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Freedom, Respect, Equality, Dignity: Action

The most up to date overview of human rights issues in Australia is “Freedom, Respect, Equality, Dignity: Action”, the major NGO Report to the UN Human Rights Committee regarding Australia’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Report was contributed to by over 50 NGOs with specific human rights and subject matter expertise, and is supported in whole or in part, by over 200 NGOs, including Rights Australia. It is available in the “Facts and Statistics” section, or at the Human Rights Law Resource Centre’s website.

60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. Dr HV Evatt, Australia’s Minister for External Affairs in the Chifley Labor Government, was the President of the General Assembly and chaired the session at which the UDHR was passed. Australia was one of the eight States given responsibility for drafting the Declaration and so it was fitting that its Minister chaired the session that adopted it.

In 2008, the United Nations is observing a 60th anniversary year that will culminate with the anniversary itself on 10 December 2008. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on States to undertake their own programs of activities to mark the anniversary. The Rudd Labor Government could adopt a package of important human rights initiatives for Australia’s observance. This short paper proposes elements for that package.