The Credibility Gap in Australia’s Human Rights Bid

With the imminent announcement of Australia’s successful bid for the UN Human Rights Council, World Vision Australia chief advocate Tim Costello today called on the Australian Government to immediately close its inhumane offshore detention centres and bring those people being detained to Australia.

“Offshore detention centres are a blight on Australia’s international reputation – an act of calculated inhumanity that creates a credibility gap in our bid for a seat on the Human Rights Council,” Mr Costello said.

“If we are to play a credible role in promoting human rights internationally, we need to look to our own behaviour.

“We need to do more than talk the talk on human rights, we need to walk the walk.”

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. With 65 million people displaced from their homes internationally, displacement is one the world’s most pressing issues.

Mr Costello said it was increasingly clear that Australia’s refugee deal with the United States would benefit only a fraction of those being held on Manus Island, with most left in limbo.

“Our government simply doesn’t have a plan to deal with the refugees currently in limbo on Manus and Nauru. We have allowed border protection to poison our human rights obligations.”

Mr Costello said Australia’s special intake of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, although it took almost two years to achieve, demonstrated that Australia had the capacity to lift its humanitarian intake of refugees.

“Australians are the among the most generous people in the world, but our government is not doing its fair share to help the world’s most vulnerable people,” Mr Costello said.

World Vision Australia views membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as an opportunity for Australia to demonstrate global human rights leadership and influence the human rights compliance of other UN member states, thereby contributing to a more peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous world.


Tim Costello is available for interview

Contact: Stuart Rintoul 0407-241492

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