Friday, October 9, 2009

Human Rights Act for Australia

National Human Rights Consultation Report

On the 8th of October 2009, the National Human Rights Consultation Committee recommended that the Australian Government introduce a Human Rights Act for Australia. This is in response to lengthy campaigns on the issue and thanks to the record number of Australians who took part in our country’s largest public consultation on human rights. Over 87% of the 35,000 individual submissions and the 6,000 public roundtable participants reported that they wanted to have their human rights enshrined in national legislation.

The Committee has recommended that the Government publish a federal Human Rights Act with a comprehensible list of Australian rights and responsibilities based on our obligations from the seven international human rights treaties we have signed. These include civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights. Amnesty remains concerned, however, that the Report draws a distinction between the treatment of economic, cultural and social rights and the treatment of civil and political rights. We believe that all human rights are indivisible, interdependent and should be treated equally.

Commendable recommendations were made in regards to education, where the Committee recognised the importance of education in improving and promoting Human Rights in Australia. Also the Committee recommended strengthening the specific protection of Aboriginal and Torres Islanders rights and recognised their right to have meaningful control over their affairs.

Continued campaigning will be necessary to ensure that the Australian government heeds the proposals of the Committee and implements a comprehensive Human Rights Act that protects all Australians and truly reflects our international obligations.

If you wanted to have a look at the 500 page report (or at least the summary and recommendations) here is where you will find it:

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