e-Blast: QDN Celebrates International Human Rights Day and looks forward to the Human Rights Act commencing in Queensland from 1 January 2020

10 December marks International Human Rights Day.  This is the day the United Nations General Assembly, in 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable (unchangeable, absolute) rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being — regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Click here to access more information about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Click here to access more information about the 70th anniversary celebrations.

Also significant is that from 1 January, 2020 the Human Rights Act 2019 comes into effect In Queensland. Individuals, groups and organisations have advocated for many years to have an Act which sets out people’s fundamental human rights and powers to address human rights complaints.  This is an exciting time for Queensland. QDN believes members need to be informed of your rights as set out in the Human Rights Act 2019 and have information about how to ensure your rights are upheld, particularly in relation to the services you receive and your everyday interactions with the community (work, recreation, mainstream services).

Click here to access the Human Rights Act 2019.

The main objects of the Act are to:

  • protect and promote human rights
  • help build a culture in the Queensland public sector that respects and promotes human rights
  • help promote a dialogue about the nature, meaning and scope of human rights.

The Act will form part of the suite of administrative law responsibilities and oversight mechanisms that hold government to account. From this date the recently formed Queensland Human Rights Commission will have the power to receive and conciliate (resolve) human rights complaints. This means fairer laws, policies and practices in government’s day-to-day dealings with the community.

The Human Rights Act protects 23 fundamental human rights drawn from international human rights law including:

  • Recognition and equality before the law
  • Right to life
  • Protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Freedom from forced work
  • Freedom of movement
  • Freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • Freedom of expression
  • Peaceful assembly and freedom of association
  • Taking part in public life
  • Property rights
  • Privacy and reputation
  • Protection of families and children
  • Cultural rights—generally
  • Cultural rights—Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Right to liberty and security of person
  • Humane treatment when deprived of liberty
  • Fair hearing
  • Rights in criminal proceedings
  • Children in the criminal process
  • Right not to be tried or punished more than once
  • Retrospective criminal laws
  • Right to education
  • Right to health services.

Click here to access more information about the 23 fundamental human rights.

These rights are recognised in international human rights treaties including the:

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

From 1 January 2020, if you believe that a government department or agency has breached your human rights, the first step is to make a complaint directly to them first. Every government department and agency will have a complaints process in place to deal with human rights concerns. They must respond within 45 business days. If you are not happy with the response from the agency you complained to, you may complain to the QHRC. Complaints under the Human Rights Act 2019 may not be lodged until after 1 January 2020. Complaints under the Human Rights Act will only be able to be made about alleged breaches which occur after 1 January 2020.

Click here to access current information on making a complaint.

QDN will keep members and Local Support Groups informed and updated about the implementation of the Human Rights Act and the work of the Queensland Human Rights Commission in 2020.

Useful Resources

  • Click here to access more information on the Human Rights Act 2019.
  • Click here to access videos from the 2019 Human Rights Month Speaker series.
  • Click here to download Human Rights Act posters.
  • Click here to access the Queensland Human Rights Commission Facebook.
  • Click here to access the Queensland Human Rights Commission Instagram.

Happy International Human Rights Day!

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