Australia’s human rights reputation undermined by lack of transparency in Commissioner appointment

Australia’s international reputation for human rights is undermined by processes that lack transparency and result in hand-picked appointments to critical positions on the Human Rights Commission, according to the Australian Lawyers Alliance ( TO THE).

We are deeply concerned about the recent process used by the government to select the new Australian Commissioner for Human Rights, ”said Melia Benn, National Human Rights Spokesperson, ALA. “A public and independent, merit-based selection process for senior appointments to the Australian Human Rights Commission must be put in place.

“For the Australian Human Rights Commission to maintain its international credibility and legitimacy, appointments to positions such as Commissioner require a clear, transparent and participatory process. Failure to implement such a process exposes Australia to criticism from the international human rights community.

The ALA is adding its voice to the call of more than eighty human rights leaders who have urged the Australian government to impose a legislated appointment process for all senior positions on the Commission.

“To ensure that the post retains its independence, it must go through an open and transparent process, where the post is advertised and properly qualified, senior human rights experts can apply,” Benn said.

“Such a process will ensure wider participation and ensure that the best quality candidates are considered. It also helps maintain public confidence in the Commission on Human Rights as an independent and fearless agency that holds the government accountable for upholding human rights.

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