The Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke, launched the Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students at the Australian International Education Conference on 4 October 2012. You can read the Commissioner's launch speech here.
The implementation of these high-level, human rights-based Principles will enhance the safety and well-being of international students in Australia. The Race Discrimination Commissioner encourages all those working with international students to consider how these can be effectively adopted and implemented in the ongoing development of policies and services relating to international students.
Broadly, the Principles can be used:
- 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, service providers and other agencies.
To maximise its impact, it is recommended that these Principles are referred to on an ongoing basis, as services and policies affecting international students are reviewed and developed.
You can also download a YouTube video to view the Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke talking about the Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddnLvN0nCKA
Commission’s previous work relating to international students
The rights of international students residing in Australia are a significant concern for the Australian Human Rights Commission. International students have a discernable set of human rights including the right to non discrimination, equality of treatment, security of the person, access to justice, housing, information, freedom of religion and culture, and labour rights.
In November 2009 members of the Australian and New Zealand Race Relations Roundtable met with expert race experts and international students and their representatives to explore existing issues and identify ways forward. The Roundtable produced a Communiqué regarding these issues.
In March 2010, the Commission in partnership with the Academy of Social Sciences and Universities Australia convened the Racism and the Student Experience Policy Research Workshop. The purpose of the Workshop was to discuss what reliable data existed around (I) racially motivated violence in Australia and (II) strategies to improve the safety of international students residing in Australia.
In August 2010, a second workshop was held, entitled “Building an integrated response to improving the safety and well-being of international students in Australia”. The aim of the roundtable was to engage academic and government stakeholders in a discussion about the contribution of research to the development of international student policies, and to identify future priority areas for coordinated action.
Two papers were released by the Academy of Social Sciences following the workshops: