Date: 
Tuesday 12 December 2017

The Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane intends to raise with the Australian government the recommendations from the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The UN Committee, established to monitor states’ compliance with the Convention, released its concluding observations in early December.

“As well as talks with the Australian Government, I will meet with multicultural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to discuss the observations of the CERD Committee, and identify ways to progress the Committee’s recommendations,” Commissioner Soutphommasane said.

The Committee’s recommendations included strengthening anti-racism programs, including the National Anti-Racism Strategy. It also underlined importance of political discourse and the Racial Discrimination Act in setting a standard.

Commissioner Soutphommasane attended CERD’s session in Geneva last month, where he told the Committee there are some clear indications that racial intolerance and racial discrimination are on the rise.

“Australia’s success as a multicultural society is one worthy of celebration – but it must not induce complacency. It remains of urgent importance that the Racial Discrimination Act continues to set a standard for racial equality and tolerance, that there are steps taken to strengthen Australia’s multiculturalism, and that Australian governments respond to findings of racial discrimination,” he said.

Commissioner Soutphommasane is pleased the Committee has highlighted the need for better data collection on race and ethnicity.

“Better data collection would enable a better understanding of racial disparities in health, employment, education and the criminal justice system."

The Committee also made recommendations relating to the Closing the Gap strategy and constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Peoples.

The Committee’s concluding observations can be downloaded here.