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Human Rights report welcomed by the Australian Human Rights Commission

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The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has today welcomed the release of National Human Rights Consultation Committee’s Report.

Commission President, Cathy Branson QC, said the Committee's report was the result of one of the largest public consultations in Australia’s history.

“The report emphatically demonstrates that human rights matter to Australians, wherever they live, and that they want our government to make sure that rights are better protected and better understood,” President Branson said.

“We must now act on the report's findings to bring human rights home.”

Ms Branson welcomed the report’s major recommendations that the Australian Government focus on human rights education and adopt a federal Human Rights Act.

“The Commission wholeheartedly agrees with the Committee’s recommendation that education should be the highest priority if human rights are to be meaningful and embraced by the whole community,” she said.

“The report clearly signals that people in Australia, at present, do not sufficiently understand their human rights.

“A Human Rights Act for Australia is another very important step towards making sure that human rights are better protected in Australia.”

However, Ms Branson said she was disappointed with the Committee's recommendations relating to economic, social and cultural rights.

“These rights, such as the right to the highest attainable standard of health care, adequate housing and education, touch the every day lives of all Australians,” she said.

"As the report details, these issues were consistently raised across the country as major areas of concern. They should not be treated differently from other human rights.

“What we want is very simple: a nation where the basic human dignity of all people is respected, where our government decision-makers always think about the human rights impacts of their decisions, and where people whose human rights are breached can do something about it.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission stands ready to take a leadership role in addressing the challenges laid out in the report and we are committed to working with the federal government and the community to ensure strengthened and sustainable human rights protections for all Australians,” Ms Branson said.

For the Australian Human Rights Commission’s submission to the National Consultation go to:
www.humanrights.gov.au/legal/submissions/2009/200906_NHRC.html

Media contact: Louise McDermott 0419 258 597


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