ACT Supreme Court Considers Interpretative Provision of Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)

Capital Property Projects (ACT) Pty Ltd v Planning and Land Authority [2006] ACTSC 122 (15 December 2006) The ACT Supreme Court has recently considered the application of s 30(1) of the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT), which provides that, ‘In working out the meaning of a Territory law, an interpretation that is consistent with human rights is as far as possible to be preferred.’ 

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Lack of Adequate Health Care for Prisoners may Amount to Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Holomiov v Moldova, (Application No 30649/05), 7 November 2006 (European Court of Human Rights) The European Court of Human Rights has found a violation of art 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights on account of the authorities’ failure to provide a prisoner with medical care appropriate to his conditions.

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UN Human Rights Committee Finds Australia in Breach of Right to Freedom of Expression; Comments on Obligations of States and Territories

Coleman v Australia, HRC, Communication No 1157/2003, UN Doc CCPR/C/87/D/1157/2003 (10 August 2006)

In a decision with important ramifications for the human rights obligations of federal, state and local governments and officials, the UN Human Rights Committee (‘Committee’) has concluded that the application of a Queensland law and a Townsville bylaw impermissibly restricted the complainant’s right to freedom of expression, placing Australian breach of its obligations under the ICCPR.

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Edging Forwards on Arbitrary Detention; Sliding Backwards on Children’s Rights

D and E v Australia, HRC, Communication No 1050/2002, UN Doc CCPR/C/87/D/1050/2002 (25 July 2006)

The UN Human Rights Committee (‘the Committee’) recently handed down its latest in a string of decisions concerning Australia’s policy of mandatory immigration detention.  The authors of the complaint were two Iranian nationals who, together with their two children, arrived in Australiaby boat in November 2000.  Pursuant to Australia’s policy, the four were held in immigration detention for a total of three years and two months.  During their period of mandatory detention, the relevant provisions of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) effectively precluded judicial review of the lawfulness of their detention, while their applications for asylum were rejected.  The four were ultimately granted Global Special Humanitarian visas on 13 March 2006.

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Right of a child to a fair trial without unreasonable delay

Perovic v CW, No CH 05/1046, ACT Children’s Court, Unreported (1 June 2006)

This case concerned the right of a child to a fair trial without unreasonable delay under the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT).  After considering jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights, the Magistrate held that there had been an unreasonable delay contrary to the human right enshrined in the Act and ordered a permanent stay of proceedings.

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UN Human Rights Committee Rules that Australian Prison Conditions Violate Human Rights of Indigenous Prisoner

Brough v Australia, HRC, Communication No 1184/2003 (17 March 2006)

In March this year, the UN Human Rights Committee (‘HRC’) published a landmark finding concerning alleged breaches of articles 2(3) (right to an effective remedy), 7 (right to freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment), 10 (rights of persons deprived of their liberty) and 24 (right to adequate protection for children) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’) in a New South Wales prison.

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