The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Joint Media Release

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock

22 December 2004

New Australian Framework for Human Rights

The Australian Government has finalised a new framework for the protection of human rights in Australia that demonstrates our forward-looking approach to human rights protection.

The announcement of the new National Framework for Human Rights - National Action Plan reflects the Government's commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights where all governments recognised that all people enjoyed certain inalienable rights, regardless of gender, age, race, religious belief, or political affiliation.

In 1993 Australia proposed the creation of National Action Plans on Human Rights and in 1994 was the first State to produce a plan. A decade on, the new framework outlines the Government's broad strategy for enhancing the enjoyment of human rights in Australia in the future.

Australia has always played a lead role in the creation and enforcement of human rights standards, and the development of a new Framework will ensure this role continues.

It is especially fitting that the announcement occurs in the year when Australia has, for the first time, occupied the position of Chair of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

The Framework will demonstrate Australia's on-going commitment to international human rights instruments, as well as our continuing support for peoples in other countries to achieve higher standards of human rights.

Australia was one of eight countries which drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 56 years ago and we remain strong supporters of the international human rights framework. Our human rights credentials are widely recognised and we are proud of our record of practical achievement in human rights, both domestically and internationally."

State and Territory Governments, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, and non-Government organisations were consulted in the preparation of the new National Framework.

The document is available at the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade websites, and will be lodged with the United Nations.

Inquiries:  Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 02 62777 500 - Charlie McKillop (Mr Ruddock's office) 02 6277 7300

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