The efficacy of local government in upholding the principles of human rights

In Australia, human rights are protected in different ways. Unlike most similar liberal democracies, Australia has no Bill of Rights to protect human rights in a single document. Rather rights may be found in the Constitution, common law and legislation - Acts passed by the Commonwealth Parliament or State or Territory Parliaments.

The efficacy of local government in upholding the principles of human rights

Australia's Human Rights Obligations Publication title: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 4. Australia's Human Rights Obligations A last resort? Australia's Human Rights Obligations The purpose of this chapter is to explain the relevance of international human rights law to children in Australia's immigration detention centres and to provide a quick reference point on the fundamental human rights principles that have influenced the approach of this Inquiry.

This chapter also explains the role of United Nations UN guidelines in the Inquiry's analysis of Australia's human rights treaty obligations. More specifically, the Inquiry addresses the following questions: A more detailed analysis of the human rights principles relevant to children in immigration detention can be found in the topic-specific chapters in the remainder of this report.

Public debate in recent years has increasingly linked the concept of border protection with the arrival of asylum seekers to Australian shores. The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs the Minister has stated on many occasions, in the context of unauthorised boat arrivals, that as a sovereign country Australia has the right to defend the integrity of its borders.

Border protection will inevitably be a part of these objectives. The modern concept of sovereignty, however, is not absolute. Sovereignty does not mean that nations can do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whomever they want.

This would inevitably lead to a breakdown in international cooperation. Australia, as a sovereign nation, has recognised the need to respect certain obligations and rights if it wants to maintain its position among the community of nations.

The efficacy of local government in upholding the principles of human rights

Australia has chosen to participate in the international system of law and enter into agreements - treaties - with other sovereign States.

It has thereby agreed to be bound by the international scheme of rights and responsibilities that governs the way in which sovereign States act. In signing up to and ratifying treaties, States may accept qualifications on the exercise of their sovereign powers.

The efficacy of local government in upholding the principles of human rights

This is a sovereign act of the State itself. Ratification of international treaties does not involve a handing over of sovereignty to an international body. Treaties may define the scope of a State's action, and treaties which Australia ratifies may influence the way in which Australia behaves, internationally and domestically.

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Implicit, however, in any Australian decision to ratify a treaty is a judgment that any limitations on the range of possible actions which may result are outweighed by the benefits which flow from the existence of a widely endorsed international agreement.

Further, the Inquiry refers to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees as amended by the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees the Refugee Conventionwhich specifically requires Australia to apply domestic laws that establish border integrity in such a way that persons fleeing persecution for specific reasons will be protected.

By ratifying the CRC, Refugee Convention and other treaties, Australia has explicitly agreed to ensure that new laws be enacted or existing laws be applied in a manner that gives proper expression to its treaty obligations. Such an act of national will is a positive expression of Australia's independence and an affirmative exercise of sovereignty.

As one leading commentator has stated: Refugee law is a politically pragmatic means of reconciling the generalized commitment of states to self-interested control over immigration to the reality of coerced migration.

Since the early part of this century, governments have recognized that if they are to maintain control over immigration in general terms, they must accommodate demands for entry based on particular urgency.

To fail to do so is to risk the destruction to those broader policies of control, since laws and institutional arrangements are no match for the desperate creativity of persons in flight from serious harm.

By catering for a subset of those who seek freedom of international movement, refugee law legitimates and sustains the viability of the protectionist norm. Australia, as a sovereign State, has the right to protect its borders as well as having undertaken a responsibility to achieve this in a manner that accords with human rights and humanitarian treaties.

Furthermore, Australia, as a sovereign State guided by the rule of law, has committed to ensuring that those rights and responsibilities are integrated into the practices of the domestic legislature, executive and courts. Australia, as a party to the CRC, the ICCPR and the Refugee Convention, has voluntarily committed to comply with their provisions in good faith and to take the necessary steps to give effect to those treaties under domestic law.

The Executive would be usurping the role of Parliament if the treaties it made and ratified automatically became sources of new rights and obligations. For instance, the Migration Act Cth Migration Act makes reference to the protection obligations under the Refugee Convention in defining the criteria for a 'protection visa' under that Act.

For instance, all States have child protection laws which reflect the obligation to protect children from abuse in article 19 of the CRC, but do not necessarily refer specifically to the CRC.

However, this legislation falls short of direct incorporation. In particular, treaties ratified by Australia have relevance in the common law of Australia which is enforced by courts. The High Court of Australia's decision inin Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Ah Hin Teoh, confirmed that legislative provisions should be interpreted by courts in a manner that ensures, as far as possible, that they are consistent with the provisions of Australia's international obligations: It is well established that the provisions of an international treaty to which Australia is a party do not form part of Australian law unless those provisions have been validly incorporated into our municipal law by statute But the fact that the Convention [on the Rights of the Child] has not been incorporated into Australian law does not mean that its ratification holds no significance for Australian law.

Where a statute or subordinate legislation is ambiguous, the courts should favour that construction which accords with Australia's obligations under a treaty or international convention to which Australia is a party, at least in those cases in which the legislation is enacted after, or in contemplation of, entry into, or ratification of, the relevant international instrument.

That is because Parliament, prima facie, intends to give effect to Australia's obligations under international law.assessing the effectiveness of human rights non-governmental organizations (ngos) from the birth of the united nations to the 21st century: ten attributes of highly successful human rights ngos george e.

edwards*. 3 contrast, requires the cooperation of state and society, and is an outcome of complex and deeply rooted social processes.2 Wrongdoers face not only legal penalties, but also social sanctions such as criticism in the news media, popular disapproval, and punishments.

and effectiveness, upholding the Constitution and the laws, and seeking to advance the public good at all times. IMPLEMENTING EFFECTIVE ETHICS STANDARDS IN GOVERNMENT AND THE CIVIL SERVICE.

Australia's Human Rights Obligations The purpose of this chapter is to explain the relevance of international human rights law to children in Australia's immigration detention centres and to provide a quick reference point on the fundamental human rights principles that have influenced the approach of .

The Efficacy of the Local Government in Upholding the Principles of Human Rights Human rights in today’s world have become pivotal to the functioning of our society as a whole, The Principles for Government A. human rights law and international humanitarian law apply in situations of armed conflict, identifying some sources of law, as well as the type of legal obligations imposed on the different parties to armed conflicts.

Human Rights History » Government Obligations