Tag Archives: human rights

Media Advisory – Discrimination against women: First mission ever to Samoa by a UN human rights expert group

APIA / GENEVA (3 August 2017) – A United Nations human rights expert group will carry out a fact-finding visit to Samoa from 8 to 18 August to assess the progress made towards eliminating discrimination against women and the protection and promotion of women’s rights in the country.

“We are particularly interested in legislative and policy reforms undertaken in recent years and the impact on the enjoyment of human rights of women in Samoa,” said human rights expert Kamala Chandrakirana, who currently heads UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice.

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“Human Rights In the Pacific “Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

On Tuesday 20 June, the Regional Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Pacific, Dr Chitralekha Massey, discussed current Human Rights issues within the Pacific region, during a diplomatic briefing held at the UNIC Canberra office.

Dr Massey gave a brief overview of the Human Rights infrastructure in the Pacific, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Dr Massey also made specific note to the progress on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the thematic focus areas of OHCHR including, Strengthening National Human Rights Institution’s, climate change, LGBTI, indigenous peoples as well as migrants and asylum seekers and protection of human rights.

 

End of Mission Press Conference & Statement by UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples on her visit to Australia

Audio of Press Conference at UNIC Canberra by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on her visit to Australia (Pictured)

End of Mission Press Release

To access her statement please click Preliminary Findings

UNIC Canberra End of Mission  Interview

Background of Visit

The human rights situation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia has been examined by the UN Special Rapporteur, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who has visited the country from 20 March to 3 April.

UN Free & Equal: The Lesson

Every day, lesbian, gay, bi, trans (LGBT) and intersex kids – and other children seen as defying gender stereotypes – are bullied at school, at home and in their community. Bullying can take many forms –from taunting and name-calling to brutal violence.

Children who experience this kind of abuse have a higher risk of anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, self-harm, depression and suicide. They are also more likely to skip or drop out of school.

The United Nations is calling on everyone – from parents and teachers to Governments – to protect these children’s fundamental right to live free from violence and discrimination. Your actions matter!

Proposed “Homeless Ban” in Australia cause for concern – UN Expert

Amendments to a local law in Melbourne, Australia, targeting homeless people living on the streets have triggered serious international human rights concern.

The proposed measures include a ban on camping in Melbourne and the potential for penalties to be imposed on anyone who leaves items unattended in public. The city council is due to vote on the proposed changes on 17 March. If passed, the law would legitimize discriminatory stereotypes of an already marginalized population. More

 

PRESS RELEASE – Statement by the United Nations Country Team in Papua New Guinea

The United Nations system in Papua New Guinea is gravely concerned by recent reports of human rights violations against asylum seekers on Manus Island. We note the reports of severe beating of two refugees allegedly by police and immigration officers on the 31st of December 2016, and the arrest and detention of one individual by the police on 13th of January 2017 apparently without charges being brought against the individual.

UN rights expert to assess situation of migrants in Australia and off-shore detention centres in Nauru

(31 October 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Australia from 1 to 18 November  2016 to assess the migration programmes, policies and laws developed by the Australian authorities in recent years.

“This is an opportunity  for me to understand how Australia manages its overall migration policies, and their impact on the human rights of migrants,’’ Mr. Crépeau said announcing his first information-gathering mission to the country following the postponement of his visit last year.

During his 18-day visit to Australia, the independent expert will meet with a range of government officials responsible for border management, civil society, trade unions, the Australian National Human Rights Commission, international organisations, and migrants themselves, to discuss the complex management of Australia’s borders.

Mr. Crépeau will carry out his meetings in Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney, and in on-shore detention centres and the off-shore detention centres in the neighbouring island Republic of Nauru.

At the end of the mission, the UN Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary conclusions at a press conference on 18 November 2016 at 10:30am, at the UN Information Centre, Level 1, 7 National Circuit Barton, Canberra. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The country mission report will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2017.

ENDS

Australian Government must re-build trust of civil society – UN human rights expert

CANBERRA / GENEVA (18 October 2016) – United Nations independent expert Michel Forst today called on the Government of Australia to urgently dispel civil society’s growing concerns about the combined ‘chilling effect’ of its recent laws, policies and actions constraining the rights of human rights defenders.

“I was astonished to observe mounting evidence of a range of cumulative measures that have concurrently levied enormous pressure on Australian civil society,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the end of his first fact-finding visit* to the country.

Recognizing Australia’s traditional safeguards of constitutional democracy, rule of law and free media, Mr Forst noted that his initial expectation from his official visit was to “encounter only laudable implementation of the State’s obligations under international human rights laws, aimed at ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders.”

Instead, the expert found a number of detrimental measures which include a growing body of statutory laws, both at the federal and state levels, constraining the rights of defenders. “They have ranged from intensifying secrecy laws to proliferating anti-protest laws, from the stifling Border Force Act to the ‘Standing’ bill shrinking environmental access to courts,” Mr. Forst specified.

“Those laws have not only accentuated the disparity between Government’s declared commitments at the international forums and their implementation within the country,” he noted. “They have also aggravated the situation following the drastic defunding of peak bodies by the Government, following their advocacy or litigation on such topical issues as immigration, security, environment and land rights protection.”

In his preliminary observations, the expert noted that Community Legal Centres are facing nearly one third of their budget cut nationally, and that Environmental Defenders Offices and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples have completely been defunded by the Federal Government. And those that continue receiving funds have to abide by the so-called ‘gagging’ clauses in their funding agreements, instructing them against ‘lobbying’ the Governments or to ‘engage in public campaigns’.

“In addition, I was astounded to observe what has become frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work. The media and business actors have contributed to stigmatization,” the Special Rapporteur warned. “Environmentalists, whistleblowers, trade unionists and individuals like doctors, teachers, and lawyers protecting the rights of refugees have borne the brunt of the verbal attacks.”

“Even the president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, faced Government’s intimidation and public questioning her integrity, impartiality and judgement, after the Commission’s inquiry into the child harm in immigration detention,” the expert said.

Mr. Forst noted that “the Australian Government has historically made commendable efforts in pursuit of its human rights obligations, so it is unfortunate that the combination of the detrimental laws and practices by the Government has recently instilled a ‘chilling effect’ on the Australian civil society.”

“This situation can be reversed and improved. The Government should start re-building confidence of human rights defenders,” he said. “For that purpose, I urge the Government to consider adopting a national action plan on human rights, through meaningful consultation with civil society.”

The UN Special Rapporteur expressed his readiness for further constructive dialogue to identify ways to help ensure enabling environment for human rights defenders in Australia.

During his two-week visit, at the invitation of the Government, the expert met with vast range of federal and state officials, members of the parliament and judiciary, statutory bodies, as well as human rights defenders and representatives of civil society, media and business.

Mr. Forst will present a final report with his findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in 2017.

(*) Check the Special Rapporteur’s full end-of-mission statement:
2016-10-18_australia_sr-hrd-statement-final

Note to Correspondents: Meeting Between Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum and the United Nations Secretary-General

12 October 2016

On 23 September 2016, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Pacific Island Forum leaders and the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.

President Peter Christian of the Federated States of Micronesia outlined the outcomes of the 47th Summit of the Pacific Islands Forum held in Micronesia from 7 to 11 September. He highlighted the discussion on the sustainable development, management and conservation of the oceans and its resources, human rights, the welfare of Small Island Developing States in combating climate change and the many challenges that the Pacific region faces.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon thanked the leaders for their intention to boost the partnership between the Pacific and the United Nations. He emphasized the role of the Pacific in forging agreement on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement.