Chris Fitzgerald is a freelance journalist based in Melbourne.

He writes well-researched and persuasive articles on domestic and global political, humanitarian and human rights issues.

His work has appeared in the South China Morning Post,, Asia Times, the Southeast Asia Globe, the New Voice, Modern Diplomacy and the Fair Observer.  

He also works for the Organization for World Peace as Senior Correspondent for the Pacific and as Project Coordinator for the Platform for Peace and Humanity's Central Asia programme.

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Thailand has just seen a political awakening, but can it survive the military?

The Philippines has a long history of political upheaval and social unrest. A former Philippine senator is one of the most divisive people in recent memory. Despite the contentious past of his family, Bong-Bong Marcos, the late dictator’s son, has established himself in politics.

And on May 25, 2022, the Philippines witnessed the election of its 17th President, Bong Bong Marcos. As a result of this historical event, there have been numerous debates and arguments about Marcos’ ascent to power, e

Are Australians ready to ditch the Royals?

The coronation of Charles III has again raised the question of whether Australia and Australians are ready to become a republic. Polls suggest they are.

The coronation of King Charles III has again raised the question of whether Australians are ready to ditch the monarchy and embrace a republic, with an Australian as head of state.

This comes as more than 3 million Australians tuned in on Saturday night to watch the coronation of the new king. 3.46 million Australians also watched the funeral

Afghan dilemma prolongs suffering

Last week, an international meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan, along with United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, met in Doha to discuss the dire situation in Afghanistan.

Representatives from 25 countries, including the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan, as well as major European aid donors, attended the two-day meeting.

The Taliban, the de facto leaders of Afghanistan since August 2021, were not invited.

The Taliban’s ambassador-designate to the UN, Suhail Shaheen,

Indonesia’s commitment to human rights in question

Last month, the Indonesian government made a firm commitment to the United Nations to improve the human-rights situation in the country.

This comes as the UN Human Rights Council adopted Indonesia’s Fourth Cycle Universal Periodic Review Report at its meeting in Geneva on March 27.

As part of the review, the UNHRC provided 269 recommendations relating to human rights in Indonesia. Most related to the rights of women, children and minority groups, and the strengthening of the legal system and i

Parliament votes against urgent refugee evacuation bill

Despite a promise to show compassion, the Labor Government has sided with the Liberals and One Nation, turning down a bill to rescue asylum seekers imprisoned overseas, writes Chris Fitzgerald.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, the Albanese Government voted against the Migration Amendment (Evacuation to Safety) Bill 2023.

The bill, introduced by the Greens Senator Nick McKim, proposed to urgently evacuate 150 refugees still held in detention in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

These refugees would be able to re

Don’t listen to the naysayers, the ICC’s arrest warrant for Putin is a game changer

A year into the conflict between Russia and the West turning into a proxy military confrontation, the most important lesson learned in terms of the international consequences of these developments is that such a large and powerful country really cannot be isolated in terms of foreign policy. It is difficult to say with certainty how much this is connected with the merits and activity of the Russian state itself, and what simply turned out to be an inevitable consequence of the changing world ove

Philippines human rights violations persist despite EU optimism

The EU may think the human rights situation in the Philippines is improving, but events on the ground tell a different story

The delegation of the European Parliament’s human rights subcommittee met with politicians and judges in the Philippines from 22-24 February to assess the country’s human rights situation.

The overall verdict seemed to be that the situation had improved since Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. took the reins as president last June. Delegation member Hannah Neumann told a pr

The G20 foreign ministers’ summit will be an uncomfortable one for India

Nepal successfully conducted their parliamentary elections in November 2022. No single political party attained a majority of seats in the elections. The Nepali Congress Party and the Communist party of Nepal (MaoistParty), led by the incumbent Sher Bahadur Deuba and Pushpa Kamal Dahal (nom de guerre Prachanda), respectively. However, at the time of forming a coalition government, in a move that shocked the whole nation, the Maoist Party went ahead and formed a government with the Unified Marxis

Sri Lanka election delay a bad move

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s refusal to fund local elections sets a dangerous precedent that puts Sri Lankan democracy at risk. If the government is serious about political reform, voters need to have their voices heard.

The National Election Commission informed the Sri Lankan Supreme Court last week that local elections planned for March 9 would be indefinitely postponed because of a lack of available funds.

The commission’s hand was forced by the Wickremesinghe government’s refusal to pr

Assad is playing politics while people in Idlib suffer

This week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkiye has decimated northwest Syria, leaving the international community scrambling to provide humanitarian assistance. With the region in need of urgent help, Bashar al-Assad’s regime needs to show some rare humanity instead of playing politics with people’s lives.

The earthquake has so far killed 1,932 people in Syria. This number is expected to rise over the coming days as rescue efforts continue.

In response to the earthquake, the Syrian ambassador

Indonesia’s Past And Present Human Rights Violations

Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s recent acknowledgement that his government regrets past human rights violations is an important step in national healing. However, this will mean little if current attacks on human rights are not addressed.

At a press conference in January, Widodo cited 12 “regrettable” events and stated that he “strongly regret that those violations occurred”. The president went further, offering an apology to Indonesians by stating: “with a clear mind and an earnest heart, I

Australia’s moment of truth

The battle over ‘The Voice’ indigenous advisory body shows a deep divide in Australian politics

This week, the ‘no’ group launched its “Recognise a Better Way” campaign in preparation for this year’s referendum on an indigenous ‘Voice’ to parliament.

The referendum, a key election commitment of the government, is asking Australians to vote on whether the Constitution should be updated to include an indigenous Voice to Parliament.

The Voice would be an advisory body made up entirely of indigen

Sri Lankans deserve a clean break from the past

The decision of former president Maithripala Sirisena to run for president pits two unpopular, establishment candidates against one another. With both Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe involved in past political turmoil and the current economic crisis, Sri Lankans deserve a clean break.

While a presidential election cannot be held until 2024, the Sri Lankan Electoral Commission recently announced local elections for February. With no popular mandate and as the only member of his party, Presiden

Ressa acquittal signals revived respect for Filipinos’ rights

This week’s acquittal of Maria Ressa is the latest in a string of court decisions suggesting that the Philippine judicial system is starting to back human rights in defiance of the government.

This comes at a pivotal time, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr accused of attacking press freedom and continuing the deadly drug war of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte.

The Philippine Court of Tax Appeals acquitted Ressa and her news outlet Rappler of tax evasion on Wednesday, in what is widely seen a

Death sentence for being an outspoken Afghan woman

The killing of Mursal Nabizada is the latest body blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Nabizada, 32, was a member of parliament in the former government and an outspoken critic of the Taliban. Her death is the first documented killing of an MP of the former government since the Taliban’s return.

Her death is yet more evidence that the Taliban-ruled country has descended into violence and lawlessness. This, along with the movement’s continued efforts to repress the rights of women, has made t

No sign Philippines drug war will end, despite promises from Marcos Jr.

In the lead up to May’s Philippine election, now-President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr pledged to take a different, less punitive approach to illicit drugs than his predecessor, strongman Rodrigo Duterte.

Marcos Jr promised to continue Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ but “in a different way”, referring to an approach that focused less on enforcement and more on prevention. This included new strategies such as funding education campaigns and opening rehabilitation centres, which would mark a radical
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