Thursday, October 20, 2016

Australia's human rights record condemned by a "rapporteur" from the world's most corrupt organization

U.N. "rapporteurs" (travelling critics) also regularly single out Britain for criticism on human rights grounds.  But if Britain is deficient, so is most of the world.  Mr rapporteur is totally superficial in his report below.  He thinks it is bad that old bag Gillian Triggs was asked to resign but does not mention her egregiously biased behavior that led to that request. 

Note that she was asked to resign, not made to resign.  Most other places she wouldn't have been given the option.  Mr rapporteur doesn't mention that, of course.

But he is a theologian by background so logical twists and turns can be expected of him, I guess.  He has no discernible social science background at all.  But he is a Frenchman who teaches German so maybe that is something.  It would be amusing to see what he says about Germany.  Free speech is dead in "das vierte Reich"

Australia lacks adequate protections for human rights defenders and has created "an atmosphere of fear, censorship and retaliation" among activists, according to a United Nations special rapporteur.

Michel Forst, who released an end-of-mission statement on Tuesday after a fortnight in Australia, said he was "astonished" by numerous measures heaping "enormous pressure" on public servants, whistleblowers and ordinary citizens.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has rejected Amnesty International’s claims that the treatment of refugees on Nauru amounts to deliberate and systematic torture. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.

Increased secrecy provisions, especially with regard to immigration and national security, were hampering the ability of journalists and human rights defenders to hold public institutions to account, he said.

The new metadata retention regime, which enjoyed bipartisan support, had "serious implications" for journalists and media outlets, Mr Forst said. He also heard evidence that freedom of information requests were being delayed and frustrated.

Mr Forst also condemned the secrecy requirements of the Australian Border Force Act, elements of which he said contravened human rights principles, including freedom of expression, and called for the laws to be reviewed.

The special rapporteur reserved particular opprobrium for ministers' attacks on Australian Human Rights commissioner Gillian Triggs, who last year resisted enormous pressure from the Abbott government to resign over alleged political bias in a report on children's detention.

"I was astounded to observe what has become frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work," he said. He called for an inquiry into the treatment of Professor Triggs.

Mr Forst condemned "anti-protest legislation" in Tasmania, NSW and before the West Australian Parliament targeted at environmental activists, which he said would contravene Australia's international obligations.

He also accused the Abbott-Turnbull government of targeting advocates involved in environmental, immigration and land rights causes through the "drastic defunding" of groups, such as the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

"Other contractors, such as Save the Children, have been subjected to raids and egregious allegations of misconduct, removed from operations and had their personal and professional reputations targeted by politicians and media," Mr Forst concluded.

Mr Forst will present his final report to the Turnbull government and the UN Human Rights Council. Australia is seeking a seat on that council and the scathing report may have implications for the bid, although Mr Forst would not personally comment on that prospect.

A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis said the government welcomed the opportunity to engage with the special rapporteur but considered Mr Forst had "not presented a balanced view of the situation of human rights defenders in Australia".

The Turnbull government "will consider the special rapporteur's recommendations in the same way as it considers recommendations from all United Nations mechanisms", the spokesman said.

Australia has come under a barrage of criticism from international human rights observers, mainly over the offshore processing of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. On Monday, Amnesty International went so far as to accuse the Australian government of deliberate torture.



APOLOGY: I have undergone surgery and experienced a prolonged cable service outage within the last 24 hours so I am putting up less than I usually would -- JR


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