26 September 2023

Human Rights show way to anti-racism

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The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has laid the foundations for the country’s first national anti-racism framework in a new report.

Race Discrimination Commissioner, Chin Tan said the National Anti-Racism Framework Scoping Report provided an evidence base and vital next steps for developing a coordinated, national approach to combatting racism in Australia.

Commissioner Tan said it identified data collection and education on racism, and cultural safety as key themes.

He said it also identified media regulation, standards, and legal protections as priority areas for action.

“Urgent, collective action is needed to combat racism throughout this country,” Commissioner Tan said.

“We need to treat racism as a scourge in much the same way we commit to addressing child abuse and family violence,” he said.

“This Scoping Report is the next step in developing a long-term framework to guide actions on anti-racism and equality by government, NGOs, business, communities, and others.”

Commissioner Tan said that a national anti-racism framework would provide strategies and specific actions to tackle racism in its interpersonal, institutional, and systemic forms.

He said the Report was the outcome of more than 100 consultations in 48 locations with communities, sector organisations, service providers, human rights agencies, Government, and experts, along with 164 public submissions.

“Consultations and submissions revealed widespread support for a framework and emphasised the need for a shared language for anti-racism action,” the Commissioner said.

“We heard about the need to understand racism as a complex, intersectional phenomenon that reaches far beyond ‘race’ and as an all-encompassing force perpetuated across many sites of power by institutions and structures.”

Commissioner Tan said this included acknowledging and respecting the experiences of First Nations peoples.

“When we hold this as a baseline for anti-racism action, we recognise the colonial foundations of Australia, their past and present impacts, and the immense value in drawing upon the unique strengths and leadership of First Nations peoples and communities,” he said.

He said work on the next phase of developing a national anti-racism framework was progressing.

The AHRC’s 175-page Scoping Report can be downloaded at this PS News link.

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