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Attorney-General hosts 12th NGO human rights forum.

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28 November 2003 R035/2003


Attorney-General Philip Ruddock hosted the 12th Attorney-General’s Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Forum on Human Rights in Canberra today.

“The NGO Forum is an important part of the human rights policy process that allows community organisations and the Australian Government to discuss current human rights issues and developments,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Forum discussions covered a range of issues and Government initiatives that reflect the diversity of human rights interests within Australia.”

These included the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, Disability Standards for Education and Disability Standards for Access to Premises. The standards provide practical assistance to people with disabilities and remove many of the barriers to their participation in public life.

“The Forum also discussed the repugnant trade of trafficking in people around the world,” Mr Ruddock said.

“This practice involves the deception and degradation of hundreds of thousands of people and includes the sexual exploitation of women and children.”

The Australian Government has allocated more than $20 million to combat this insidious crime, including some of the world’s toughest legislation.

The Forum also heard an update on recent legislative developments such as the Sex Discrimination (Pregnancy and Work) Act and the Age Discrimination Bill 2003.

“This legislation promises to greatly enhance the Commonwealth’s existing suite of anti-discrimination laws,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The Forum has a valuable role in facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and views between NGOs and the Government, as well as being a highly effective vehicle for the Government to consult the human rights community on policies and projects under development.

“An important element in efforts to protect against discrimination and to promote human rights is consultation and cooperation between all interested parties.

“The Forum today is both a symbol of this cooperation and a practical consultative measure between the Government and organisations that share a commitment to human rights in Australia.”

Media Contact: Steve Ingram (02) 6277 7300 0419 278 715

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone (02) 6277 7300 • Fax (02) 6273 4102