The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism sought submissions for his report on Australia’s counter-terrorism legislation and measures with a view to identifying the compliance of these with human rights standards.
A joint submission was prepared by the Combined Community Legal Centres Group (NSW) Inc., NSW Young Lawyers Human Rights Committee, AMCRAN, and the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria).
regard to Australia's counter-terrorism measures, the
submission made key observations divided into the following parts:
2002 the Australian Government has introduced new anti-terrorism laws
each year, citing a changed security environment, and without making
an adequate case for their necessity. The Australian public has been
asked to accept increasingly problematic legislation, that cuts at
key human rights and undermines Australia's international
obligations, in the name of a threat that has never been fully
part addresses the 7 questions posed by the UN Special Rapporteur to
guide reporting by State parties.
1 asks State parties to list anti-terrorism legislation currently in
force. Question 2 asks parties to state any intention to become a
party to the Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear
3 asks State parties to identify legislative provisions by which
‘terrorism' is defined. The Report addresses the
definitions contained in the Crimes Act 1914 (s1A3(1), Part
4 asks parties to identify whether and how
such definition(s) meet with the characterisation of terrorism
identified by Security
Council Resolution 1566 (2004) paragraph 3.
5 asks parties to identify all means by which Australia has responded
Council Resolutions 1373 (2001),
paragraphs 2(g), 3(f) and 3(g).
Question 6 asks parties to report
on how the measures discussed in Question 5 above impact upon the
unrestricted enjoyment of rights under various international
instruments, and the reasons for and legality of such limitations or
7 asks parties to identify the existence of any bilateral and
regional arrangements on counterterrorism to which Australia is party
and the means by which such arrangements provide for compliance with
This section was prepared by
AMCRAN and the Federation of Community Legal Centres in Victoria. It
was submitted that Australia's anti-terrorism laws have a
profoundly disempowering effect on the Muslim community.
it was argued that the legislation contributed to Islamaphobia and
social exclusion amongst the Muslim community; that discretionary
uses of the legislation lend themselves to overpolicing of the Muslim
community and Specific offences relating to financing, training and
the terrorist organisation offences disproportionately criminalises
the political and religious activity of Muslims.
submission concludes with an extensive annexure of current
Commonwealth and Anti-terrorism laws in Australia (also available
To download the joint submission, click here.
To download the attachment, click here.
Report by the Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinin was released in 2006
and entitled Australia:
Study on Human Rights compliance while countering terrorism.