Caxton Legal Centre is drawing attention to human rights throughout December 2020, acknowledging International Human Rights Day on December 10 and as we approach the first anniversary of Queensland’s human rights laws coming into effect on January 1, 2021.
International Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR is a milestone document that proclaims the inalienable rights which everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. We are proud to have our own Human Rights Act specific to Queensland, a springboard for working towards a just and inclusive State.
International Human Rights Day is an opportunity to:
- Promote awareness about human rights among people
- Co-operate in highlighting specific human rights issues; and
- Encourage groups most vulnerable to human rights abuses to seek assistance.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme is Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights. It relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring human rights are central to recovery efforts.
Community legal centers have played a key role in the realisation of human rights in Queensland for many years. They are versatile services which respond rapidly in times of crisis. In 2020, at very short notice, centres immediately focussed on how to assist Queenslanders with legal issues directly related to the Covid pandemic.
Community legal centres educate the community to identify human rights breaches and how to take their own steps to resolve legal issues. As part of its human rights focus this month Caxton Legal Centre launched the plain-English chapter Human Rights Law in Queensland. This resource steps Queenslanders through circumstances where they may be able to make a complaint and the process to do so.
Caxton also hosted guest speakers at an event designed to build Queensland’s culture of human rights, in partnership with the Queensland Law Society. This included a focus on the importance of the right to self-determination in the Child Protection Act, by Nunukal lawyer Keryn Ruska, as well as Queensland Human Rights Commissioner Scott McDougall speaking about the need for balance in the limitation of rights in the context of a pandemic.
Caxton also collaborated with Queensland Law Society news publication Proctor to produce a human rights special, a series of articles and perspectives documenting the road to legislation, its application so far, and the impact across the state.
International Human Rights Day on 10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.