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Commission Commission – General

2009 Media Release: Report of human rights breaches tabled in Parliament

The Australian Human Rights Commission has found the that Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship breached the human rights of Mr Ahmed El Masri under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), in a report tabled in federal Parliament today.

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This independent program provides legal advice, outreach programs, community education and casework particularly in the areas of criminal and family law, child protection and family violence. The program has been involved in writing about Aboriginal women and the law for the NSW Law Handbook and the Indigenous Law Bulletin and contributing to education about family violence through their training video and comic for young people. Staff members are involved with other committees that are looking at Aboriginal women's access to discrimination complaints processes and researching issues relating to Aboriginal women in prison.

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Commission Commission – General

Commission welcomes Federal Government donation of computers

Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Sev Ozdowski has welcomed the donation of up to 50 ex-Federal Government computers to community groups to help them and their members connect to the electronic age of communication.

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Race Race Discrimination

Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO) Forum

Conrad Gershevitch, Director of HREOC’s Education and Partnerships Section, Race Discrimination Unit on behalf of Tom Calma who is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner.

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John Murray, coordinator of the Positive Justice Centre (a volunteer community organisation) has campaigned tirelessly to overcome discrimination against and social exclusion of people who were in the care of the State or Church as children. He has authored and co-authored many books and made many important submissions to government committees on the subject.

Mr Murray was recognised by the judges for the outstanding role he has played in promoting human rights for young people in institutionalised care. His groundbreaking findings in the 2001 Inmate Health Survey found that almost 40% of prisoners had been in the care of the State/Church as children, which led to the first comprehensive assessment of the State ward/care leavers over-representation in the criminal justice system.

John has lobbied and argued that identification of young people previously in State/Church care permits rehabilitation and effective crime prevention programs and enables preventative models to be undertaken.

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Commission Commission – General

South Australians to talk about Racism

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission will be in Adelaide next week for a public meeting about racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

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Discrimination Sex Discrimination

Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force

In April last year, I was asked by the Minister for Defence to conduct an independent Review into the Treatment of Women - both in the Australian Defence Force Academy, or ADFA, and in the broader Australian Defence Force - on behalf of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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Dr Faith Bandler dedicated her life to promoting the rights of Indigenous Australians. Dr Bandler was at the forefront of a decade-long 'Referendum Campaign' which culminated in the historic 1967 Referendum which saw over 90 percent of Australians vote for constitutional changes to ensure full participation and equal treatment for Indigenous Australians. In 1956 Dr Bandler co-founded the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship. She later became a key figure in the founding of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders which, in addition to constitutional reform, campaigned for land rights, equal wages, housing and legislative change.

"Full rights for Indigenous Australians can only come through changes to legislation, not through charity. I gave ten years of my life to work to change a discriminatory federal constitution. Those changes turned the tide for Indigenous Australians. Finally there was access to schools that were not segregated, opportunities for higher education, and the establishment of councils to oversee Indigenous health, housing and arts. The 1967 Referendum opened a new world for Indigenous Australians. It returned dignity to us as a people and, for me, this is the core of respect for human rights" she said.

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Commission Commission – General

Court decision demonstrates need for reparations scheme

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has called for a reparations scheme for Indigenous children forcibly removed from their parents under past Government policies, following a court ruling in the Northern Territory today.

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Discrimination Sex Discrimination

Young Women: are we making progress? (2010)

Let me begin by paying my deep respects to the elders, both past and present, of the land upon which we are gathered today - the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation.

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Professor Andrea Durbach is a member of the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, and Director of the Human Rights Law Centre. Prior to joining UNSW, she spent 13 years at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and was the director of PIAC for the majority of that time. At PIAC, Associate Professor Durbach established the Homeless Persons’ Legal Service and led the establishment of the Public Interest Law Clearing House. At PIAC, Professor Durbach also led important work to promote justice for members of the Stolen Generations and initiated a number of significant human rights cases in relation to disability discrimination and sex discrimination. Before coming to Australia, Professor Durbach, represented 25 black defendants in the notorious Upington death penalty case in South Africa. Professor Durbach has had an extraordinary career underpinned by using the law to advance human rights. Through her public interest litigation, legislative interventions,  submissions to inquiries, positions on boards and teaching and writing she has taken action to overcome infringements of human rights wherever possible.

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