Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Forum - winning and losing elections

We have been asked to pass on the below message from our Australian friends at the University of Western Sydney. All are welcome

We extend a warm invitation for you to attend the 2009 Open Forum "Winning and Losing Elections". The forum speakers will address the issue of electoral processes in Australia and how citizens and non-government organisations could influence the Government and the Opposition. The guest speakers are the well known political analyst Mr Malcolm Mackerras AO, and Dr Graeme Starr a former Liberal State Director and Federal Ministerial Adviser.

The Forum will be held on Wednesday 10 June at the UWS Parramatta campus, arriving at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start. Full details of the venue are attached.
This forum is a continuation of the series which started in 2008 and will continue to deal with topical and contemporary social issues and aim to bring academia and the Greater Western Sydney Community together.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could distribute this invitation through your networks.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Dr Sev Ozdowski OAM FAICD
Director, Equity and Diversity
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797,
Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia
Website: www.uws.edu.au

PA: Mrs Debbie Mey (RSVP's)
Phone: +61 2 9678 7374 Fax +61 2 9678 7373

Monday, May 4, 2009

The unfounded fear of refugees and immigrants - Book Review - Liz Fekete's 'A Suitable Enemy : racism, migration and Islamophobia in Europe'

We have just taken delivery of 'A Suitable Enemy : racism, migration and Islamophobia in Europe' by Liz Fekete. It seems to be high on many a library and organizations acquisition list. I recommend it as others do that I speak with.

Fekete demonstrates in this book how right wing extremism has bred a hysteria amongst a vast majority of European citizens that immingrants and seekers of asylum pose enormous security risks to the population of many European countries.
This book resonates well with me and those that have read for example 'HUMAN RIGHTS OVERBOARD: SEEKING ASYLUM IN AUSTRALIA by Linda Briskman, Susie Latham and Chris Goddard, with a foreword by Julian Burnside, Scribe Press, 2008.' will recognise this theme and see that worlwide, the phenomnea of the breeding fear existed and still exists to this day of people and cultures that are unlike our own is not isolated geographically. It is used as a political and social manipulation tool to condtion the many, quite often falsely, for various reasons.
Fekete's 'A Suitable Enemy' finely analyses the past few years of the racist undertone attached to foreigners, applyinng her many years of experience and research on racial discrimination and Islamophobia. It becomes blatantly obvious that many perceive immigrants and asylum seekers as potential risks to security and human rights, yet the out of proportion hysteria of that unfounded fear exposes a far greater infringement of freedoms, democracy and human rights that we all hold so dear. As the years have progressed over the past deaced or two, Fekete shows us that the right wing policies of many governments and political movements have moved into the mainstream, often appearing more and more centroid, co-existing and partnering with policies of perceived tolerance, which often masks an enormous duplicitous contradiction. This work serves to demonstrate how exactly it detrimentally acts to shake the foundations of fundamental human rights and those that suffer from it's withering. Fekete concentrates mainly on how the Muslim communities have suffered as a consequence but important lessons can be drawn and extrapolated to all parts of multi-faceted, multicultural societies.
A must own for you collection.

See the publishers website for more information on this fabulous new release.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

What the devil is Rett Syndrome?? - disability spotlight

Rett Syndrome is a disorder considered neurodevelopmental in nature and often characterised by a de-celeration of rate of head growth, loss of intentional use of hands, and smaller than normal hands and feet. Early onset symptoms can include difficlty in crawling and walking, poor verbal communication and scarce if any eye contact. The symptoms and their severity seem to vary on a case by case basis. There is no known cure and there has been no known way of being able to predict its severity or onset. It is not unusual for Rett Sydnrome to be confused with or diagnosed as autism.

Image: iStockphoto

An exciting recent research collaboration has just identified a genetic variation that influences the severity of symptoms in Rett syndrome. The joint Australian and Israli teams finsings will be published in an upcoming issue of the 'International Journal of Neurology.
The leading scientist involved in the Australian Rett Syndrome Study for Child Health Research at the Telethon Institute, Dr Helen Leonard, said the finding was exciting in that it may help identify and potentially predict the clinical progression of the debilitating neurological disorder. See the last article below for more information on this recent finding.

For more information on the syndrome we recommend you refer to the following recent books, articles and websites.

Rett Syndrome Books and Articles

Understanding Rett Syndrome: A Practical Guide for Parents, Teachers, And Therapists

Pathways to Learning in Rett Syndrome

Your Daughter Has Been Diagnosed With Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome Medical Guide

Deciphering the complexities of Rett syndrome.(Special Needs: Realizing Potential): An article from: Pediatric News

Genetic Test for Rett Syndrome Now Available.: An article from: Family Practice News

Recent Telethon Institute finding article - Science Alert

Rett Syndrome Interesting Websites



Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Can Dr. Manisuli Ssenyonjo produce a good text? - Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in International Law (Hart Publsihing, Oxford)

Leading Human Right Publisher, Hart Publishing, have just announced this upcoming book
see here
It will probably come out around June/July.

The book deals mainly with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and being authored by the respected Dr Ssenyonjo of Brunel University Law School, London, it is definitely one to keep an eye out for and consider for your collection. We will review it in due course, on release.

Here is a link to his academic profile at Brunel. This will be his first major work and we look forward in great anticipation of it's arrival for our review. We have no doubt it will be good. Hart would not back the work unless it was.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can women cut it? Book Review: 'Through the Labyrinth : the truth about how women become leaders' by Alice Eagly and Linda Carli

It doesn’t seem that long ago that women in leadership was a concept that was chuckled at in the male dominated boardrooms across the world. But the most recent generational changes have seen a definite shift in the concept and reality of female leaders in positions of power and importance. It is now commonplace and accepted. It is, rightfully, more and more the norm.

The days of ‘mens club’ leadership has dissipated somewhat, albeit still present. As this new paradigm is moving to the fore, so too is a whole new collateral industry developed with those willing to study, explain and profit from it. Not all of those that involve themselves with female leadership can be considered sucker fish at the gills of a large shark however. The present authors must be exluded from the latter and are to be commended for their work in the field and with this treatise.
Alice Eagley and Linda Carli are two psychologists and respected academics who have given much of their lives to the teaching of the psychology of gender and organisational psychology - especially sex differences in similarities in leadership. They apply their years of wisdom and experience here in this, their book, ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’.
The book acts as a tangible, comprehensive one stop shop on this important topic. It provides a commanding overview in compliment to the sometimes confusing plethora of materials inside the academia and outside that already exist in large number. Carli and Eagley quickly cut to the core of what leadership truly means and how different styles, context and settings can determine how female leadership rates in success when compared to their male counterparts under similar and dissimilar influencing properties.
Their mooted metaphor change of a labyrinth (from the ‘glass ceiling’ methaphor) fits nicely with their arguments, summations and fascinating recomendations that women must find their own individualistic style with a ‘twice as good’ as men approach to overcome the many natural obstacles, unfair stereotypes and discriminatory stigmas still attached to female advancement on the corporate ladder today.
While this work has a very academic and professional feel to it, it is still couched in terms and language that most of us can relate to. ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’ should be read by everyone from policy makers, leadership coaches, students to lay people alike. This book would make a priceless addition to any local/municipal library, large public library or highly specialised library collection. It has our thumbs up for acquisition.

Table of Contents
Is there still a glass ceiling? -- Where are the women leaders? -- Are men natural leaders? -- Do family responsibilities hold women back? -- Is discrimination still a problem? -- What is the psychology of prejudice toward female leaders? -- Do people resist women's leadership? -- Do women lead differently from men? -- Do organizations compromise women's leadership? -- How do some women find their way through the labyrinth? -- How good are women leaders and what does their future hold? -- Notes -- References -- Author index -- Subject index -- About the authors.

Listen to one of the authors, Linda Carli, speaking of the glass ceiling here in this podcast

Amazon US link:
Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders (Center for Public Leadership)

Amazon UK link:
Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders (Center for Public Leadership)


Monday, April 20, 2009

“Old Hickory” an ethnic cleanser? Pulitzer Prize Winners 2009 : Biography Prize - 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House' by Jon Meacham

Newsweek editor Jon Meacham has just won the biography prize at the 2009 Pulitzer Awards held at Columbia University for his work 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,' a best-seller about the populist US president whose sympathy for the less fortunate never extended to slaves.

Meacham said of his work "Jackson represents the best and the worst of us".

Meachem dug deep to access materials not and/or rarely consulted before, to bring us this fascinating page turner. 'Old Hickory' Andrew Jackson was a great defender of democracy and it's founding principles, yet he was a man tainted by his rich life as much as he was honoured. It is highly open for debate whether he would be considered a human rights abuser and ethnic cleanser today in hindsight. He stood for the defense of human rights, yet in the same breath seemed to attack them. Meacheam does a great job in giving humanity to a man that history has been unkind to in so many ways, justifiably or not. Meachem deserves praise for highlighting the positives of the 7th President of the US as much as the US$20 bill does. He is very adept at political PR.

The book is a good addition to the historical understanding of American political history, slavery and the plight of Native Americans. Meacham's background as a journalist lends greatly to the readability of this text. It is not an academic work, but that is what makes this work. It is more like a compelling storytelling newspiece than a dry 'academic standard' american history textbook.
Get it now. It doesn't disappoint. One could expect to build it up too much in the expectation stakes before reading it, especially after the media frenzy surrounding the winning of a pulitzer, but we were pleasantly surprised that it was as good as the media that covered its accolade made out.

To get a feel for the other side of the historical coin on Andrew Jackson, not just the legend, we recommend the reading of Professor Andrew Bursteins 'The Passions of Andrew Jackson' (Vintage, 2004) in tandem with Meachams work. We suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Amazon US:
Meachams 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House'
Professor Bursteins 'The Passions of Andrew Jackson'

Amazon UK:
Meachems 'American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House'
Professor Bursteins 'The Passions of Andrew Jackson'


Pulitzer Prize Winners 2009 : non-fiction award - 'Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II'

Well the Pulitzer Prize winners for 2009 have been announced at Columbia University and this year the awards for human rights pieces are admirable. The general nonfiction award went to "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II" by Douglas A. Blackmon, Atlanta bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.

"It's a huge honor for me," Blackmon said of his Pulitzer, "but more importantly I hope it really validates the idea that this is a part of American history that we have ignored and neglected, and it's time for a really dramatic reinterpretation of what happened to African-Americans during that period of time."

Check the book out here at Amazon, as we here at the Human Rights Book Report intend to-

Amazon US: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

Amazon UK: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Defining Civil and Political Rights : The jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee by Alex Conte and Richard Burchill, Ashgate 2009.

This work is an extremely useful text for those that may practice or educate in the human rights domain and more specifically those that deal regularly with instruments such as the ICCPR, it’s obligations, and those that administer it on an international level and domestic state level(those that have ratified this instrument have been included in one of the appendices in the book).
The book’s main focus is international and deals particularly well with with the Human Rights Committee’s jurisprudence and their issuing of non-binding yet highly influential decisions that help direct the large number of member states ratifying the optional protocol. Coupled with the authors exhaustive analysis this is a text that helps us all in the comprehension of international obligation under the ICCPR in an easy and highly accessible way. A must own guide for any serious human rights advocate.

US link
Defining Civil and Political Rights: The Jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee

UK/EU link
Defining Civil and Political Rights: The Jurisprudence of the United Nations Human Rights Committee


Monday, April 13, 2009

Leap In The Dark: Book Review: Human Rights Watch: World Report 2008

We felt this was a very good review of the Human Rights Watch Report for 2008. But don't take our word for it. Check it out for yourself.

Leap In The Dark: Book Review: Human Rights Watch: World Report 2008

Amazon US link Human Rights Watch World Report 2008



Saturday, April 11, 2009

New Technologies and Human Rights by Thérèse Murphy (ed) (Oxford University Press, 2009)

This new book by Professor Therese Murphy of Nottingham University and a collection of other respected authors/academics reminds us how far technologies can jump ahead of law and regulation and how those new technologies certainly portend an emerging urgency by regulators to tread carefully yet still develop statute with haste. Haste and considered regulation are often an uncontemporaneous mix, yes, however that does not preclude the new reality that law must catch up fast before technolgies which hold such promise metamorphasise into frankentsein technologies, as so many feared with gm crops as one example. Not only does this work call for regulation full stop but faster, better and more refined legislative processes that can consider and weigh ethical dilemmas, clinical risks and most importantly precautionary principles.


*Repetition, revolution, and resonance : an introduction to new technologies and human rights by Thérèse Murphy
*Human dignity, ethical pluralism, and the regulation of modern biotechnologies by Roger Brownsword
*Regulating human genetics in a neo-eugenic era by Han Somsen
*Constitutional patriotism and the right to privacy : a comparison of the European *Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights by Francesca Bignami
*New technologies, the precautionary principle, and public participation by Laurence Boisson de Chazournes
*The texture of reproductive choice : law, ethnography, and reproductive technologies by Thérèse Murphy
*The international law of genetic discrimination : the power of 'never again' by Iulia Voina Motoc
*Individual human rights in genetic research : blurring the line between collective and individual interests by Hélène Boussard

US Link
New Technologies and Human Rights (Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law)

UK Link
New Technologies and Human Rights (Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law)


Monday, April 6, 2009

Racism : deal with it before it gets under your skin by Anne Marie Aikins ; illustrated by Steven Murray (James Lorrimer Publishers, 2004)

Another wonderful addition to the 'Deal with it' series from Anne Marie Aikins.
'Racism: Deal with it' uses bread and butter scenarios to help the youngest of minds identify some of the earliest origins of racial and cultural conflicts that may be encountered. This book, coupled with guidance from early life educators and parents will help children
relate to and appreciate some of the basic obstacles encountered with racism and how we might triumph over them.

US Link:
Racism: Deal with it Before It Gets Under Your Skin (Deal With It series)

UK/EU Link:
Racism: Deal with It Before It Gets Under Your Skin


Privacy : deal with it like nobody's business by Diane Peters ; illustrated by Jeremy Tankard.

The 'Deal with it' series are great resources for teachers and young children attempting to grasp basic yet very important issues for their first time.
This 'Deal with it' monograph book deals with the first Privacy issues may encounter. From coping with secrets to playing it safe when surfing and engaging on the internet, these examples set sound foundations for understanding more hefty privacy issues later in life. The comic format is a winner to grab the kids attention. A must own for most primary school educator's and municipal libraries aiming to educate at a juvenile level.

US Link: Privacy, Deal With It: Like Nobody's Business

UK Link: Privacy: Like Nobody's Business (Deal with It)


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Human rights in crisis (edited by Alice Bullard, Ashgate, 2008)

UK Link
Human Rights in Crisis

'Blown to Bits' by Abelson, Ledeen and Lewis (Addison Wesley, 2008)

While this book seems to detail the positives of technology and mankinds willingness to 'go with the flow', it does carry some very important lessons of consideration for those involved with civil lierties and privacy. A great trip into the very modern world of what many may consider to be an antithesis of freedoms. Is our world more WC Clarke than Orwell/Huxleys utopian nightmare? You be the judge after reading this book.


The Spy in the Coffee Machine - O'Hara and Shadbolt (Oneworld Publications, 2008)

A very up to date book looking at how modern technologies and those that apply them have eaten into our daily lives and hence our freedoms. In our quest to move with technologies at fast pace, we all seem to easily ignore the greater ramification that this book brings our attention to. A great book for civil libertarians that wish to fight and pave the way for a brighter future.