Australian Human Rights Commission submits report to UN
The Australian Human Rights Commission has submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, detailing the key human rights concerns for children. The UN Committee is currently considering Australia’s progress in meeting its obligations to children under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and this report forms joins similar offerings from the Australian Government and civil society.
The report is the first to the UN body since the appointment of National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell in 2013.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on 1 November 2018, Ms Mitchell cited the extensive meetings and consultations which formed the basis of the report, saying:
“I met hundreds of children this year alone and heard from 22,700 other children through an online national poll. I also heard from over 100 stakeholders and received 127 written submissions,”
She then outlined groups of children who were especially vulnerable: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, refugee and asylum seeker children, LGBTI children, children with disability, children in out-of-home care, and children living in rural and remote areas.
Critical issues uncovered by Ms Mitchell during the consultative process included “little systemic change” to address the rates of children involved in the child protection system, or to address the underlying reasons for children being placed in out-of-home care, and the increasing rates of self harm and suicide in children and young people.
“Going forward, we have much work to do. A central message in the report is the need for stronger measures in policy, law and practice to protect children and advance their rights.” Ms Mitchell concluded.