The following overview of rights and freedoms draws on material prepared by the Attorney-General’s Department in consultation with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Civil and Political Rights
- Right to self-determination (ICCPR Article 1)
- Rights to equality and non-discrimination (ICCPR Article 2.1, 26; ICESCR Article 2.1; CERD; CEDAW; CAT; CROC; CRPD)
- Human rights and non-citizens (ICCPR Articles 2.1, 13)
- Legislative and other measures for implementation (ICCPR Article 2.2; ICESCR Article 2.1; CERD; CEDAW; CAT; CROC; CRPD)
- Right to an effective remedy (ICCPR Article 2.3)
- Permissible limitations on rights
- Equal rights of men and women (ICCPR Article 3; ICESCR Article 3; CEDAW)
- Derogation from rights in emergencies (ICCPR Article 4)
- Non-diminution of rights (ICCPR Article 5; ICESCR Article 5)
- Right to life (ICCPR Article 6)
- Freedom from torture or cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment (ICCPR Article 7; CAT)
- Freedom from slavery and forced labour (ICCPR Article 8)
- Security of the person and freedom from arbitrary detention (ICCPR Article 9)
- Right to humane treatment in detention (ICCPR Article 10)
- Prohibition on imprisonment for inability to fulfil a contract (ICCPR Article 11)
- Right to freedom of movement (ICCPR Article 12)
- Fair trial and fair hearing rights (ICCPR Article 14.1)
- Minimum guarantees in criminal proceedings (ICCPR Articles 14.2 - 14.7)
- Prohibition on retrospective criminal laws (ICCPR Article 15)
- Right to recognition as a person (ICCPR Article 16; CRPD Article 12)
- Freedom from interference with privacy, family, home or reputation (ICCPR Article 17)
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief (ICCPR Article 18)
- Freedom of information, opinion and expression (ICCPR Article 19)
- Prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred (ICCPR Article 20; CERD Article 4)
- Freedom of assembly (ICCPR Article 21)
- Freedom of association (ICCPR Article 22; ICESCR Article 8)
- Right to respect for the family (ICCPR Article 23.1)
- Right to marry and found a family (ICCPR Article 23.2)
- Rights of parents and children (ICCPR Article 24; CRC)
- Right to name and nationality (ICCPR Article 24; CERD; CEDAW; CRC; CRPD)
- Right to take part in public affairs, voting rights and access to public service (ICCPR Article 25)
- Rights of members of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities (ICCPR Article 27)
Rights of Indigenous people
The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples articulates the rights of Indigenous peoples. Detailed information is available in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice section of this website.
In addition to the general requirements of non-discrimination in Article 2 of the ICCPR and ICESCR, Article 3 of both Covenants requires parties to ensure and promote equal enjoyment of rights for women. These rights and requirements are set in more detail in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Detailed information on the Commission's work is available in the Sex Discrimination section of this website.
- Children's rights
Rights of people with a disability
People with disability are covered by the Human Rights Covenants through the Covenants’ reference to rights for "all individuals", and without discrimination of "any kind" including on the basis of "other status".
- The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights has included the rights of persons with disability among its General Comments.
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child was the first of the main human rights treaties to deal expressly with rights of people with a disability
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities addresses in detail a wide range of rights including civil, political, economic social, and cultural rights. It confirms that these rights apply to people with disability; provides more detail on what some rights mean in the context of disability (for example regarding accessibility and independent living); and sets out in more detail than other human rights instruments what obligations governments have.
Detailed information is available in the Disability Rights section of this website.
Rights of older persons
The existing human rights treaties apply to older people as a matter of law because they recognise rights for "all" individuals and without "any" discrimination.
- The United Nations has adopted a range of non-binding instruments on the rights of older persons including the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.
- The Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights has included the rights of older persons among its General Comments. The Committee on Human Rights has not done so at this point.
Further information is available in the Age Discrimination section of this website.
The existing human rights treaties apply to all people, and include human rights issues regarding sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex people.
Further information is available in the Sexuality, Sex and Gender Identity section of this website.