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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 0

To the honourable Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives:

This petition of citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:

The death in custody of Mr Ward who died of heatstroke in inhumane and avoidable circumstances in January 2008 in Western Australia, the fact the treatment of Mr Ward violated Australia’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and that these violations need to be remedied and their recurrence prevented.

We therefore ask the House to:

1.   Review the legal framework for giving effect to Australia’s human rights treaty obligations and to international standards within the criminal justice system, with particular attention to the role of imprisonment in punishment, rehabilitation and public security, the conditions of imprisonment and the transport of prisoners, and the comparative capacity of private and state run custodial services to conform with minimum human rights standards and rehabilitate prisoners.

2.   Direct and resource the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a public inquiry into systemic rights violations that underpin the extreme over-representation of Indigenous Australians at all levels of contact with the criminal justice system and to propose remedies for addressing them, including reviewing the outstanding recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

3.   Lead discussions with State and Territory governments to enact reforms that would create obligations on governments to respond promptly and positively to coronial recommendations within prescribed time limits.

by Mrs Irwin (from 3,280 citizens)