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AASW calls on Government to end its human rights abuses in Australia, as it takes its seat on the UN Human Rights Council

Published: 1 March 2018

Now that Australia has taken up the position on the United Nations Human Rights Council for the next three years, it is time for the Government to end the human rights violations which are occurring at home because of its own policies, according to AASW National President Christine Craik.

Ms Craik said, “Australia has an important history of protecting human rights, but the Government’s current policy direction has undermined this legacy.

“Given the importance of the Human Rights Council and its leadership role, its membership must be made up of countries with a commitment and proven track record of protecting human rights. Sadly, Australia currently does not meet this standard.”

Ms Craik referred to the Prime Minister’s rejection of the Uluru statement, along with the mixed results of the Closing the Gap strategy as examples of the continuing injustices committed against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

She said, “This is one clear example of significant violations of human rights. Another is the continuing treatment of asylum seekers, including children, in mandatory offshore detention, in substandard and abusive conditions.

“Social workers have an unwavering commitment to human rights. Social workers pursue inclusive societies which recognise the inherent dignity and worth of every person. We see the devastating consequences of discriminatory and unjust policies in our work everyday.

“Accordingly, social workers have a proud history of advocating for the human rights of vulnerable people. The AASW has repeatedly expressed its concern over the Australian Government’s policies. We call on the Australian Government to listen to the Australian public, and the world, and end the abuses of human rights that are caused by its own policies. Then we will be a global leader for human rights.”

The AASW’s letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is available here.


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Angela Yin
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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers