National day of action highlights need for human rights focus from candidates at the Federal election

Amnesty International Australia supporters will hold events right around the country in a National Day of Action to urge candidates in the Federal Election to address human rights in their policy platforms.

Activists from across the country will be uniting online to write to candidates about the importance of upholding and advocating for human rights on Saturday May 7.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crisis have laid bare the devastating consequences of abuse of power, structurally and historically,” Amnesty International Australia National Director, Sam Klintworth, said. “These crises may not define who we are, but it has shown us what we should not be. The foundations for a sustainable, post-pandemic society rest not merely on recovery. It requires accountability, human rights, and a reshaping of our relationship to our environment, economy and each other.”

“This Federal Election is one where we must as a matter of urgency ask our elected representatives to address the critical issues of our time, including the climate emergency and First Nations peoples rights.”

“Amnesty International is calling on the next Australian Government to put human rights – both here at home and abroad – at the heart of all policy decisions and to re-establish Australia’s place in the world as a free, fair and caring country and a human rights leader,” Klintworth said.

Australia played a crucial role in developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. But Australia today remains the only liberal democracy without overarching human rights protection, and issues of racism, discrimination, children’s rights and the right to seek asylum, among others, continue to beleaguer our society.

“At their core, human rights are about respecting the dignity of every one of us. Human rights matter because someone’s quality of life should not be determined by factors beyond their control – race, gender, socio-economic background, sexuality or age. The work of government is central to whether and how these rights are protected.”

Amnesty International’s Human Rights Agenda is calling on politicians and the next Federal Government to, among other things:

  • Legislate a National Human Rights Act to protect and promote dignity, equality and respect for all peoples in Australia;
  • Increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years of age and stop trapping children in the quicksand of the criminal justice system;
  • Increase the annual refugee resettlement intake to at least 30,000 people and end the system of offshore detention a
  • Strengthen 2030 carbon emissions target and significantly accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels, including coal and gas