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Do countries pick and choose where justice falls?

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For years, human rights groups have been urging world leaders to hold China accountable for its alleged human rights abuses

There have been numerous reports of human rights abuses within China, but no clear way of holding the country to account.

In particular, reports of abuse against the Uyghur population in the Xinjiang province have sparked global concerns.

The UN Human Rights office released a report highlighting the brutality of abuse against muslim minorities in China.

“Allegations of patterns of torture, or ill-treatment, including forced medical treatment and adverse conditions of detention, are credible, as are allegations of individual incidents of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Michelle bachelet – un high commissioner of human rights

The damning report confirms what human rights groups have been concerned about for years. It details victims accounts of “detention, torture, cultural persecution and forced labor.”

While, the UN Human Rights Office says it’s committed to supporting China to address the issues evident in the report, other groups say immediate action is required.

Non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Watch, is calling on Australia to join other leading nations in making Chinese crimes against humanity punishable.

The organisation wants to see China exposed to sanctions, starting with legislation to prevent the import of any goods made with forced labor.

The group wants businesses, states and the international community to take action.

Holding China accountable

While the reports of China’s abuse in the Xinjiang region are horrific, world leaders seem to be finding it difficult to hold the communist country accountable. It raises questions about where accountability comes from and how it is policed.

Human Rights Watch want the Australian Government to move in line with other leading nations like the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada to target China’s behaviour.

They want businesses to stop importing goods that are manufactured through forced labor, and a new legislation in place to enforce it.

However, thousands of Australian businesses rely heavily on China’s manufacturing hubs.

For some, they’re the backbone of their survival. So is it fair or realistic to put this expectation and responsibility on Australian business owners?

“Is it realistic that in the year 2022 we want to import goods from political prisoners?

Political prisoners who are locked up for no other reason other than they are muslim.”

sophie mcneill – human rights watch

However, the level of complexity attached to a problem shouldn’t justify turning a blind eye to it.

Australia lagging behind

The EU, US, UK and Canada have all made significant efforts to tackle China’s alleged human rights abuses.

They have taken a stand by implementing acts and legislation to deter China’s behaviour. The United States, for example, has the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which provides customs authorities increased powers to enforce bans on imports from forced labor.  

This has many wondering why Australia hasn’t taken any concrete action to condemn China’s human rights abuses.

Tensions between Australia and China have been at an all time high since Australia moved to investigate the origins of the coronavirus.

Some say Australia is concerned for the repercussions and consequences of holding China accountable on the global stage.

“We’ve been calling on the Australian Government to take action for years now… We’ve run out of excuses. Now is the time to act.”

Sophie Mcneill- Human Rights watch

Does China care about sanctions?

As a communist country, China has shown time and time again that it does not mind being an outlier on the global stage.

Some say that targeted sanctions will not deter or stop the abuse against ethnic minorities. While others say if a coalition of countries band together to call out the abuse, then it is more likely to have a real impact.

Double standards

Many countries around the world has or has had reports of human rights abuses in one way or another.

Soon, Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which in largely known for its human rights abuses. In particular, there have been reports of human rights abuses during the construction of the stadiums required for the cup.

However, all of the countries who are now taking a stand against China are heading to the world cup. It raises questions of hypocrisy and whether leading Governments are selecting who they hold accountable based on their own political rhetoric.

Are world leaders picking and choosing where justice falls?

“Governments do pick and choose and that hinders our ability to hold China accountable.”

Sophie Mcneill- Human Rights watch

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport

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Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury

Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.

It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.

Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.

Dr. Peter Brukner

Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.

“Medicinal cannabis is arguably performance diminishing rather than performance enhancing…

It’s likely to be taken off the ban list in the near future.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

“I don’t see there are any risks at all.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.

He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.

Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.

In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.

“We’re seeing a significant stigma reduction… There are 30,000 new applications every month [in Australia] for medicinal cannabis...

In the right hands, and through a GP it can be a very safe alternative to opioids and anti-inflammatories in the treatment of chronic pain.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.

“We’ve got Alistair Clarkson and Damien Hardwick on our board, they’ve taken a keen interest… Yes, it’s on the rise.”

Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health

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Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?

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Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone

Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.

It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.

We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.

But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.

There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.

On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.

So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.

We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.

So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.

Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.

Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?

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TICKER NEWS INSIGHT

Children are our future, but cancer is impacting far too many of them

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Children are our future and that’s why investing in childhood cancer is critical to improving treatments and research

Cancer does not discriminate. It is a major cause of death in children worldwide. While there has been tremendous progress in fighting childhood cancer, significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Lance Kawaguchi, who heads Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is passionate about raising awareness and funds to beat childhood cancer.

“It’s critically important that we invest more in childhood cancer…I want to make sure that we can have enough funds to support not just certain types of cancer… But also the ones that have less volume.”

Lance kawaguchi, ceo, cure brain cancer

Why invest in Childhood Cancer?

Childhood cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, impacting children aged 0-14.

The most common cancers diagnosed in children is leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), brain and nervous system cancers.

Significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.

Often, certain types of cancers remain underfunded and under-researched. However, just because they’re less common, shouldn’t mean they’re less important.

Brain Stem brain tumours like DIPG, primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age.

It makes up approximately 10-15% of all brain tumours in children. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children survive.

Simon Gray lost his son Tom when he was seven years old, and is on a mission to prevent other parents from going through the same grief.

We need to raise more funds for this kind of cancer… We don’t want another parent to have to sit in a room with a bunch of doctors and be told ‘just go create some memories, there’s no if buts or maybe, he’s just going to die’

Simon Gray, cancer advocate

Need For More Specific Paediatric Cancer Treatments

There is a need to develop cancer treatments specifically for children and invest more in enabling this to happen effectively.

A relative lack of cancer research in children limits how to treat them. As a result, some children with cancer are dealt adult treatments, which are often ineffective.

Childhood cancer treatments very rarely reach FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or EMA (European Medicines Agency) approval.

Therefore, it’s critical that more money is invested into treatment and research for childhood cancer.

Katie Banovich’s 6-year-old son Greyson is a cancer survivor. Greyson has emerged as an inspiration to all those who hear his story. His courage and resilience are a testament that no one should ever give up hope when confronted with adversity.

Katie believes it is through our collective efforts that we will continue to make strides in the fight against childhood cancers.

“Get involved, everyone can help. Awareness of the problem leads to motivation to solve it. And motivation leads to action.”

Katie banovich, cancer advocate

Any family can be impacted by childhood cancer, it does not discriminate. For some they have a positive outcome, but for many they are forced to live out a nightmare.

It’s crucial that we make the fight against childhood cancer a global fight.

In our experience, the key flaws have been a lack of options for treating paediatric brain cancers.

Our daughter Olivia was diagnosed at 18 months… It’s very high risk giving children radiation at such a young age.
.. We had limited options.

Andrew macphillamy, cancer advocate

Centres of Excellence fighting childhood cancer

1. Australia – Children’s Cancer Institute

The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Australia is celebrating thirty years of working with like-minded individuals and organisations to fund innovative research projects, world-class clinical care, and quality family support programs. To date, the foundation has raised over A$60.5 million. This capital was spent on a range of programs that align with the CCIs goals of improving the lives of children affected by cancer.

2. Qatar – Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine, located in the innovative Education City in Qatar is a benchmark for family healthcare in the Middle East. This 400-bed medical centre caters solely to women and children, offering state-of-the-art health care in a collaborative, research-driven environment. Sidra Medicine aims to establish itself as a global leader in the research of cancer and precision medicine. In September 2022, the institute published a study highlighting the successful use of precision medicine to guide the treatment of some paediatric cancers.

3. US – National Pediatric Cancer Foundation

Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death resulting from illness in children aged four to fourteen in the United States. Sadly, only 4% of the billions of dollars spent on cancer research annually go to funding research for paediatric cancers. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF) formed an innovative collaboration called the Sunshine Project. The primary goal of this project is to fast-track a more targeted and less toxic cure for paediatric cancer by bringing together the nation’s foremost researchers and medical professionals. Since 2005, the Sunshine Project has funded several clinical trials and translational studies in excess of US$ 33 million.

4. The European Society for Paediatric Oncology

The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) was established to ensure optimal care and outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. The society is active across many areas including research, care, training and education, and EU advocacy. They are driven to facilitate collaborative research across the European continent as well as the promotion of novel treatment modalities in use in clinical trials. Seated in Brussels, SIOPE is ideally situated to promote and advocate better policies for children with cancer to EU policy makers.

Report contributed by Holly Stearnes, Lance Kawaguchi and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

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