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Statement on international accreditation of the Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s status as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) has been reviewed by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) – the international standards body.

International engagement

Wednesday 20 January, 2021
The Commission is Australia's 'A status' national human rights institution. The Commission's engages internationally with UN human rights mechanisms, NHRIs, and other countries.

Australia’s human rights status for international review

The Australian Government will appear before the UN Human Rights Council this evening where it will present an update of the country’s human rights record.

It’s the third time Australia has appeared before Universal Periodic Review (UPR)— a unique process reviewing the human rights situations in all 193 UN member countries, every four-and-a-half years.

Urgent call for seriously ill Nauru children to be transferred

The Australian Human Rights Commission is calling on the Federal Government to urgently transfer any seriously unwell asylum seeker children – and their families – from Nauru to Australia.

The Commission notes several recent cases where the Federal Court of Australia has consistently found the health care services currently available on Nauru did not meet the needs of children with complex physical and mental health conditions.

Commission releases OPCAT interim report

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released an interim report on how Australia should implement a major anti-torture treaty to ensure detained people are not subjected to ill treatment.

Australia ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment (OPCAT) on 21 December 2017, commencing a three year period to establish how it will comply with its obligations under the treaty.

Race, Disability and Human Rights at the UN

Three of our Commissioners have recently presented to the United Nations on the human rights situation in Australia.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane provided a video address to the Human Rights Council on March 19 about the “creeping tide” of racism.

He pointed out that xenophobia and hatred are resurgent.

“We have seen that when prejudice and intolerance are given endorsement in public debates, it can embolden a minority of society to vent their bigotry.

Australia ratifies major anti-torture treaty OPCAT

Australia has taken the final step necessary to ratify and implement a major international treaty that combats torture and other forms of mistreatment. This is an opportunity to protect the rights of people who are detained in Australia for generations to come.

The Australian Human Rights Commission welcomed the Australian Government’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) on December 21, 2017.

Statement to UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Geneva, Switzerland


27 November 2017

Chair and committee members: thank you for the opportunity to address you.

I am pleased to join you as Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner and as a representative of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Racial discrimination in multicultural Australia

Commission calls for calm on Manus Island

Australian Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow is calling on the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea to honour their international human rights obligations and avoid use of force on Manus Island.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has been monitoring the situation as it develops and has sought further detail on the events of today.

The presence of authorities at the Manus Island facility today is of particular concern to the Commission, which strongly supports the view of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, that violence must be avoided.