Election to the UN Human Rights Council means Australia must end human rights hypocrisy

With Australia’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council last night in Geneva, Amnesty International is calling on the Australian Government to end its hypocrisy on human rights at home.

Despite its election to the Council, Australia continues its inherently abusive offshore detention regime, and oversees astronomical rates of Indigenous incarceration.

“If we’re serious about being a human rights leader we need to lead by example, instead of trampling on the rights of people fleeing persecution and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

Michael Hayworth, Campaigns Manager at Amnesty International Australia.

“If we’re serious about being a human rights leader we need to lead by example, instead of trampling on the rights of people fleeing persecution and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,said Michael Hayworth, Campaigns Manager at Amnesty International Australia.

“Leadership comes with consistency. We can’t say one thing on one hand and give whole hearted commitment to some human rights agendas while carrying out policies of deliberate abuse on the other. It’s completely hypocritical.”

Instead of offering protection to people who came to Australia seeking safety, Australia has subjected them to four years of suffering in its abusive offshore facilities on Manus Island and Nauru.

Australia locks up Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children 25 times more than non-Indigenous children. Cases of self-harm or abuse of Indigenous children have been reported in children’s prisons in every state and territory.

“Australia must demonstrate that it will be a principled, effective and accountable Human Rights Council member. It must protect the rights of Indigenous children, and refugees and people seeking asylum under Australia’s policies,” said Michael Hayworth.

On being elected onto the Human Rights Council, Amnesty International is calling on Australia to commit to:   

  • Funding and implementing a measurable national plan to end the overrepresentation of Indigenous young people in the criminal justice system. This includes setting justice targets alongside the existing Closing the Gap targets and reporting on them annually.
  • Working constructively with the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives and peak bodies. The Government must address the priorities set out in the Redfern Statement.This calls for a more just approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.
  • Ending Australia’s cruel practice of mandatory offshore processing and detention.
  • Immediately bringing refugees and asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia for processing and protection.
  • Increase Australia’s annual refugee resettlement intake to at least 30,000 people, prioritising those selected by UNHCR.
  • Ensuring people who seek asylum in Australia are treated humanely. They must have their asylum claims assessed in a timely, fair and efficient manner, irrespective of their mode of arrival.
  • Ending Australia’s moratorium on resettling refugees that have arrived in Indonesia after 1 July 2014.
  • Working with other countries to adopt a responsibility-sharing approach to managing the flow of people seeking asylum and refugees.
  • Supporting and advocating for increased humanitarian assistance, assistance for hosting countries. Improving capability for search and rescue and safe disembarkation at sea. Providing more efficient and effective refugee status determination and resettlement processes. Expanding other safe pathways for refugees to access protection (eg. through skilled migration, family reunion, student visas etc).
Profile Picture