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Progress on human rights ‘tarnished’

The Federal Government’s progress on human rights in 2023 is “tarnished” by “significant concerns”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in its World Report 2024.

In the 740-page report released yesterday, the international NGO said those concerns included continued abuses against refugees and asylum seekers, the long-standing over-representation of First Nations people in Australia’s prisons, and the mistreatment of children in juvenile detention.

“The Australian government had an opportunity in 2023 to end its more than decade-long offshore detention regime when the last refugee was evacuated from Nauru island in June,” HRW researcher Annabel Hennessy said.

“Yet just months later in September, the Australian authorities sent a group of 11 asylum seekers for detention on Nauru, and another 12 in November.”

The 34th report, which reviews human rights practices in more than 100 countries, also included to the failed Voice referendum; the findings of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability; Queensland’s suspension of its Human Rights Act 2019 in relation to youth detention; and inaction on climate change as evidence of the country’s deficiency in human rights protection.

It noted Australia remained the only Western country without a national human rights act or constitutional charter.

Read the report here.

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