Page 961 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 20 March 2012

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(d) the international community, especially Russian and Chinese authorities, to use their influence over Syria to stop the assault on civilians …

As Dr Bourke also referred to, Amnesty International have put out a report into torture in Syria and this was actually based on testimony obtained by Amnesty International during a research visit to Jordan in mid-February 2012 during which delegates met dozens of Syrians, some 25 of whom said they had been tortured or otherwise ill treated in detention before they fled across the border, in addition to many eyewitness accounts of a variety of military and security operations against demonstrators and demonstrations in various towns and villages over many months.

During the February 2012 research trip to Jordan, Amnesty International also received testimony concerning the shelling of civilian areas, the shooting of live ammunition at peaceful protestors and others, extrajudicial executions, the burning and looting of houses, arbitrary arrests, the targeting of medical professionals, the denial of medical treatment to injured protestors and others and enforced disappearances. And while this report focuses solely on torture and other ill treatment it focuses on that torture and ill treatment that has been a central feature not only of the government’s crackdown in the past year but also past decades.

I actually went to Syria at the beginning of 2008 and it is truly one of the most amazing countries I have been to. Certain countries do have a great impact on you and Syria is one of them for me. I do keep thinking about the wonderful and welcoming people I met and I really do despair when I see what is happening and the destruction that is happening to that wonderful country. Again, I would encourage everyone to go to the Amnesty International website and sign that petition.

I would also very briefly like to congratulate the Tuggeranong Community Council for organising the Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday, 18 March, just gone, which had been postponed from Sunday, 4 March due to the weather that weekend. There was an excellent turnout and I would thank everyone who came along to clean up along the lake. I was not able to stay to meet up with the sea scouts but it was great that these two groups joined up and linked together to clean the area around the lake.

Like last year’s clean-up, we did collect far too many cigarette butts; many others would also be in the lake. So it is incumbent, I think, on everyone to heed the words that come out of Clean Up Australia day and start to respect and care for our environment a lot more and think about our actions, when people might be smoking or whatever they might be doing, about what actually happens.

DonateLife Week

St John the Apostle primary school fete

MR COE (Ginninderra) (6.14): I rise this evening to acknowledge the organ and tissue awareness awards reception that was held on 24 February. The awards recognise the dedication and contribution made by community-minded individuals from the ACT and surrounds in raising the awareness of organ tissue donation. The awards coincided with DonateLife Week, which highlighted the need for families to

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