By Stephen Fitz
In L.A., I dropped in on friends of friends and the first greeting was “Oh, you’re from the country with no human rights?” My response was “And your government has a wonderful human rights record.” I stayed in a motel that night and pondered the average Americans view of Australia.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights UDHR is a declaration of freedom and, in the words of Malcolm Roberts “You can only have human progress if you have freedom” – Ignore human rights and you oppress that freedom.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an international document that states basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. No nation may rightfully deprive a person of a human right. Human rights are fundamental rights universal to all human beings and are considered to be the necessities of human existence. They are internationally recognised personal guarantees and freedoms that the Government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation. The UDHR is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law.
Australia was a key player and one of 8 nations involved in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. Australia is a co-founder and signatory to the UDHR and yet, here we are with no human rights protection written into Australian law? We should not have to battle through the High Court of Australia for fundamental human rights or the civil liberties embraced by our contemporaries, they should be automatic.
Examples of human rights oppression in Australia include: Anti-protest laws, invasion of privacy, freedom of press and censorship, right of assembly, anti-association laws, age discrimination, inhumane treatment of refugees, abuse of children in detention, our right to participate in government, protection of family and so on. These are violations of UDHR Articles 20-1, 13-1, 12, 3, 5, 19, 7, 16-3 and 25-2.
To stop the abuse, our rights need to be acknowledged by Government and then written into Australian law either through amendments to the Australian Constitution or an Australian Bill of Rights. As a Nation, maybe then, we can rejoice.
From the mouth of Malcolm Turnbull: “For Australia to flourish we need to be seen as the innovation nation”. This suggests being ahead of the times. To hold our heads up high, on the international stage, first, we need to step out of the dark ages and lose the penal colony mentality.
We should be seen as the country who leads the world in human rights issues and yet here we are… Until we change Australia will continue to be looked upon as the country that abuses its children, has no regard for human rights and has a disregard for international conventions. Besides being oppressive, it’s shameful.