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UN warns racism on rise in Australia, calls for section 18C to be strengthened

“In its report released overnight [8 December 2017] in Geneva, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination declared "expressions of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia, including in the public sphere and political debates as well as in the media, are on the rise" in Australia.

The report's conclusions are based largely on submissions and testimony from non-government organisations, communities and Australian governments.

Hate speech and violence particularly affected Arabs and Muslims, asylum seekers and refugees, Africans, South Asians and Indigenous people, the committee noted.

Alina‚Äč Leikin‚Äč, lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, said the UN report was a clear call to arms for the government to "act both urgently and effectively" in tackling racism.

Of particular resonance were concerns about Aboriginal land rights and the failure of the Closing the Gap strategy to improve the welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The UN said a "paradigm shift" was necessary in how governments deal with Indigenous people, calling on the state to "demonstrate the necessary political will to ensure that aspirational plans and programs become a reality.

Several of the concerns raised in this year's evaluation were already flagged in the UN's previous report on Australia in 2010. However, the document released overnight was significantly more critical than the one seven years ago.”

By Michael Koziol, Political Reporter, Brisbane Times
Updated 9 December 2017 - 10:29pm, first published at 08:16am. 


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Date published: 14.12.2017

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