Deliberations

Human rights

Promoting Human Rights

Human rights are rights and privileges a person enjoys because of his birth. All humans have rights regardless of discriminatory factors such as sex, age, race, colour, nationality, and language. Human rights include the right to vote and be voted for, freedom of speech, a free press, right to the dignity of the person, right to life, freedom from torture or degrading treatment, right to privacy, and right to a fair hearing, among several others. These rights may be classified under three categories: political and civil rights, social and cultural rights and economic rights.

The most popular book on human rights is the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human rights). The book drafted by the U.N. organ contains all human rights provisions and sets standards for adoption by different world countries. The charter has also been translated into over 500 languages. The UDHR was formulated as a response to the aftermath of World War II. Also, Australia is a signatory to this charter.

Respect for human rights is the third branch of A.V. Dicey’s rule of law that shows the importance of ownership. They must, therefore, be protected. In Australia, the rights of individuals are recognised and respected across all states. The legislation protecting human rights in Australia is the Australian Human Rights Commission Act of 1986, Sex Discrimination Act 1984; Age Discrimination Act 2004; Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and Disability Discrimination Act of 1992.

One particular body responsible for enforcing a breach of human rights is the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The body accepts and acts on complaints associated with the violation of fundamental human rights. The body operates on all forms of human rights, including sexual rights, and does not discriminate in any form.

Although Australia is a signatory to the UDHR charter, it has no domestic national framework for human rights. Violations of human rights in the country are, therefore, inevitable. Also, most reasons that have been put forward for offence are that there is no domestic legislation. Thus, an argument has ensued whether a domestic is needed to recognise fundamental human rights in Australia fully.

There are two forms of a charter of rights: those included in the constitution and those separately contained in statute books. The latter seems a preferable option for the Australian government, given that the former would require a tedious process of a constitutional amendment. However, a faction in Australia strongly condemned the legislation of charter rights because

  • It would result in plenty of court claims
  • Human rights are sufficiently stated under common law
  • It would benefit only a few selfish people
  • It would increase the power of the judges

On the other hand, some argued that a charter is necessary for

  • Accountability
  • An established framework for human rights protection in Australia
  • Social inclusion
  • Improve the social standard of the country at the international level
  • For responding to past and present claims of rights violations

From the points highlighted above, the Australian government must establish a legislative framework for human rights. Nonetheless, such legislation must follow the dialogue model to ensure adequate interaction between the three government arms.