Respect for international human rights and the rule of law is essential for a fair, just and secure global community. Australia played a leading role in the establishment of the United Nations human rights framework and it is in our national interest to be a good global human rights citizen.
UN Human Rights Council
Australia was elected for a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Council in October 2017. The Council is the UN body responsible for protecting the rights and dignity of people all over the world. Made up of 47 States the inter-governmental body meets three times a year. The Human Rights Law Centre will attend every day of the Council sessions and provide regular updates on the Australian Government’s actions.
The Human Rights Law Centre works to ensure that Australia engages positively and constructively with United Nations human rights bodies. We also work to ensure that Australia respects, implements and is held to account for its international human rights obligations both at home and abroad.
The Australian Government has used its voice at the UN Human Rights Council to raise concerns of serious human rights abuses committed by Saudi authorities.
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".
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 Human Rights Law Centre joined 14 other non-governmental organisations to express concern about the governments of Human Rights Council members attacking and discrediting UN experts when human rights abuses by Council members are called out.
The Human Rights Law Centre and Equality Australia have joined over 1300 non-governmental organisations from 174 countries in calling for the renewal of the UN role focusing on the rights of LGBTQ people around the world.
The UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture announced they will visit Australia to shine a light on abuses in places of detention, including adult prisons, youth prisons, police lock-ups and immigration detention facilities.
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.
Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a refugee and human rights defender, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva overnight to call out the Morrison Government’s continued cruel treatment of over 800 people still held on Nauru and Manus Island.
UN experts have once again urged the Australian Government to immediately provide healthcare to over 800 refugees in its care on Manus and Nauru and transfer those identified as requiring urgent care to Australia.
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.
The Morrison Government has failed to sign on to an International Women’s Day statement at the United Nations calling for access to safe abortions, comprehensive sexuality education and sexual reproductive health.
On International Women’s Day the UN will hear that the Australian Government is penalising single mothers with babies as young as six months through a punitive program that is making life harder for parents.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, used her address to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council to highlight some of the world’s worst human rights abuses and called out the Australian Government’s treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a refugee and human rights defender, who has spent nearly six years detained by the Australian Government on Manus Island, overnight addressed the UN Human Rights Council to highlight the Morrison Government’s inhumane treatment of people seeking asylum.
The decision from Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, to impose targeted financial sanctions and travel bans against five Myanmar military officers responsible for human rights violations committed by units under their command has been welcomed by the Australian Council for International Development and the Human Rights Law Centre.
The Australian Government should immediately end its engagement with Myanmar’s military and impose sanctions on abusive military generals, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Australian Council for International Development said in a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council overnight.
“As the Australian Government sits here on this Council, professing its commitment to human rights, it is indefinitely imprisoning 102 children in its offshore refugee camp on Nauru,” Daniel Webb told the UN Human Rights Council.
The Australian Government should immediately end military ties with Myanmar, Australia’s foremost international human rights and development organisations jointly said today. They called on the Australian government to impose targeted sanctions on military commanders responsible for atrocities committed against ethnic Rohingya, and to press for an international mechanism to assist future prosecutions.
The new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has used her maiden speech at the UN Human Rights Council to condemn the Australian Government’s indefinite offshore detention regime.
The Australian Government has been urged to improve its track record on women’s rights overnight by an expert UN Committee on women’s rights.
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women made its criticism after a robust review earlier this month to assess Australia’s progress on ending discrimination against women.
The UN’s expert committee on discrimination against women has raised a series of concerns about the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer women and girls in Australia.
Indigenous advocate, Keenan Mundine, a former youth prisoner and principal consultant of Inside Out Aboriginal Justice Consultancy, has travelled to Geneva to address the UN Human Rights Council about the Turnbull Government’s failure to stop ten year old children being sent to prison.
The Australian Government will face intense scrutiny of its treatment of women and girls in next week at the United Nations.
Following the UN Human Rights Chief’s condemnation of Donald Trump’s brutality to children at the US border, the Turnbull Government’s indefinite detention of 134 refugee children has been called out at the UN Human Rights Council overnight.
Australian governments should respect a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body by removing abortion from criminal laws the Human Rights Law Centre told the UN Human Rights Council in a statement delivered in Geneva overnight.
Australian governments should end the routine strip searching of women in prison the Human Rights Law Centre has told the UN Human Rights Council in a statement delivered in Geneva overnight.
The Trump administration has announced that it will quit the UN Human Rights Council, effective immediately. Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, who is in Geneva for the current session of the Human Rights Council, said the move was widely expected by advocates and diplomats and is the latest step in the United States’ retreat from human rights and multilateralism.