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The Forum > Article Comments > The delicate diplomacy of being 'nice' human rights violators > Comments

The delicate diplomacy of being 'nice' human rights violators : Comments

By Howard Glenn, published 21/3/2005

Howard Glenn argues Australia cannot hide human rights violations behind banal 'niceness' to the CERD

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Although I am sure the aims of all these committees are intensely worthy, and I share the embarassment Howard Glenn describes when our human rights' record is aired in such a forum, I also experienced a twinge of discomfort. If this type of exchange is typical of the workings of CERD, I have to believe that the entire exercise is a thoroughgoing waste of time and space.

I wonder how much of Australian taxpayers' money went into this ritual humiliation? I doubt whether it will change one single mind, alter any conceivable strategy, or even slightly raise or lower our standing in the world, on any possible measure. It is bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake, and is a credit to no-one. least of all the UN itself.

As a measure of this, consider the priceless irony of being the butt of a snide remark on our human rights record... from the Chinese delegate.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 21 March 2005 2:10:01 PM
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Again, I read with amazement at the Australian Govenments lack of insight into its actions regarding refugees and the Indgenous people of this land. Now with the final demise of ATSIC, Indigenous people have no real means of influencing or being heard by Government - instead they have become further disenfranchised. CERD is necessary, regardless of cost!!
Posted by annie02bell, Monday, 21 March 2005 3:25:08 PM
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I would have thought the first agenda of the UN was to support the rights of citizens of a country to uniform and equal rights.

Firstly illegal-entrants to Australia are not citzens and have attempted to infiltrate Australia by evading the processes of migration to suit their own illegal purposes. Thus the UN should have no regard to the oppulence of the conditions in which they find themselves "detained".

Secondly - aboriginal Australians have not sought equal rights, they have sought special and exclusive rights which place them in a position beyond the status of "ordinary Australians" (we can start with those of us who will be penalised for not voting in elections versus the right of aboriginals vote or not as suits their mood on the day and go one from there).

Because some quasi-developed "social order" has aquired an influence and disagrees with us - let us look at the record of their individual homeland and measure them against how they behave when at home.

Australia is a sovereign nation and the sole occupier of a single continent. Look at anywhere else around the globe, no other "continent" can demonstrate such a common commitment to universal values of equality of its citizenry as we do.

So coming to the point - people who live in glass houses - should not throw stones. On such a scale no one will be throwing anything our way, except possible garlands......
Posted by Col Rouge, Monday, 21 March 2005 4:51:54 PM
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Australia has been a leader in human rights since the beginning of its national history. There is no country in the world that has behave with greater humanity or compassion in any decade. Australia has spent more money per capita than most other countries not only to enhance the circumstances of residents and citizens than most others.

The likes of Mamdouh Habib, who would have been rightly thrown out of a plane for their ingratitude and their treachery 50 years ago, instead benefit by a grant of $200,000 to return to Australia. In a contemporay Muslim country, this monster would be tied to the blades of the plane assigned to repatriate him.

I fail to understand why we, as Australians, and westerners in other progressive countries, are expected to make mawkish gestures indicating a willingness to participate in grotesqueries like "Harmony Days". I don't see that multiculturalism is a success. Of course, some groups can co-exist happily and constructively. But others don't. Crime rates, delinquent behaviour, demands from some groups for flexibility and behavioural and financial concessions, are forever uni-directional, so that migrants from developing countries demand benefits of the cultures that built developed nations. In the same way, developing countries demand concessions by way of trade and access to markets and dispensations for their abuses of human rights, and requests for aid.

Migrants from such countries cost more socially and financially than they ever repay or contribute. No one asked me or anyone I know if we wanted the current form of multiculturalism; and no one I know wants this current extreme form of multiculturalism.

I say to hell with Harmony Day.

Yours in measured harmony,
Greg Deane
Posted by Hamlet_Ofinn, Monday, 21 March 2005 6:14:05 PM
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Some comments posted in response to this article amount to racial vilification and are apt reminders of the urgent need for the elimination of racial discrimination in Australia.
Posted by Fi, Monday, 21 March 2005 7:37:21 PM
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When you say "CERD is necessary, regardless of cost!!", annie02bell, exactly what is it that you believe we are paying for?

And you don't actually mean 'regardless of cost', that's just an emotional outburst to show that you really care. Which is fair enough.

Except that these remote bodies, who meet every two (or maybe five) years, and spend a couple of days tut-tutting at each other, are far less engaged with the issues than you are. They have no responsibility for outcomes, no budget for real activity, they are simply talking heads justfying their generous travel and accommodation expenses. Their sanctions extend, Howard tells us, to Australia "[b]eing talked about, being included on lists, having unpleasant statistics circulated, speeches made in international seminars: itís about as bad as it gets." Be still, my terrified beating heart.

So I'd say "annie02bell is necessary, regardless of cost", because it would appear that you actually care.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 21 March 2005 10:16:25 PM
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