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International Student Principles

Race Race Discrimination
cartoon of students saying 'hello' in diverse languages

Background to the International Student Principles

The International Student Principles (‘The Principles’) were developed to address the human rights concerns of international students living in Australia. The development of the Principles began in 2009, following several incidents of racist violence directed at international students.

Following consultations with international students and peak stakeholders in the international education sector, the Principles were released by the Australian Human Rights Commission (‘The Commission’) in 2012. They are intended:

  • As a guide for all organisations and government agencies that provide services to international students;
  • To inform the ongoing development of policies and services relating to international students; and
  • To provide international students and their representative bodies with a guide on how their human rights can be better promoted and protected, to support their advocacy with governments

Rationale for the update

International students continue to face a range of human rights challenges in Australia, most notably in employment, housing and experiences of racism and racial discrimination. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international students including the experiences of racial discrimination and race hate has also highlighted the importance of taking a human rights-based approach to the development of policy and the delivery of services to international students.

Against this backdrop, the Commission has updated the Principles in consultation with peak stakeholders to meet the evolving needs of international students in Australia and ensure the Principles continue to guide organisations and government agencies providing services to international students.

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