Human rights recognise the inherent value of every person, regardless of our respective backgrounds, where we live, what we look like, what we think or what we believe. These rights are based on universal principles of dignity, equality and mutual respect, and are shared across cultures, religions and philosophies. Human rights are about being treated fairly, treating others fairly and being able to make choices about our own lives. Australia was recently elected to a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, however its own human rights record is not without controversy, attracting international and domestic scrutiny.
What are Australia’s international and domestic human rights obligations and how are they being addressed in relation to a number of issues such as asylum seeker detention, racial discrimination, free speech, indigenous advancement, juvenile incarceration, disability rights, gender equality and same-sex marriage? Does Australia need to lift its game on human rights if it is to be taken seriously on the international stage?