Australia will become a member of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, UN representatives announced mid October.
The Human Rights Council, established in 2006, is an inter-governmental body tasked with the protection and promotion of human rights around the world.
Australia emerged as the front-runner after France, its primary competition, withdrew their bid for membership.
A group of Australian NGOs came together to prepare a report on Australia’s adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The report, headed by the Kingsford Legal Centre and the Human Rights Law Centre, was critical of Australia’s treatment of the rights of refugees and Indigenous Australians.
While representatives travelled to Geneva to present their findings to the UN Human Rights Committee, Australian activists, NGOs and community organisations have also spoken out against Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.
Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power said the election to the Human Rights Council will open up a fresh round of scrutiny of Australia’s human rights record for its three-year term on the council.
Australia joins Angola, Congo, Senegal, Slovakia, Ukraine, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Spain in this round of elections to the Council, and will begin it’s term on January 1st, 2018.