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.
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.
The Australian Government has an opportunity to play a critical role in addressing the violence and discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people face across the globe, the Human Rights Law Centre told the UN Human Rights Council today.
The Turnbull Government’s second session as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN body responsible for protecting the rights and dignity of people all over the world, will begin in Geneva tomorrow.
In a statement delivered in the United Nations overnight, the Human Rights Law Centre has called on the UN Human Rights Council to hold the Turnbull Government accountable for the continued suffering of 1800 refugees still languishing on Manus and Nauru after almost five years.
As the United Nations debates Eritrea’s troubled human rights record, an Australian mining company has taken the extraordinary step of appearing with the Eritrean regime to help it defend its actions.
"Time and time again we see our Government getting all mealy-mouthed about global humanitarian emergencies when the country in question has some connection with its own refugee policies" - Our Daniel Webb reports from last night's important session of the UN Human Rights Council focusing on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.
In a statement to the United Nations, Human Rights Law Centre has called on the Turnbull Government to hold companies to account for human rights violations overseas.
Overnight the Australian Government delivered a major 'incoming members pledge' to the UN Human Rights Council, promising to approach it’s three year term on the Council "in a spirit of self-reflection with a view to improving our own human rights situation" and to "make progress in the promotion, protection and realisation of human rights", "including through implementation of [UN] recommendations and resolutions."
The Turnbull Government’s anti-democratic slide has been criticised at the United Nations Human Rights Council overnight, with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders delivering a major report on Australian democracy.
The Turnbull Government will tonight begin Australia’s first ever session as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the UN body responsible for protecting the rights and dignity of people all over the world.
The Australian Government has ratified an important UN torture prevention treaty. The Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) is a mechanism established to prevent cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in places of detention.