Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Australia fails in basic human rights obligation

Radio Australia reports "The Australian Council of Social Service has supported a United Nations report which strongly criticises the country's human rights record.

The report, tabled to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, says Australia has failed in its basic human rights obligation to provide adequate housing for all.

Wendy Morton from the Australian Council of Social Service says the problem is that help is only offered by governments when people hit absolute rock bottom.

"That it tends to be people who are most in crisis at the time that are getting access to public housing and a whole range of people, single people with children and families are needing public housing," she said.

"So we need to be looking at ways to address those needs and to be providing different models of housing."

On 11 June the Human Rights Council discussed the reports of the Special Rapporteurs on the right to food, toxic and dangerous products and wastes, adequate housing and human rights and extreme poverty. In the context of Australia's performance they heard:

"A second addendum contains the report of the Special Rapporteur's mission to Australia. While noting some good practices to address some of the problems related to the implementation of the right to adequate housing, the Special Rapporteur has come to believe that there is a serious national housing crisis in Australia, affecting many sections of the population, with a critical and direct impact on the most vulnerable groups. Australia lacks a clear consistent, long-term and holistic housing strategy. The Special Rapporteur concludes that Australia has failed to implement the human right to adequate housing, and encourages the Government to make housing a national priority. Among his recommendations is the need to establish a national housing ministry."

Yet again, the Howard Government has been named in a UN report on human rights failings. The pattern continues....

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