Australian expert to head up Bill of Rights Forum

Chris Sidoti has been appointed as Chairperson of the Bill of Rights Forum (a fuller bio here). He has held a number of official human rights positions in Australia as well as NGO’s. He presently heads the International Service for Human Rights based in Geneva. Although it seems the NIO has played some pathetic game over Mr Sidoti’s past work (see below the fold). The biographical description of Chris Sidoti in the NIO statement is as follows

Since 2003 Chris has been director of the International Service for Human Rights, a non-government organisation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, that works closely with the United Nations human rights system. A human rights lawyer, activist and teacher, he has been Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000), Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995), and Foundation Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1987-1992). He has also worked in a number of non-government human rights organisations. While based in Australia until 2003, he worked extensively in the Asia Pacific region undertaking human rights training, policy and advisory work in many countries. He is a visiting professor at the University of Western Sydney and Griffith University in Australia.

This biographical description of Chris Sidoti on the ISHR site is as follows:

Chris Sidoti is a human rights lawyer, activist and teacher. He has been Australian Human Rights Commissioner (1995-2000), Australian Law Reform Commissioner (1992-1995) and Foundation Director of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1987-1992). He has also worked in non-government organisations, including for the Human Rights Council of Australia and the Australian Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. Although based in Australia until 2003, he has worked extensively in the Asia Pacific region for many years. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Western Sydney and Griffith University in Australia. Chris joined ISHR in September 2003.

Please note the strong correlation between the two texts except for NIO shyness about the NGOs Mr Sidoti has worked for. This seems like particularly pathetic behaviour by the NIO press office.

  • Alan

    Now, perhaps we can move the Forum process forwards. Mind you, we’re around 2 months behind where we should be as it is.

  • Animus

    Are you looking for a conspiracy where they may be none? I volunteered for a religious organisation; it didn’t make me a believer. And this “shyness” may be to avoid just the sort of knee-jerk knowing look that people like you are going to give. If they had put it in, you would probably write him off for a different reason. I’m no fan of the NIO, but they couldn’t win.

    The Unionists got their wish too – Sidoti is neither South African nor American.

    Who would have been your choice Fair Deal?

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    “Are you looking for a conspiracy where they may be none? I volunteered for a religious organisation; it didn’t make me a believer. And this “shyness” may be to avoid just the sort of knee-jerk knowing look”

    1. Please make up your mind. First it doesn’t exist then such sad pettiness is somehow justified.
    2. You miss the entire point of the criticism.

    “people like you”

    Such an open mind.

    “The Unionists got their wish too – Sidoti is neither South African nor American. Who would have been your choice Fair Deal?”

    There isn’t the need for another choice. You seem to be interpreting my criticism of the NIO’s poorly judged news management as an objection to Chris Sidito. You are mistaken.

  • The Dubliner

    “The Unionists got their wish too – Sidoti is neither South African nor American.” – Animus

    Wait until they find out that he is a devout Catholic and that the International NGO, ISHR, is funded by the Irish government. It’ll be interesting to see if unionist politicians make a fuss about it or if they have “moved on.” I suspect it won’t be an issue.

  • Nevin

    Sidoti, Tesoriero, Ristuccia, Iacono, Giuffré, Virgona, Pittorina, and Palmisano are all family names connected with the Aeolian Islands, off Sicily. Emigration from these islands began around the 1880s but did not gain momentum until the mid-1890s (Jones 1964: 256). The role of Aeolian islanders in the fruit and fishing sectors of the Australian economy was prominent well into the twentieth century.”

    I don’t suppose he’s related to Scap ;>)

    Dubliner, he may be Catholic but he doesn’t look like a member of Opus Dei.

  • Animus

    Fair Deal – I’m not saying you are criticising the choice. What I am saying is that regardless of the choice, you would criticise the NIO. I suspect they withheld the knowledge of the Catholic NGO to avoid frightening the horses. I didn’t mean to point such a finger at you so stridently, but I was expecting this from somewhere and conveniently you fit the bill. There is no one everyone would be happy with (Ian Paisley Jr said he would be happy with Hanson!) but as someone who will be closely involved, I am satisfied with this choice.

  • Nevin

    Establishment of the Forum, and the timeframe for it to convene its inaugural meeting was announced following discussions at St Andrews. Following a recent consultation on the Forum, the Government announced its final plans for the Forum on 12 December.

    The DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP each have 3 seats on the Forum and the Alliance Party has 2 seats.

    Civic Society is represented by Employers, Trade Unions, and Churches which each have 2 seats, as well as 1 representative from each of the following sectors: children and young people; people with disabilities; ethnic minorities; older people; people of different sexual orientations; women; and the community / voluntary sector as a whole.”

    Can we expect the exchanges in this forum to be hot and heavy? Will Sidote be as blunt with its members as he was with the Catholic Education Office: “And if you take Mr Sidote’s remarks to us as forthright, his report to the Attorney-General on this matter is just as uncompromising, at one point describing the Catholic church’s arguments as ‘gratuitous and scurrilous'”?

  • The Dubliner

    Nevin, he most certainly is a [b]devout[/b] Catholic. As he said: “I am a fundamentalist Christian.”

    [i]”What our fundamentals require:

    But first we must re-claim fundamentalism. I announce tonight that I am a fundamentalist Christian. It’s well past time for the New Fundamentalists to speak up.

    Our fundamental values are expressed throughout scripture, rarely better than in Micah.

    This is what God asks of you, only this: to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
    Justice, tenderness and humility require acceptance, respect, love and peace. The challenge of Micah is to proclaim and live these values in a world increasingly controlled by extremists, religious and ideological extremists, between faiths, between denominations or traditions within faiths and within faith communities.

    This week the world is at the precipice as the extremists contend, at the cost of ordinary people, as always, who struggle to survive amid the turmoil. No matter what happens the only winners will be the extremists, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. Tonight more than ever we are challenged to proclaim our choice, our alternative perspective, our fundamentals.

    May the God of our common parents Abraham and Sarah, the God of Jacob, Moses and David, the God of Mary, Peter and Paul, the God of the prophet Mohammad, blessings be upon him, and his followers, the God revealed in fullness and truth in Jesus Christ, look on us all with compassion.” – Chris Sidoti [/i]

    Google it. But you’ll have to click on google cache to get it, as it has strangely disappeared from the site that hosted his religious speech.

  • The Dubliner

    Just to make the point, Nevin, that appointing your self as unofficial spin-doctor for Chris Sidoti and playing down the importance of his faith to him serves no purpose other than duplicitous misrepresentation. Chris Sidoti proclaims himself “fundamentalist” in the sense that he adheres to fundamentally decent Christian values, not in any other sense. He is, however, a devout Catholic. Running around like Chicken Little thinking the shy will fall in if unionists hear tell of the shocking offence hardly shows your strong faith in the maturity of unionists, does it? They will tell us if they have ‘moved on’ from their sectarian bias or not.

  • Nevin

    “playing down the importance of his faith to him”

    ????????????

  • neefer

    Speaking of the Bill of Rights, any idea why the Human Rights Commission had nothing, absolutely nothing, to say about the Irish Language Act propoals?