The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will push for Australia to introduce federal anti-discrimination legislation covering sexuality and gender identity at the United Nations in Geneva.
The AHRC has produced a draft submission for an audit of Australia’s human rights as part of the 8th Universal Periodic Review early next year.
Section 12 of the submission notes, “Many GLBTI people in Australia experience significant levels of violence, harassment, bullying and discrimination in the workplace and the broader community … The Commission recommends that sexual orientation and gender diversity be included as grounds of protection in federal discrimination laws.”
The submission also mentions civil marriage rights and the difficulty some sex and gender diverse people have obtaining official documents that accurately reflect their sex and gender.
The AHRC has called for public comment on the draft before it is finalised, including its GLBTI rights recommendations.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL), Australian Coalition for Equality (ACE) and Australian Marriage Equality (AME) all urge community members to voice their opinion.
“The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby will be reviewing the AHRC draft submission and making comments where necessary and also encourages members of the GLBTI community to submit their comments,” NSW GLRL convenor Kellie McDonald said.
“It is very likely that social conservatives will use this comment process to push to have issues such as same-sex marriage removed from the submission paper.”
AME spokesman Rodney Croome told Sydney Star Observer it would ask the AHRC for marriage equality to be included in the submission.
“We have also requested a meeting with the Human Rights Commissioner, Catherine Branson, to discover why the AHRC failed to recommend marriage equality,” Croome said.
“The credibility of the AHRC is undermined if it cannot recommend a human rights reform that has the overwhelming support of the Australian community.”
ACE’s Corey Irlam said his organisation would push for recommendations on marriage equality, plus other issues including protection on the grounds of relationship status, and reform allowing transgender and intersex people to ensure their official documents accurately reflect their sex and gender.
The document should also “refer to discriminatory state laws in the area of same-sex parenting and recommend they be reformed”, Irlam said.
All three organisations are considering lodging their own submissions with the Universal Periodic Review.

info: Comments on the document must be received by June 2 and can be lodged at www.humanrights.gov.au/upr/feedback.html

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