22 February 2008

Human rights explained in new fact sheets

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) today released a series of fact sheets to assist university students, senior high school students and their teachers to understand human rights.

"Human rights affect everyone, everywhere, every day, but many people are not sure of their meaning, and the implications of protecting them," said Australian Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes.

Noting a shortage of information in this area, Mr Innes said "our aim is to make this complex topic easy to understand.

“Students can use the fact sheets as research tools, and teachers can utilise them as resources.”

There are a total of eight fact sheets available on the HREOC website at: www.humanrights.gov.au/education/hr_explained/index.html

They are:

  • 1.      Defining human rights
  • 2.      Human rights origins
  • 3.      Human rights philosophies
  • 4.      The emergence of rights in law
  • 5.      The international bill of rights
  • 6.      How states commit to human rights treaties
  • 7.      Australia and human rights treaties
  • 8.      Promoting and protecting human rights in the UN system.

The fact sheets are supported by:

  • Case Studies: Complaints about Australia to the Human Rights Committee, and
  • Human Rights secondary sources reference list.

"2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Mr Innes said.  “It is important that we ensure people, particularly young people, understand human rights, and what their protection means to their lives, and the lives of others".

The Commissioner said that the easily understood fact sheets will encourage teachers to include human rights studies in classroom discussion and debate.

The HREOC website also has a students section located at www.humanrights.gov.au/info_for_students/index.html

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529