Human Rights Commission to go to Durban II

March 25, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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The Australian Human Rights Commission will participate in next month’s Durban II Review Conference ahead of the Federal Government’s decision whether or not to attend.Commissioner Tom Calma told J-Wire that The Human Rights Commission “is an independent Commission that has a specific mandate under the Racial Discrimination Act to combat racial discrimination.”

Calma outlined as a matter for concern the suspension by the Howard Government of the Racial Discrimantion Act in implementing the interventions in the Norther Territory. Calma made it clear his delegation will be participating in the Conference stating “this is one of the issues the Commission will be raising at the Durban Conference.”

J-Wire asked Commissioner Calma if the  decision to go could create a conflict with the Federal Government should they decide not to attend. He responded: “Attending the Conference and raising issues that are relevant to Australia are clearly consistent with our mandate.”

He added: “Australia has an obligation not to discriminate on the basis of race. The Commission is concerned that these standards are not always maintained domestically.”

The 2001 Durban I Conference degenerated into a virulent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatefest. Many nations, including the U.S. and Australia fear that the 2009 Review Conference, scheduled for April 24 2009, may do the same. The Australian Department for Foreign Affairs has yet to decide whether or not to attend.

Commssioner Calma’s term finishes in July

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