylum seekers. His idea is that, through a range of strategies, the government has fostered a social view that we are not responsible for the human rights of others.


10. This is a great TED talk that should inspire you all! This young man, Richard Turere, is from the Massai people in Nairobi. He was concerned about the way that lions killed his cattle and decided to come up with a new solution, that did not involve the cows or the lions dying.


Thanks again for stopping by to read our Weekly Top 10. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to be sure that you receive our weekly blogs.  See you next week.