7 September 2010


At the end of August the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination released its Concluding Observations following a review of Australia’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination(CERD).

The Committee welcomed a number of recent positive developments in Australia, including the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, the endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the commitment to “Close the Gap” in Indigenous health inequality, and Australia’s closer engagement with a number of UN human rights instruments and mechanisms.

The Committee raised serious concerns about a range of Australian laws, policies and practices, including the Northern Territory Intervention, the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and the impact of Australia’s counter-terror laws.

The CERD Committee also expressed its regret that many recommendations from previous reports have not been properly implemented in Australia, including in relation to deaths in custody, the socio-economic disadvantage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, gross over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the prison population, Aboriginal land rights and the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

The Committee made over 20 recommendations for concrete action to address racial discrimination, disadvantage and inequality in Australia, including in relation to Australia’s legal framework, Indigenous peoples, refugees and asylum seekers, and multiculturalism and racial harmony.

All documentation relating to Australia’s appearance before the committee is available here

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