Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' Rights
Our vision is a legal system free from racial inequality and discrimination and that upholds the paramount importance of dignity, equality and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to self-determination.
Our work is both responsive and agenda-setting, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to identify significant and systemic human rights issues.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' Rights Impact Area focuses on the following priorities:
Reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all aspects of the criminal justice system including issues relating to imprisonment rates, police powers, conditions in detention and the nexus between the child protection system and over-representation;
Ensuring access to basic social and economic rights in remote Indigenous communities, including in particular the rights to education and housing; and
Promoting in particular, the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, children and young people in these focus areas.
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Right now, across Australia, Aboriginal people are being killed by police.
We’d like to send our condolences to Kumanjayi Walker’s family. Just this weekend, Kumanjayi, a young 19 year old Aboriginal man, was shot and killed by police in his home.
“We know that our mum died in custody because police targeted her for being drunk in public and then failed to properly care for her after they locked her up. We know that racism was a cause of our mum’s death. Both individual police officers and Victoria Police as a whole must be held to account. Without accountability, more Aboriginal people will die in custody.”
Shocking stories of police brutally show the need for immediate action by the Andrews Government to provide Victoria’s police corruption watchdog (IBAC) the power and tools it needs to independently investigate serious police misconduct, so that police are not investigating their own.
A proposed law that would allow the Morrison Government to force a new form of income control onto thousands of people in the Northern Territory should be rejected, the Human Rights Law Centre has told a Senate Committee.
UN child rights experts have called on all Australian Governments to raise the age at which they can lock children up from 10 to 14 years and to ban the use of solitary confinement and the use of force including restraints on children.
The Morrison Government’s attempt to force a new form of income control in the Northern Territory should be opposed, the Human Rights Law Centre has told a Senate Committee inquiring into the Bill.
A landmark, new standard has been set in international human rights guidelines with the expert UN Child Rights Committee recommending laws be changed to ensure that children under the age of 16 years "may not legally be deprived of their liberty".
Press Conference: The family of Tanya Day will read a statement and take questions from the media at 3:45pm today in Melbourne.
Watch the statement a 12 year old Arrernte/Garrwa child from central Australia delivered to the UN Human Rights Council.
This week at the United Nations in Geneva, the Committee on the Rights of the Child is reviewing the Australian Government’s track record when it comes to upholding and protecting the rights of children.
Tomorrow in Geneva, a 12 year old Arrernte/Garrwa boy from central Australia, will give a heartfelt speech at the world’s peak human rights body with a simple message for Australian governments: stop sending 10 year old children to to prison.
The Coroner investigating the death in police custody of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day has released the CCTV footage of the moment when Tanya Day fell and hit her head when she was locked in a police cell in Castlemaine.
The coronial inquest into the death in police custody of Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day, commences today.
In the week before the inquest into Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day’s death in police custody, the Andrews Government has announced that it will abolish the offence of public drunkenness and replace it with an Aboriginal-led, public health response.
Newly obtained data shows that in one month, 403 strip searches were conducted on children at two youth prisons in NSW. Only one item – a ping pong ball – was found as a result of these strip searches.
The Queensland Government’s decision to move kids out of police watch houses “as soon as humanly possible” is welcomed, but the Human Rights Law Centre calls on the Government to publicly commit to a long-term solution so that no child is warehoused in a police watch house again.
During NAIDOC week, the Human Rights Law Centre is joining the National Peak Body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) to call on the Federal Government to commit to retaining the Indigenous Legal Assistance Program (ILAP).
King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) and The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Law Faculty have announced the launch of an internship program specifically for Indigenous students studying law at the university.
This week the United Nations heard a scathing statement about a discriminatory Federal Government parenting scheme that targets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and single mothers.
Overnight the United Nations Human Rights Council heard of the alarming rates at which Australian governments are imprisoning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
The Coroner in the inquest into Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day’s death in police custody has agreed to look at whether systemic racism played a role in Ms Day’s treatment and ultimate death.
In collaboration with international NGOs, the Human Rights Law Centre has written to UN member countries to plea for the UN’s human rights mechanisms to be adequately funded.
I woke up this morning thinking of the men and women still held by the Australian Government on Manus and Nauru after six long years.
Thinking of First Nations people, LGBTIQ communities, migrant communities and others.
Tonight’s Four Corners investigation, Inside the Watch House, raises serious questions about whether the Queensland Government is breaching its own laws by warehousing children in police cells designed for adults.
The hearing in the coronial inquest into Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day’s death in police custody continues today, as new data shows that at the time of Tanya Day’s death in 2017, Aboriginal women were 10 times more likely to be targeted for public drunkenness than non-Indigenous women.
The third directions hearing into the tragic death in police custody of Yorta Yorta woman, Tanya Day, will be held on Tuesday 30 April.
People in prison in Western Australia were subjected to close to 1 million strip searches over the past 5 years, a shocking report by the Independent Inspector of Custodial Services has found.
The Human Rights Law Centre will today provide a submission to a Northern Territory Parliamentary Committee supporting landmark reforms to youth justice laws, however arguing that the Government should follow through with its promise to raise the age of criminal responsibility.
On the anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, over 80 Aboriginal, health, human rights, housing, legal and women’s organisations are calling on Premier Andrews to abolish the offence of public drunkenness – a key recommendation of the Royal Commission.
The Human Rights Law Centre joined community organisations to call on the Parliament not to rush to pass more income tax cuts before the elections, and to reverse those already legislated to go to high income-earners after 2020.