As Amnesty International marks 60 years relentlessly challenging injustice and defending human rights, a poll of 1,600 Australians has found 76% of people support the introduction of a National Human Rights Act.
With many expressing surprise that Australia is the only liberal democracy without such an Act, there is also confusion over what rights are protected here in Australia.
The strong support for a National Human Rights Act also highlights that most people agree human rights are a fundamental entitlement for everyone and would protect the most vulnerable in society.
Committing to a Human Rights Act would provide a mechanism to address ongoing systemic racism, tackle climate justice and protect the most vulnerable as we recover from the social and economic costs of the COVID pandemic.
Sam Klintworth, National Director of Amnesty International Australia said: “A discussion around the need for a Human Rights Act seems particularly pertinent today given some of the challenging issues we are facing such as Australians stranded overseas due to Covid-19, the right to protest being suppressed by authorities and police overreach, kids as young as ten – the majority Indigenous – being locked up and the Government’s ongoing cruel policies towards refugees.
“Amnesty International was founded in 1961 on the idea that together ordinary people can change the world. Today Amnesty is a worldwide movement for human rights, calling on the collective power of 10 million people, each one committed to fighting for justice, equality and freedom everywhere.
“As we look back at 60 years of Amnesty defending the human rights of the most vulnerable in our society, the need for protection through a Human Rights Act seems more pressing than ever.”