Australia’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ approach to human rights in India has failed, advocates say

Human Rights Watch urges the Albanese government to speak directly to India’s PM, Narendra Modi, on human rights issues

The Australian government has refused to be drawn on human rights in India, prompting accusations it has shelved uncomfortable issues to boost trade and security ties.

Human Rights Watch said the “quiet diplomacy” approach favoured by the west had failed to have any visible impact on India and urged the Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to raise human rights during his visit to the country next week.

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Russia accuses west at G20 of blackmail and claims it has China’s support

Stormy meeting in Delhi breaks up without joint statement as west and Moscow spar over Ukraine

Russia has accused the west of blackmail and threats and claimed it had China’s support for its position at a stormy meeting of G20 foreign ministers in India, dominated by the war in Ukraine.

The event broke up with no joint communique, only a summary of the meeting prepared by the host, India, the group’s current chair.

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Pakistan crackdown on Afghan refugees leaves ‘four dead’ and thousands in cells

Asylum seekers in Karachi tell of terror of being sent back to the Taliban and despair at being shackled and held in Pakistani jails

Refugees are reportedly dying in Pakistani prisons, and children are being arrested and tied together with ropes, as a wave of detentions and deportations spreads fearamong the hundreds of thousands of Afghans who have crossed the border since the Taliban took power.

According to lawyers representing Afghans in detention, at least four people have died in custody, and thousands more, including children, are being held in prisons as Pakistan hardens its stance against Afghan citizens.

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‘You won’t find a braver man’: the Muslim witness confronting India’s legal labyrinth

Nisar Ahmed was almost killed in the Delhi riots. But when he became a witness in court cases against the alleged perpetrators, he realised that was only the start of his troubles

This is how Nisar Ahmed remembers it. On 24 February 2020, at about three in the afternoon, an uproar outside his house brought him to his window. A large crowd of men was passing through Bhagirathi Vihar, his neighbourhood in north-east Delhi, chanting “Victory to Lord Ram!” and “Wake up, Hindus, wake up!”. Ahmed conferred with Asma, his wife. They decided, somewhat uncertainly, that the procession was probably harmless to Muslims like them.

“It felt like the usual political sloganeering,” Ahmed recalled. Politics was politics, but this was a neighbourhood where Muslims and Hindus called one another over for chai and sat outside together late at night. That brotherhood was protection enough. If there was any disturbance, elders would settle it. That was the hope anyway, and Ahmed was a man who lived on hope. His house overlooked a sewage canal, but when he looked out of his window he would choose to see instead the unbroken sky. Small things like this brought him inordinate pleasure.

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China leading US in technology race in all but a few fields, thinktank finds

Year-long study finds China leads in 37 of 44 areas it tracked, with potential for a monopoly in areas such as nanoscale materials and synthetic biology

The United States and other western countries are losing the race with China to develop advanced technologies and retain talent, with Beijing potentially establishing a monopoly in some areas, a new report has said.

China leads in 37 of 44 technologies tracked in a year-long project by thinktank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The fields include electric batteries, hypersonics and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G.

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Calls grow in Canada for inquiry into alleged election interference by China

Prime minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged attempts by China to meddle in elections but has resisted launching a public inquiry

Canadian opposition parties stepped up their push for a broad public inquiry into alleged foreign election interference, particularly by China, a move that Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau has not yet endorsed.

Recent media reports have alleged ongoing Chinese interference in Canada’s elections, with Trudeau this week denying one article saying his office was told by Canada’s spy agency to drop a Chinese Canadian candidate in 2019 because of his ties to Beijing.

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‘This is my last responsibility’: Indonesia’s parents seek justice over child cough syrup deaths

More than 200 Indonesian children have died after taking syrups contaminated with toxic chemicals. Their parents want to make sure it can’t happen again

The Indonesian language has words for children who have lost their mothers or fathers, but none for parents who lose their children. Some say that is because the pain is inexplicable, something 42-year-old Safitri Puspa Rani can attest to.

Safitri’s eight-year-old son Panghegar died in October 2022, one month after his birthday. Panghegar had spent weeks in a paediatric intensive care unit, fighting acute kidney injury caused by syrup medicines that had been contaminated with toxic chemicals commonly found in industrial solvents and antifreeze.

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Explainer: what is China’s ‘two sessions’ gathering, and why does it matter?

Annual event led by Xi Jinping often delivers major policy announcements, with significant constitutional revisions also possible this year

China’s annual “two sessions” meetings begin on Saturday, with major reforms and government appointments expected, as well as the final formalisation of Xi Jinping’s precedent-busting third term as China’s leader.

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War in Ukraine will not distract European allies from Indo-Pacific, German air force chief says

Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz suggests that Europe’s commitment to Australia and other partners in the region needs to be ‘really visible’

Germany’s air force chief has said his country is determined to visibly demonstrate its increased focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

Even as Nato countries seek to deter further Russian aggression in Europe, Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz said countries that stood for freedom and democracy “really have to cooperate in Europe the same as in Asia”.

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