The Australian government is being criticized by human rights organizations for not approving a visa application for Chelsea Manning.
Manning was scheduled to speak at a series of events, but will now instead appear via video-link from New Zealand from September 7 and September 11 by event organizer Think Inc.
You might remember Manning who was imprisoned for seven years for leaking classified U.S. military document in 2010. She was released in 2017 after her original 35-year sentence was commuted by President Obama.
Several human rights groups have voiced their displeasure at the Australian government for not approving Manning’s visa application, stating it’s restriction on freedom of speech.
Claire Mallinson, Amnesty International Australia’s national director, said: “By failing to approve a visa for Chelsea Manning, our government has silenced an important voice on human rights and in doing so sends a message to the people of Australia, and to the international community, that this new Australian government places little value on freedom of speech.”
Manning will speak about being a whistleblower, LGBT, and human rights activist.
The executive director of the Human Rights Law Center Hugh de Kretser said: “As a democracy, we should be encouraging not banning contributions from people like Chelsea Manning.
“This is yet another example highlighting the need for far stronger checks and balances over the Minister’s powers under migration laws.”
Paul Oosting, national director of left-wing lobby group Getup!, said the decision amounted to “denying Australians the opportunity to engage in conversation with a renowned human rights whistleblower.”