Australia’s Human Rights Scorecard: Update

August 4, 2015

The UPR Coordinating Committee (HRLC, NACLC and KLC) has provided an update on its work leading up to Australia’s Universal Periodic Review in November including fact sheets on key human rights issues in Australia.


Since lodging our Joint NGO Submission in March, we’ve been working with the UPR NGO Advisory Committee to prepare UPR Fact Sheets, met with Government, and brief embassies in Canberra.

Fact sheets released
We have released a series of Fact Sheets to ensure that UN member states are provided with credible and accurate information about key human rights issues in Australia. The 18 thematic Fact Sheets build on the Joint NGO Submission lodged in March 2015 and provide further background on key issues as well as our suggested recommendations. The Fact Sheets will be used to brief and lobby embassies and missions in Australia and Geneva.

Fact Sheet 1 – Constitutional, Legislative and Institutional framework
Fact Sheet 2 – Equality & Non Discrimination
Fact Sheet 3 – Democratic Rights & Freedoms
Fact Sheet 4 – Administration of Justice
Fact Sheet 5 – Poverty
Fact Sheet 6 – Housing and Homelessness
Fact Sheet 7 – Counter-terrorism
Fact Sheet 8 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Fact Sheet 9 – Gender Equality
Fact Sheet 10 – Disability
Fact Sheet 11 – Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Fact Sheet 12 – Children’s Rights
Fact Sheet 13 – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People and Communities
Fact Sheet 14 – Rights of Older People
Fact Sheet 15 – Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex
Fact Sheet 16 – Prisoners
Fact Sheet 17 – Police
Fact Sheet 18 – International Assistance and Business

Thanks to the members of the UPR NGO Advisory Committee that assisted with the preparation of the materials. Please share and promote the Fact Sheets on social media using the hashtag #AusUPR.

Embassies briefed in Canberra
The Australian NGO Coalition partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission to convene a UPR Briefing for embassies in Canberra earlier this month. The event was generously hosted by DLA Piper and attended by around 70 diplomatic staff representing 48 countries, as well as staff from the Attorney-General’s Department and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who attended as observers.

President Triggs facilitated a panel of NGO representatives to give presentations and answer questions from attendees. The NGOs represented a range of issue areas and population groups, including Amanda Alford (National Association of CLCs), Anna Brown (Human Rights Law Centre), Les Malezer (National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples), Asher Hirsch (Refugee Council of Australia), Christina Ryan (Advocacy for Inclusion), Corey Irlam (COTA Australia and Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby), Gulnara Abbasova (FECCA), Anna Lyons (Justice Connect Homeless Law) and Elena Rosenman (ACT Women’s Legal Centre). We received very positive feedback on the event and strong interest was shown by attendees, particularly in issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Australia’s asylum seeker and refugee policies.

Meetings with Government
We are continuing dialogue with Australian Government about the UPR. NGO representatives met with the Attorney-General George Brandis in April 2015 to discuss the issues raised in the Joint NGO Submission and have encouraged the Government to make voluntary commitments ahead of its review, as a sign of good faith and constructive engagement in the UPR process. We continue to seek clarity about the status of the implementation of the 2011 UPR recommendations.

What is happening next?
The Australian Government is due to submit its UPR report in early August. NGOs and the Australian Human Rights Commission will be briefing country missions in Geneva in October ahead of Australia’s appearance on 9 November.