WITADA’s Weekly Top 10 – 21 Match 2015

 21 March 201521 March 2015


WITADA’s Weekly Top 10: News, stories and ideas to make the world a better place. 


This week we remember the contribution of Malcolm Fraser to many of the social issues that we are deeply concerned about today. In addition to this we visit Syria, the Ukraine and the Demmocratic Republic of Congo as well as celebrating International Happiness Day and World Water Day.


1. It is with great sadness that we received the news that Malcolm Fraser passed away on Friday 20 March. While he lead a conservative government in Australia in the 1970s and 80s he became an advocate for human rights, especially the rights of asylum seekers, and a strong critic of the Liberal Party and many of their policies. An article in The Guardian by Julian Burnside makes the very good point that it was not Malcolm Fraser’s views about human rights that changed, but rather that the rest of Australia moved to significantly to the right as to make his views seem radical.
Malcolm Fraser’s support for refugees and asylum seekers was a strong feature of his work in recent years. “Refugees have made a remarkable contribution to our country. Australia is a proudly multicultural nation, made stronger by the dedication and contribution of people who come here, whether as refugees or migrants.”


2.  The Guardian has reported on the first serious academic analysis of the current government’s asylum seeker policy of ‘turning back the boats’ and concludes that “the policy is a fatally risky, moral and legal failure that is severely damaging the country’s reputation”.


3. In a significant development in the Democratic Republic of Congo legal clinics are setting up to provide information to women and others in the community about victims of sexual violence.


4. Amnesty International’s Anna Neistat has written a very moving piece on the failure of international efforts in Syria. And the group Children of Syria (part of UNICEF) is urging support for the 14 million children impacted by the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Much of the comment about Syria this week has related to the inadequate response, and MSF has added their concerns about this failure in humanitarian relief.


5. Yesterday (Friday 20 March) was the International Day of Happiness with a particular focus on our connections with each other. You can sign in and receive your free happiness pack with lots of interesting info and things to do to the make a happier world! And in recognition of this day, a number of musos teamed up to create a little music video.


6. Human Rights Watch again report on serious human rights issues in Ukraine. The government has imposed severe travel restrictions resulting in delays in the delivery of humanitarian aid to areas of high need.


7. The Victorian Police have made some outrageous comments after the recent murder of Masa Vukotic. The idea that women need to ‘stay out of parks’ and be ‘a little more careful’ place the responsibility on the woman rather than the perpetrator.


8. Tomorrow is World Water Day and if you ever doubted the importance of water, have a look at this photo essay from UN Water. You can support World Water Day by checking out the 2015 site.


9. TED asked a range of photographers to share an image (and some words) that captures what inequality means to them. There are some very moving images and descriptions here.


10. Here is a good dose of inspiration for you to end a long week. Emelin is a 15 year old Guatemalan young woman who has been invited by the United Nations to speak about the issues facing girls in her community and how she persuaded the major of her rural town to implement and fund policies to help young women.
If Emelin can come up with such great ideas surely we can all find innovative ways to get the message across to those who make decisions on behalf of us all.


Hope to see you all next week for another edition of our Weekly Top 10 Stories, News and Ideas to Make the World a Better Place!