Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights deals with
many human rights and includes the right without discrimination to:
- freedom from torture or cruel and inhumane punishment
- equality before the law
- humane treatment if deprived of liberty
- freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- peaceful assembly
- a vote and election by equal suffrage
- marriage and family.
The Declaration on the Rights of the Child provides that every child
has the right to:
- a name and nationality
- adequate nutrition, housing and medical services
- special treatment, education and care if the child has a
- adequate care, affection and security
- protection from neglect, cruelty and exploitation.
The Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons provides that people
with disabilities have the right to:
- respect and dignity
- assistance to enable them to become as self reliant as possible
- education, training and work
- family and social life
- protection from discriminatory treatment.
The Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons provides
that people with a mental disability have the right to:
- proper medical care and therapy
- protection from exploitation, abuse and degrading treatment
- a decent standard of living
- education, training and work
- due process of law
- review of procedures which may deny them these rights.
The International Labour Organisation Convention 111 deals with
discrimination in employment and occupation. Australian adherence to this
Convention provides that all people have the right to equal treatment in
employment and occupation without discrimination on the basis of:
- political opinion
- national extraction
- social origin
- medical record
- criminal record
- sexual preference
- trade union activity
- marital status
- disability (whether physical, intellectual, psychiatric or
- impairment (including HIV/AIDS status).
The Convention on the Rights of the Child confirms that children are
entitled to the full range of human rights recognised in international law
(subject to limitations relating to their capacity to exercise these rights and
to the responsibilities of families). The Convention also recognises a range of
rights relating to the special needs of children. It seeks to ensure that the
protection of these rights in law and practice is improved.
The Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of
Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief became part of the definition of
human rights for the purposes of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act on
24 February 1994. The Declaration recognises the right to freedom of religion.
The only limitations to this right are those prescribed by law and which are
necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental
rights and freedoms of others.
Age Discrimination Act
Australia has assumed obligations to eliminate and address age discrimination
under the International Labour Organisation Convention 111, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Racial Discrimination Act
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination aims for the elimination of all forms of racial
discrimination in order to promote understanding between races and provide
freedom from racial segregation. It is entered into force for Australia by the
Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act in which it is scheduled.
Sex Discrimination Act
The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women and certain aspects of the International Labour (ILO) Convention
156 are multilateral agreements adopted under the auspices of the General
Assembly of the United Nations in 1979. The Conventions recognise the civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights of women. The Commonwealth Sex
Discrimination Act implemented the Convention into Australian law.
Disability Discrimination Act
The Disability Discrimination Act gives effect to the Discrimination
(Employment and Occupation) Convention 1958, the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights so far as they apply to discrimination based on
disability. Australia also has obligations under the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities, ratified in 2008. The Disability
Discrimination Act provides part of the mechanism for Australia to meet these