Human Rights Day: ALA urges individuals to protect their rights & freedoms
10th Dec 2019
Legislation is increasingly being used to erode individual rights and freedoms in Australia says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) on Human Rights Day 2019.
“This year’s international Human Rights Day focuses on the importance of engaging young people in democracy and empowering them to stand up for their rights,” said Mr Andrew Christopoulos, National President, ALA.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing a disturbing trend in Australia of increasingly authoritarian laws designed to intimidate and discourage individuals from engaging in the robust debate that is so important to a healthy democracy.
“In Tasmania we recently saw the introduction of laws that severely limit the rights of protesters; in both Victoria and Queensland we have seen police use violence against environmental protestors; and, nationally, we have witnessed journalists and whistle-blowers being intimidated and persecuted.
“Given the inspiring actions of young people in leading environmental protest movements both here and internationally, legislation that aims to discourage or even criminalise protest action could discourage such movements and silence the voices of many.
“Human Rights Day is a reminder that we need to be vigilant about protecting the rights of all people to express themselves, to exchange ideas, to criticise, and to protest.”
The ALA has reiterated calls for the introduction of a federal charter of rights in Australia.
“A national rights charter would empower all Australians and help us to protect the freedoms and liberties that we expect in our country,” said Mr Christopoulos. “It would also help to protect values like fairness, equality and respect, and give people the power to hold the government to account.”