Public Forum on National Consulation of Human Rights – To Act or not to Act ?

7 Apr

The public forum on whether Australia should incorporate a national human rights act, hosted by Minister for Housing and Minister for the Status of Women,  Tanya Plibersek is part of a series of the national human rights consultation process activities.

The invited speakers from a wide range of fields include Mary Kostakidis, a former television presenter, journalist and member of the National Human Rights Consultation committee; Emily Gray, the covenor for Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby; Robin Banks, the CEO of Public Interest and Advocacy Centre (PIAC); Joanne Nickel, activist for people with disabilities; and human rights veteran Howard Glenn.

Kostakidis outlined the three main concerns of this consultation process, namely: which human rights ought to be protected?; whether they are sufficiently protected; and how can Australia better protect these rights?

Nickel pointed out that the discrimination she faces as a person with disability requires not just the enactment of anti-discrimination policies but also general education. Gray describes her coming out experience to her family and contrasts it with the violence and discrimination that some gays and lesbians face on a daily basis whether at work or in school. Glenn feels that there is a need to strengthen the machinery of the protection of human rights and this includes additional funding for the human rights commission. Banks stresses that new perspectives on human rights can be achieved in this consultation process. Therefore, she urged the audience to think of those who are likely to be most vulnerable and least likely to be protected under current human rights norms.

To find out more about the consultation process, a copy of the National Human Rights Consultation toolkit can be accessed from the National Human Rights Commission.


One Response to “Public Forum on National Consulation of Human Rights – To Act or not to Act ?”

  1. Dr Tomas Eric Nordlander April 7, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    How Family responsible for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of ChiId Rights

    In several part of the world, child protection laws have been undergoing review, as societies approach to terms with the area of the problem of child abuse, and the need to perk up the capability of public responses to abused and deserted children. Children may be particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation given their dependency on others and their limited ability to protect themselves. Sexual abuse and exploitation can take a range of forms including rape, commercial sexual exploitation and domestic abuse. Sexual exploitation has far-reaching effects for the physical and mental health of a child. It is estimated that one million children (mainly adolescent girls but also a significant number of adolescent boys) enter the multi-billion dollar sex trade each year (Asmita Naik). We must not forget that the children’s are the ultimate goal for development.
    Our efforts for a progress in the human condition must start as early as possible begging with the child and mother well before the child is born. So that human right which belongs to an individual as a consequence of being a human can be protected in the changing world. Emphasis must be on the need for children to have security( Parkinson Patrick) and protecting the health and education of today’s children is the first and foremost right of these children but it is also the most basic and wisest of all investment in social and economic development of society ( Proff. Karl- Eric Kuntsson’s).

    The above extract is from Mr. Swapneshwar Goutam’s article “How Family responsible for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of ChiId Rights”. You can find and read the complete article at

    Yours sincerely,

    Dr Tomas Eric Nordlander
    Human Rights Defence

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