Chris Sidoti - Secretary, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
In welcoming participants to the Commission's first annual consultation with NGOs, Chris Sidoti said that the Commission saw three main objectives for the meeting:
(a) to maximize exchange of opinions
(b) to promote an increased awareness of the breadth of the field of action covered by human rights
(c) to discuss possibilities for co-operative action.
Participants from NGOs and from the Commission introduced themselves (attendance list attachment 1).
Chris Sidoti stated that the meeting represented the culmination for the Commission of a 12 month process of developing a strategy for working with the community through non-government organizations. The meeting was the major opportunity for exchange of views envisaged by that strategy, although the Commission also consulted with NGOs on an ongoing basis. The major aim was for the Commission to hear the priorities of the NGOs represented. He emphasized that the meeting was not a formal program setting exercise; nonetheless it formed part of the Commission's planning process.
The first part of the program would present an overview of the human rights field. This, necessarily, would not be highly detailed, but it was important for all participants to have an opportunity to see a composite picture of the Commission's areas of responsibility and concern.