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Report recommends strengthening protection of human rights for vulnerable Victorians

The Review of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities tabled in the Victorian Parliament today provides a range of recommendations that would strengthen the human rights protection of some of the state’s most vulnerable people, according to the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“It is often the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community who are the most likely to have their human rights violated. They can be evicted from their homes into homelessness, they can be denied basic health and human services when they most need them, or be unable to catch a bus to their local shopping centre. Such infringements of basic rights can have significant effects on people’s ability to lead meaningful lives,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“The Charter of Human Rights is an important framework for the government and the community to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. But ultimately human rights can only be protected if everyone in our community recognises the importance of treating people with respect.”

“We particularly welcome the importance the review puts on strengthening Victoria’s human rights culture, through its recommendations around strong government leadership, embedding human rights in key government documents and practice, and improved access to information and training across the community.“

“While the review recommends the inclusion of economic social and cultural rights be considered as part of a future review, we believe it is time to include these rights in the Charter to help create an environment that supports all Victorians to live with dignity and participate fully in the community.“

“It is often economic, social and cultural rights that are the most meaningful for vulnerable people, because they relate to basic necessities of life, including health, housing, social security and adequate food.”

“In responding to this review, the Victorian Government has an opportunity to help build a stronger and more enduring human rights culture across Victoria, which protects and fulfils the human rights of the most vulnerable Victorians, including by further strengthening the Charter.”