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Australia: A 'Historic' Ruling On Offshore Detention

Australia's controversial policy of diverting immigrants to tiny Pacific Islands dominated the Australian media Thursday, after country's highest court ruled it was legal for the government to fund and participate in offshore detention. The Sydney Morning Herald juxtaposed a photograph of an immigrant baby with the faces and votes of the High Court's seven justices in what the newspaper called a "historic" ruling.

The failed court challenge — brought by the Human Rights Law Center (HRLC) — focused on the legality of the Australian government to detain people on foreign soil. Australia has for years embarked on a controversial policy in the face of migrants and refugees trying to arrive on the island nation by boat. It intercepts the boats, and places the would-be immigrants in detention on small, relatively poor Pacific island nations.

The islands of Nauru and Manus have been the main destinations in the detention program, and more than 1,400 individuals, including some 70 children, are currently being held on the island while awaiting their claims to be processed, ABC News reports.

The HRLC brought the case on behalf of 260 people — mainly women and children — who had been transported to Australia for medical care. Wednesday's judgment legally entitles Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to send these individuals back to Nauru. According to UNICEF, the group includes women who have been sexually assaulted, 54 children and 37 babies born on Australian soil.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Putin Has Been Quietly Cleansing All Things Ukrainian From Russia

Russia's 2021 census showed a record drop in the number of Ukrainians living in Russia. But the cleansing of everything Ukrainian, including language and culture, started long before Putin's invasion.

photo of a protester wearing a ukrainian flag mask

Protester at a anti-war rally in Hong Kong on Jan. 25

Sonya Savina

The 2021 Russian Population Census showed a record reduction in the number of Ukrainians living in Russia. The figure has halved since the last census just over a decade ago in 2010.

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While experts question the results of the census, the same trend has been recorded by a number of other studies, demographers, and representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora themselves.

Independent Russian news outlet Vazhnyye Istorii has revealed how the Russian authorities began the eradication of Ukrainian identity from citizens within Russia long before the full-scale invasion. Its origin goes back to the very beginning of Vladimir Putin's presidency.

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