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Civil and Political Rights

OPCAT: Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture

OPCAT

The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) is an international agreement aimed at preventing torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. OPCAT places an obligation to establish a system of regular inspections to places of detention, with the aim of preventing torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

New data shows Australians want accountable AI

New research released by the Australian Human Rights Commission shows 46% of people in Australia are not aware that the government makes important decisions about them using artificial intelligence (AI). 

Older people, those not in paid employment and lower-income earners were least aware that government uses AI to make decisions. However, people in these groups are more likely to be affected by such decision making.

Wearing a mask will protect human liberties, not infringe upon them

There’s been a lot of talk, anger and resistance to the changes of our rights and freedoms as Australia deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. In some way or another, each and every one of us has encountered restrictions – on our freedom of movement, the right to peaceful protest, the ability to engage in public areas without wearing masks and the requirement to provide personal information for the purpose of contact tracing. 

More protections needed for people of faith

A new position paper examines the prevalence and effects of serious harms experienced by religious communities inside Australia.

Developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in partnership with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC), Freedom of religion in Australia: a focus on serious harms examines existing research and draws on first-person accounts from people of faith from many religious backgrounds.

Implementing OPCAT in Australia released

The Commission has today released recommendations for how Australia should implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

Implementing OPCAT in Australia is the final step in the Commission’s consultation process with civil society, inspectorate and monitoring bodies, and a number of state and territory governments and independent agencies.

Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020

Summary

The concerns outlined in this submission draw on the Commission’s work inspecting Australia’s immigration detention facilities. The Commission has conducted such inspections since the mid-1990s.

The concerns outlined in this submission draw on the Commission’s work inspecting Australia’s immigration detention facilities. The Commission has conducted such inspections since the mid-1990s.

Commission position on the draft ‘COVIDSafe App’ Bill

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the release of the exposure draft of the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020 (the ‘draft Bill’). This sets out the legal protections for the Australian Government’s contact-tracing COVIDSafe App.

Commission welcomes COVIDSafe App

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the COVIDSafe App as an important public health initiative, which can help protect the rights of Australians to health and life.

The App also opens the possibility of easing restrictions on other human rights, such as freedom of movement and freedom of association.

Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow said, “The Commission welcomes the App and we will continue working with the Australian Government to ensure it protects public health, while also upholding all of our human rights.” 

Resisting extremism in a pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread to this big island of ours, our leaders made a momentous decision: they decided to save as many human lives as possible.

This was the right decision. It shows we as a country care about human life above all else. But now we face an even harder question: how to save lives while preventing economic collapse and staying true to our democratic values?

Mr Nauroze Anees v Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Home Affairs)

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