Australian leaders debate child terror detention
In Australia, politicians have proposed terror legislation that could allow children as young as 10 years old to be held for two weeks without charge. Some politicians say the legislation is necessary, as the Islamic State specializes in recruiting children. Opposition politicians and some charities, such as Unicef Australia, have come out against the legislation. Unicef Director of Communication Jennifer Tierney said, “Unicef Australia is concerned that the proposal could risk situations where children could be arbitrarily detained…children should only ever be subject to detention as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate time.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and state leaders approved the plans at a Coalition of Australian Governments meeting last Thursday. Australian government officials have moved recently to reform their nation’s terror legislation to combat new threats. Other measures, such as a national database of driver’s licenses and new laws against terror hoaxes, are in the works. A suspected terror plot to bring down a plane, among many other plans, have been foiled by Australian police in recent years.
Barcelona and Madrid rally for peace
Amid escalating tension over calls for Catalonia’s independence, rallies were held in Barcelona and Madrid to push for peaceful negotiation last week. Tens of thousands of demonstrators dressed in white Saturday and united under the slogan “shall we talk” to defuse a crisis between Spain’s leaders. Rally organisers asked demonstrators not to bring Spanish or Catalan flags. “We have to find a new way forward. It’s the moment to listen to the people who are asking for the problem to be solved through an agreement, and without precipitated and unilateral decisions,” said Miquel Iceta, the leader of the Catalan arm of the Spanish Socialist party.
Last Friday, Madrid officials apologised to injured Catalans who had been attacked by police during the vote for independence. Despite Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy’s declaration that the referendum was illegitimate, Catalan politicians may still declare independence this week. In a 43 percent turnout, 90 percent of Catalan citizens supported independence.
Nobel Prize awarded to nuclear abolishment group
Last week, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee chair, Berit Reiss-Andersen, praised the group’s “groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition” on nuclear weapons. Citing the growing North Korean issue, she said, “We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time.” Ican, a coalition of hundreds of NGOs founded in 2007, will receive 9 million Swedish kronor, about the equivalent of $1 million, a medal and a diploma this December.
Executive Director of Ican Beatrice Fihn said the award was a signal that their work was “needed and appreciated.” “The laws of war say that we can’t target civilians. Nuclear weapons are meant to target civilians; they’re meant to wipe out entire cities,” she said. “That’s unacceptable and nuclear weapons no longer get an excuse.” Ican pressures nations around the world to decrease nuclear weapons development. In July, Ican helped get support from 122 nations for a UN treaty designed to eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.