Human rights education is a human right

Human Rights Education Conference – ‘Human Rights Education is a Human Right
Hosted by the Faculty of Education & The University of Melbourne Human Rights Forum, the conference will focus on teaching and learning about HRE from a rich and diverse range of perspectives, across all disciplines. It aims to equip teachers with the knowledge and the know-how about Human Rights – from curriculum to policy-making.

In this opening I want to emphasise the importance of human rights in government and what happens if human rights are pushed aside. Since the terrible attacks in the United States on 9/11, 2001, governments in many places, including Australia, have played on the politics of fear and unfortunately and more tragically on the politics of division.

Drastic new laws have been introduced which diminish the rights of all Australians. There are some who believe those laws will only apply to people who are different, to the other, to people who are not like us and who do not deserve to be treated as well as we expect to be treated.

Many of us are not aware that the Australian Government, in the name of making us all safer, has legislated for more severe measures than those adopted by other democratic countries. For example, if ASIO believes that any one of you may have observed something of interest to ASIO in pursuit of their anti-terrorist activities, you can be secretly arrested and interrogated for a week at a time. ASIO do not have to believe that you know anything, they do not have to believe that you are planning anything, only that you have observed something you may not know you have observed. In other words, the Government has legislated to give ASIO powers to detain a person known to be innocent, known not to be planning or executing any crime.

— Malcom Fraser (Human rights education is a human right)

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