The Australian Government has a legal obligation to implement key human rights reforms, according to a new submission from the Human Rights Law Centre. The submission [and annexure] to the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department considers each of 145 recommendations made to Australia by the international community during Australia's Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council.
The recommendations ranged from enacting a comprehensive national Human Rights Act, to recognising same-sex marriage, to enshrining Indigenous and racial equality rights in the Constitution, to abolishing mandatory immigration detention.
The Centre's submission considers each of these recommendations in terms of Australia's concrete obligations under international human rights law and identifies whether, on that basis, they must be accepted, should be accepted, or should be rejected.
According to a legal analysis of the recommendations conducted by the Human Rights Law Centre, the Australian Government must immediately implement at least 55 of the UPR recommendations in order for Australia to avoid continuing breaches of its legal obligations under international law. The HRLRC's media release is available in [PDF] and [word].
Australian NGO Coalition
The Centre has also been involved in the coordination of a major NGO Coalition submission to the Attorney-General's Department regarding prioritisation and practical implementation of the 145 recommendations.
The Australian Government has committed to fully consider the recommendations “in the coming months” and to formally respond to them at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June. Australia’s response presents both a test and an opportunity for the protection of human rights at home and the enhancement of our international standing and reputation abroad.
For further information about Australia’s Universal Periodic Review, click here.