A large coalition of Australian non-government organisations has written a letter to the Australian Government encouraging it to consider making a number of “voluntary commitments” ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of Australia in January 2011. As part of the UPR process, states are encouraged to make “voluntary commitments”, which are concrete pledges to take certain action to promote human rights prior to appearing before the UPR. The letter identifies that making voluntary commitments is an opportunity for Australia to demonstrate international human rights leadership through tangible, concrete means.
The NGO coalition has proposed 19 specific, achievable pledges in the following areas:
- Australia’s general legal framework;
- equality and non-discrimination laws;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights;
- women’s rights;
- immigration and asylum seeker laws;
- people with disability;
- housing and homelessness; and
- Australia’s international aid and development assistance.