What a lot of crap. Human rights are as good in Australia as in any country in the world. And as far as Aborigines are concerned, successive Australian governments poured welfare money down their throats for decades because anything else would have been called racist. The fact that welfare did more harm than good is no surprise but it was a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't
PRIME MINISTER Kevin Rudd's dream of winning a UN Security Council seat might be dashed by international concerns about Australia's record on human rights.
Australia's poor treatment of its indigenous population and refugees will come under scrutiny by an international human rights watchdog, amid continuing lobbying for a seat on the prestigious UN body that oversees military and peace-keeping operations.
The Human Rights Committee will today examine Australia's human rights record and issues, including the Northern Territory intervention and immigration detention.
Australian lawyers meeting in New York last week said a good report from the committee would improve the Prime Minister's bid to join the Security Council.
"It would assist substantially," said Human Rights Law Resource Centre director Philip Lynch. "Australia has put human rights front and centre of its Security Council bid."
High level officials from the Immigration, Indigenous Affairs and Attorney-General's departments will represent Australia during the two-day hearing.
Andrew Hudson, senior associate at non-government organisation Human Rights First, said the committee objectively examined countries and their compliance with treaties and standards.
"It will criticise Australia's human rights record to the extent that it falls short," he said.
Unlike the US and Britain, Australia does not have a bill of rights. Proponents sense the Security Council bid could propel the Rudd Government to enshrine human rights in law, as they are in Victoria and other states.
Teena Bagli, from the National Association of Community Legal Centres, said human rights had to be secured for a bid to succeed. "It's vital for the Government - who has said human rights is important and is a part of their Security Council bid - to walk the walk," she said.
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