Welcome to SNAICC’s human rights pages! These pages have been developed to provide SNAICC members and the broader community with more comprehensive information on how human rights are protected today – internationally and in Australia – and how we can use them as tools in our everyday struggles to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are supported, protected and nourished to fulfill their potential.
These pages are a work in progress, so watch this space!
- Human Rights Obligations to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
- What these Rights Mean in Practice
- Suggested actions and Resources for SNAICC Members
- Recent and Current Human Rights Issues of Interest
- SNAICC resources
What are Human Rights?
Human rights at their core reflect the human dignity that all people possess as human beings. Human rights are the minimum guarantees or fundamental entitlements that should never be interfered with. Because the flip side of any right is an obligation, the government and every institution, company, organisation, and individual has a moral obligation to respect and affirm the dignity of others and the fundamental entitlements that this reflects.
Over the past 60 years, human rights have been translated into legal entitlements which are protected in a range of international human rights instruments, including treaties and declarations. Nation states recognised by the United Nations (UN) can choose to become party to these instruments and so become bound under international law to apply them in their own countries. This Australian Human Rights Commission factsheet provides more information on this process.
‘…the starting point for discussing human rights is not the law, but our own humanity. And it is the fundamentals of that humanity that the law ought to protect.’
– Nin Tomas
What are Human Rights Obligations?
If a government recognises that its people have particular rights by signing up to a human rights instrument, it takes on a responsibility under international law to respect, protect and fulfil those rights.
- Respect: The obligation to respect rights requires the government to not take any action that would interfere with someone’s enjoyment of their rights. For example, the Government cannot stop people from practising their own religion.
- Protect: The obligation to protect requires the government to prevent violations of human rights of a person by another person or company. For example, the Government protects children’s rights to be free from violence through legislation which criminalises and deters child abuse.
- Fulfil: The obligation to fulfil requires the government to take the necessary measures to facilitate, promote, and provide for the realisation of human rights. For social and economic rights, like the rights to food, health, and education, this means that the Government must take all appropriate steps with the resources it has towards ensuring realisation of these rights. This recognises that some countries may not have adequate funds to realise these rights immediately.
Recent SNAICC News items on Human Rights
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse user-friendly website
29 Aug 2013
UN Committee calls for Aboriginal decision-making on Aboriginal issues
1 Mar 2013
SNAICC and the Indigenous Sub-Group (the ISG)
1 Feb 2013
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York from 7 – 18 May 2012
1 May 2012