On Tuesday 10 November Australian Time, Australia’s human rights record will be under the microscope in Geneva as part of its second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It is expected that Indigenous and asylum seeker issues will come under particular scrutiny.
The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council which reviews the human rights records of all 192 United Nations Member States.
On 23 March 2015, the Law Council made a submission to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to assist in the review of Australia’s human rights record through the UPR.
The Law Council’s submission focuses on the most pertinent rule of law issues in Australia: equality, freedom from arbitrary detention, fair hearing rights and democratic freedoms.
The Law Council has called on the Australian Government, in accordance with its previous UPR commitments, to implement measures to address the factors which lead to overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in prison. Indigenous Australians are imprisoned around 15 times the rate of non-indigenous.
With respect to the rights of asylum seekers, the Law Council has called upon the Australian Government to ensure that, in accordance with its previous UPR commitments, the processing of claims are in accordance with the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and that detention only occurs when strictly necessary.
To date, the Australian Government has only fully implemented 10% of the recommendations that it accepted as part of the last UPR.
The Law Council will be encouraging the Australian Government to progress the recommendations which will be arising from this second cycle of the UPR.
Michael Hartmann, Director of Communications
P. 02 6246 3715 // M. 0438 081 968 E. Michael.Hartmann@lawcouncil.asn.au // www.lawcouncil.asn.au