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UN affirms human rights bodies

UN affirms human rights bodies

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and more than 110 states have, in a resolution passed by consensus last week, affirmed the role of national institutions in protecting human rights across the…

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and more than 110 states have, in a resolution passed by consensus last week, affirmed the role of national institutions in protecting human rights across the globe.

Australian Human Rights Commission president Catherine Branson QC said the Australian Government had shown international leadership on the resolution.

"The Australian Government has for many years led global efforts to establish effective, independent national human rights institutions in order to improve the protection of human rights at the country level," Branson said.

But the Commission is disappointed in the Government's rejection of certain recommendations made in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the UNHRC earlier this month.

Rejected recommendations included the introduction of a Human Rights Act, same-sex marriage recognition, and compensation for stolen generations as well as improvements to Australia's system of mandatory and indefinite immigration detention.

"The Commission has consistently found this [detention] system to be in breach of Australia's human rights obligations ... this was a key concern raised by the international community during the UPR process," Branson said.

The Commission continues to monitor and advocate for improved human rights protections in Australia, including recommendations not currently accepted by the Government.

It also aims to participate in a final High Court decision next week involving two transsexuals who want to change the sex recorded on their birth certificates from female to male.

Citing human rights issues and Australia's international obligations, the AHRC will also release its minimum standards for student safety later this year which aim to force universities to provide housing guarantees to international students.

Stephanie Quine

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