” In an extraordinary case of timing, the Coalition will debate on March 21 (today ) removing protections in Australia’s race hate laws on what is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.”
James Massola Canberra Times 21 March HERE
” The theme in 2017 for is Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
Australia has continuing challenges regarding racial abuse and discrimination, evidenced for example by the disproportionate incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians, the current Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and the treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres both onshore and offshore.”
Posted 20 March Australian Parliament Website see in full below
“ Surveys suggested racism was already a near-universal experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, with 97% having experienced it in the past year and more than 70% reporting eight or more incidents in that period. Almost one-third said they had experienced racism in the health setting.
By settings standards of conduct, the law had an important role in containing the spread of racism and race hate, and described the watering down of sections 18c & d of the RDA as a “major risk” for the effective implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023.
The Plan envisages a health system free of racism, offering effective, high quality, appropriate and affordable health services to Indigenous Australians “
Matthew Cooke Chair of NACCHO
NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FU2racism :
” Groundhog Day this week and that hoary old favourite of the clearly oppressed and downtrodden right-wing commentariat, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Let’s start with the latter, which is a touchstone for conservatives who, as Attorney-General George Brandis once put it, want to enshrine their legal rights to be bigots.
Put aside for a minute that none of the people who claim 18C is the gravest threat to free speech Australia has ever faced can actually answer the following question: “What exactly is it that you want to say, but the law as it stands prohibits you from saying now?”
Paul Syvret is assistant editor at The Courier-Mail 21 March
Instead realise that the RDA has some fairly iron-clad protections in the form of section 18D.
This is a section you don’t often hear the free-speech warriors discussing a lot, and it reads as follows:
“Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:
(a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or
(b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or
(c) in making or publishing: (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.”
As Queensland MP and deputy chairman of the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights Graham Perrett points out, that committee – after a 112-day inquiry with 11,000 submissions – decided NOT to recommend any changes to the RDA.
As the forests of newsprint continue to be devoted to lionising The Australian’slate and controversial cartoonist Bill Leak, an aggressive crusader for repealing section 18C, Perrett has this to say: “The untimely passing of cartoonist Bill Leak is very distressing for his family and friends.
“Most Australians, including me, recognise his undoubted creative talent. Nevertheless, Mr Leak’s cartoons are not relevant to any discussion about changing section 18C.
“Indeed, the legislation makes it very clear that Leak’s cartoons would not be caught by section 18C due to the exemptions in section 18D.”
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed with a series of worldwide events on 21 March every year.
Proclaiming the Day on 26 October 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).The date of 21 March was chosen to commemorate that day in 1960 when police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid ‘pass laws’.
Since those earlier days, the UN observes there has been progress:
… the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and we have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification, yet still, in all regions, too many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted on 21 December 1965 and entered into force on 4 January 1969.
2017 theme: Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration
Every year the International Day is held under one specific theme. The theme in 2017 is Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
Racial and ethnic profiling is defined as ‘a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity’ according to a report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism of 20 April 2015.
Refugees and migrants are particular targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred. In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016, United Nations Member States strongly condemned acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants, and committed to a range of steps to counter such attitudes and behaviours, particularly regarding hate crimes, hate speech and racial violence.
Campaigns and events
The UN is promoting the following campaigns and events in relation to the International Day:
Stand up for someone’s rights today is a campaign launched by the UN Human Rights Office on Human Rights Day, 10 December, 2016. It aims to: encourage, support and amplify what you do in your everyday life to defend human rights.
The Week of solidarity with the peoples struggling against racism and racial discrimination begins on 21 March each year. It was first established as part of the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination adopted by the General Assembly in 1979 (A/RES/34/24).
To commemorate the 2017 International Day, on 17 March the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva held a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. In New York. there will be a General Assembly plenary meeting in observance of the International Day, on 21 March 2017.
In Australia the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) was a landmark in race relations. The Act was a legislative expression of a new commitment to multiculturalism and it reflected the ratification by Australia of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
As the first Commonwealth legislation concerning human rights and discrimination, the Racial Discrimination Act set an important precedent. As described by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam at a ceremony for its proclamation in October 1975, the Act was ‘a historic measure’, which aimed to ‘entrench new attitudes of tolerance and understanding in the hearts and minds of the people’.
Since 1999, 21 March in Australia has also been celebrated as Harmony Day. Timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Harmony Day is dedicated to celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity. Harmony Day events are supported by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and each year a wide range of community sporting and cultural organisation have held events including sporting activities, food festivals, dance and music performances or simply bringing people together to talk and share stories.
While Harmony Day has shifted Australia’s commemorative focus to the more positive celebration of cultural diversity and racial harmony, the UN International Day with its focus on the prevention and eradication of racism is still relevant. Australia has continuing challenges regarding racial abuse and discrimination, evidenced for example by the disproportionate incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians, the current Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory and the treatment of asylum seekers in detention centres both onshore and offshore.
Parliament too, has more recently been involved in a debate on whether racial vilification laws impose unreasonable restrictions on freedom of speech and the Joint Standing Committee on Human Rights has recently completed an inquiry into free speech and Australia’s laws against racial vilification.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s view, which was also supported by the majority of submissions to the Committee, is that ‘the laws against racial vilification have served Australia well over the last 20 years in sending the message that racial abuse will not be tolerated in our multicultural society’. Ultimately, there was no consensus from the Committee on whether any reform was necessary and, for the moment, the laws remain as they are.