The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed moves by Australia and New Zealand police services to tackle racism and improve engagement with racially and culturally diverse communities.
In a joint initiative, Australia and New Zealand Police jurisdictions and the Australian and New Zealand Human Rights Commissions, have developed anti-racism and cultural diversity principles.
Over the next few months, the partners will develop anti-racism and cultural diversity training guidelines for police.
The principles, published on the Australian New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency website, support the elimination of racism and promote equitable, diverse and inclusive police services.
The Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan said the principles affirm the leadership and commitment shown by Police Commissioners and police organisations around the country to combat racism and promote cultural diversity.
“Anti-racism should be embedded in organisational culture. These principles reflect what police should be striving for in their work.
“Support for the principles – which include references to police training, unconscious bias, community participation and recruitment – is an important step forward,” Commissioner Tan said.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO has also welcomed the release of the principles.
“This is a significant development and I am excited to see the outcome of this process.
“I recently met with Police Commissioners from across the country to talk about improving relations between police and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“So much of racism, which includes prejudice, biased decision-making and judgement comes from making assumptions. We all can make damaging assumptions about who a person is, when we don’t understand history and the lived realities; when we can’t see how the past is connected to now.
“When we get to know a person’s story all of that can change. By understanding the ramifications of the past, and how trauma and inequality is transmitted from one generation to the next, we can stop racism and all forms of discrimination and fundamentally transform our relationships,” Commissioner Oscar said.
Commissioner Oscar and Commissioner Tan both acknowledged the work on the anti-racism principles was started by the former Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who finished his term earlier this year.
Download the anti-racism and cultural diversity principles here http://www.anzpaa.org.au/about/general-publications/anti-racism-principles
Photo: A. VanLeen, OpenPhoto