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Human rights explained to refugees

21 July 20170 comments

A Human Rights training initiative is helping refugees new to Australia understand their rights and the protections they have under Australian law.

The ‘Human Rights Training Package’ was developed in response to frustrations reported by many refugee communities across Australia who find the laws and rights relating to family life in Australia confusing and challenging.

It was developed by the UNSW Centre for Refugee Research and migrant and refugee settlement agency AMES Australia a part of the Australian Reseach Council funded Linkage Project, titled ‘The Meaning of Rights in Refugee Settlement’.

The project also worked with refugee communities and community agencies to explore how understandings of human rights influence refugee settlement in Australia and to develop policy and service responses.

The package includes a booklet titled: ‘Human Rights in Australia: An Introduction for Newly Arrived Refugee Families’.

The booklet details the rights of families in Australia and what they mean. It includes summaries of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

It also includes booklets on women’s rights and children’s rights.

AMES Australia CEO Cath Scarth said that refugee communities had expressed confusion over human rights in families in Australia.

“Sometimes instead of rights being seen as something good about life in Australia, some see rights as negative or as a problem for their family,” Ms Scarth said.

“One of the things we at AMES Australia have learned over many years of supporting newly arrived refugees and migrants settle in Australia is that many of them come with incomplete knowledge of our nation’s legal system as well its customs and widely accepted standards of behaviour,” she said.

“We see a lot of people who struggle because they are not aware of the protections they have under the law when it comes to things like family violence and a whole range of aspects of life in Australia.

Ms Scarth said the initiative was produced with the help of refugee communities.

“This work could not have happened without the help of refugees so I would like to acknowledge the contributions and the input by our refugee communities and their leaders,” she said.

“The package will become a vital resource in helping refugees who are new to this country understand their rights and responsibilities under Australian law and to give them the confidence to seek help or to stand up for themselves,” Ms Scarth said.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist