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2010 Media Release: Enhanced focus on human rights education and community engagement programs


The Australian Human Rights Commission will be focusing on building understanding and respect for rights through a range of community engagement and human rights education programs following recent announcements by the federal Government.

Commission President Cathy Branson QC, said the focus on human rights education followed the government’s Human Rights Framework announcement in April, which committed $6.6 million over four years to the Commission to enable it to expand its community education role and programs.

“This funding, which is effective from 1 July 2010, allows the Commission to enhance its capacity to respond to the most pressing human rights issues of the day,” Ms Branson said.

"The Commission has recently restructured its policy areas to enable a more comprehensive approach to human rights issues. The funding will support a new community engagement team, which will work closely with the Strategic Policy and Projects Team to develop community engagement strategies.

“We envisage we will be focussing on delivering programs in key areas of concern to the community such as violence, harassment and bullying.

“We will also be working closely and in partnership with local government, the business community and the non-government sector to ensure Australians are equipped with a sound understanding of what their human rights and responsibilities are, in the workplace, home, school and community,” she said.

The Commission is also committed to building resilience in vulnerable communities and addressing social exclusion.

“We aim to further build on our activities focussed on addressing the social exclusion and marginalisation experienced by Australian Muslim communities, as well as developing new strategies around issues affecting international students,” Ms Branson said.

“We will be working with education providers, local councils, police and student associations to help these vulnerable groups to be able to respond to discrimination and violence by educating and connecting them to legal and community support and complaints processes.”

Ms Branson said as a result of the need to develop internal structures to deliver these community education and engagement programs, the Commission would be advertising several positions over the coming weeks.

Media contact: Louise McDermott 02 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597