The United Nations Expert Committee has raised concerns regarding multiple forms of discrimination experienced by different racial groups within Australia in its report on the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, released last week.
The Committee, which convened in Geneva last month, was complimentary of Australia's apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2008 but found that some Indigenous Australians, African Australians, Muslim Australians, International students and asylum seekers are still subject to discrimination.
The Committee stressed the need for Australia to recognise the special place of Indigenous peoples in the Constitution; fully reinstate the Race Discrimination Act in the Northern Territory; ensure the constitutional entrenchment of protection against racial discrimination; provide better protection of Indigenous languages and adequate bi-lingual education; create a national multicultural policy and coordinated anti-racism strategy; and make race hate crimes a federal criminal offence.
Australia's Race Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, said he welcomed the report which is aimed at assessing the performance of all countries that have ratified the Convention.
"These are clearly areas requiring action by an incoming government," said Innes.
"I welcome the recognition of progress, including the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, the National Human Rights Consultation, and the Australian human rights framework."
The Committee also welcomed the Australian Government's expression of support to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the commitment to addressing indigenous disadvantage through "closing the gap" targets.