Welcome to the Australian Human Rights Commission e-bulletin. Published monthly, this e-bulletin keeps you up-to-date with our programs, projects and news.
In this e-bulletin:
- National Conference for Supreme and Federal Court Judges
- Children’s Commissioner makes historic appearance at the United Nations
- Deadline looming for submissions to National Workplace Sexual Harassment Inquiry
- Citizenship bill weakens rights protections
- Matt Laffan Memorial Address
- Commission partners with World Economic Forum on AI
- 2019 Chinese New Year of the Pig
- See below for more...
Rosalind Croucher addressing the National Conference for Supreme and Federal Court Judges in Hobart
The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM addressed the National Conference for Supreme and Federal Court Judges in Hobart.
Professor Croucher told the conference, the Commission will lead a national conversation about human rights protections, with a National Summit planned this year.
“This is about reimagining our system of protections of human rights and freedoms, so that we can provide everyone with the opportunity to be the best they can be. In today’s world. Respectful of our federation. Respectful of our commitments to the international community. Respectful of the part that each of us, with the separation of powers, can play,” Professor Croucher said.
Read the President’s full address here (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/ahrc-roles-responsibilities...) .
Megan Mitchell in Geneva
The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell has appeared before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, to discuss her report on the state of children’s rights in Australia.
The report details the key human rights concerns for children and young people in Australia and was produced with help from almost 23,000 children, 100 stakeholders and 127 written submissions.
This is an historic occasion, as it’s the first time the National Children’s Commissioner has appeared at the United Nations.
Read Commissioner Megan Mitchell’s report here (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/childrens-rights/publications/re...) .
The National Inquiry headed by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins is accepting submissions online (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/have-your-say-national-inquiry-sexual-har...) until 28 February 2019.
The Commission has published a number of submissions on its website (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/projects/nati...) , where the author has indicated their submission can be made public.
Over the next month, the Inquiry team will be holding a series of consulations in Albury Wodonga and Sydney.
For more details and registrations visit the Inquiry website (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/projects/nati...) . Or please contact the National Inquiry team on (02) 9284 9750 or at SH.Inquiry@humanrights.gov.au (mailto:SH.Inquiry@humanrights.gov.au)
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow has told a parliamentary committee that enhanced citizenship stripping powers would weaken human rights protections and conflict with our obligations under international law.
“The consequences of statelessness are severe. A stateless person is denied all the rights and protections of citizenship. They face marginalisation, disempowerment and diminished human rights,” Commissioner Santow said.
“The Act currently requires that a person be a citizen of another country, whereas the Bill would lower this threshold. It would require only that the Minister is ‘satisfied’ that a person will not become stateless if their Australian citizenship is removed. This protection is inadequate.”
The Commission provided a written submission earlier this month, which outlined significant human rights concerns with the Bill.
The Commission’s written submission is available here (https://www.humanrights.gov.au/submissions/australian-citizenship-amendm...) .
Photo of Carly Findlay
On 27 February 2019, the Australian Human Rights Commission and Sydney Law School will co-host the Matt Laffan Memorial Address on Social Justice, in recognition of the 25th anniversary year of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Matt Laffan had severe disabilities, but he will be remembered most for his impressive abilities. With enormous enthusiasm for life, Matt grabbed opportunities and made the most of them.
Carly Findlay (http://carlyfindlay.com.au/) , writer and appearance activist, will deliver a memorial address to celebrate the significant impact Matt made in his short life. Her first book, Say Hello, was released last month. Tickets to this event are free, but registrations are essential. Register here. (https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/matt-laffan-memorial-address-on-social-j...)
The Australian Human Rights Commission has expressed continuing and deep concern about the abuse of young people in detention.
“The focus on punitive measures is failing young people. A much better approach is to focus on effective early intervention, prevention and diversion programs,” said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar.
The National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell, said Australia has around 900 children and young people in youth justice detention at any one time.
“This issue is clearly not restricted to one state or territory.
“Children and young people in youth justice detention are entitled to serve their time free from abuse.
Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said the Federal Government’s impending ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) is an important part of a national response to detention abuse.
The Chinese New Year festival celebrates the start of the year on the traditional Chinese calendar. 2019 is the Year of the Pig.
“For those who celebrate the event, I wish you all and your family a peaceful, happy, healthy and prosperous year, said the Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan.
- Reconciliation Barometer shows steady progress, but still work to do, Monday February 11
- Kimberley Suicide report must be turning point for Change, Thursday February 7
- Commissioner Chin Tan’s statement on St Kilda rally, Saturday January 5
It affects some of the most disadvantaged parents and children in Australia, with potentially severe financial and human rights impacts. This includes parents who are single mothers already living close to or below the poverty line, who rely on the Parenting Payment to afford basic necessities.
Download the Commission’s submission here.
- Specialist Advisor - SOGII, closing date 5pm Friday 15 February 2019
- Media Advisors, closing date 11pm Sunday 24 February 2019
- Communications Assistant, closing date 11.45pm Sunday 24 February 2019
Get involved - upcoming events
For the latest media releases, speeches, opinion pieces, go to the media centre on the Commission’s website and for events go to our Events list.