The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC) has written (full text below) to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (@TonyAbbottMHR), expressing “grave concern” about recent Government attacks on the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Gillian Triggs (@GillianTriggs).
The letter was carbon copied to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the concerns shared with other members of the International Coordinating Committee.
The letter states:
Mr Prime Minister, Professor Triggs is highly respected within the international human rights community having held a distinguished career in law, including in the area of legal education. She is held in high esteem within the ICC, being one of the more active members who participates in many public events and has represented the ICC on occasion in various United Nations fora. She has also held the position of chairperson of the Commonwealth Forum for national human rights institution (CFNHR) and is greatly regarded for her leadership and human rights knowledge.
The ICC is a global network of national human rights institutions constituted under Swiss law and coordinates relationships with the United Nations human rights systems. Its accreditation system is based on compliance with the 1993 Paris Principles and grants access to UN committees.
Institutions with full compliance to the Paris Principles are usually accredited “A” status and generally granted speaking rights and seating at human rights treaty bodies and other UN organs.
In a statement that suggests the “A” status of the Australian Human Rights Commission could be in jeopardy, the ICC said:
These actions against an independent state body that is fulfilling its statutory duties to promote and protect human rights are of grave concern to the ICC. The AHRC is internationally recognised by the United Nations as Australia’s NHRI. It has been a member of the ICC since 1999 and has always enjoyed the much coveted “A” status that is granted to NHRIs following a rigorous accreditation process that is carried out by the ICC under the auspices of the OHCHR acting as Secretariat. This “A” status is only granted to NHRIs that comply fully with the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (commonly referred to as the Paris Principles) (Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993). The Paris Principles set out the necessary guarantees of independence that are required in order for the NHRI to be regarded as truly independent.
The coordinated government attack on Triggs has been led by the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the nations most senior legal officer, Attorney-General George Brandis.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague is currently considering at least two submissions, “with the assistance of other related communications and other related information“, which could lead to charges of crimes against humanity being laid against members of the Australian Government.
The attack on Triggs and the AHRC potentially provides a jurisdictional basis for The International Criminal Court (@IntlCrimCourt) to take action against members of the Abbott Government.
In late January, the International Criminal Court wrote to Tracie Aylmer (@taylmer) regarding the status of her submission, saying:
the prosecutor must consider……….the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interests of justice.
Julian Burnside AO QC (@JulianBurnside) wrote an opinion piece in December, 2013, asserting Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison’s actions “appear to constitute a crime against humanity contrary to section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth)”.
Only Attorney-General Senator George Brandis can bring a prosecution under section 268.12.
The attack against Triggs includes alleged inducements to resign her position.
The attack is strong evidence charges under section 268.12 of the Criminal Code (Commonwealth) will not be laid against any person in relation to the treatment of refugees where crimes may exist, and political interference in independent statutory bodies is being exerted by the highest law officer in the country.
There have been no convictions recorded for the murder of Reza Barati or the assault of at least 62 asylum seekers (leaving many with serious injuries) in Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, last February.
No Fibs asked the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (@DIBPAustralia) a series of questions for this piece:
There were a large number of instances of assault and sexual assault recorded against children in immigration detention identified in the Human Rights Commission Forgotten Children report.
Have any of these been referred to police for investigation and have criminal sanctions been applied to alleged offenders?
Have any of the media reports of sexual assault against children being detained on Nauru been referred to police for investigation, and have criminal sanctions been applied to alleged offenders?
Have there been any convictions recorded in either of the above circumstances?
At the time of publishing this piece, DIBP had not responded to our questions.
The AHRC called on the Government to hold a Royal Commission into children in immigration detention.
The Guardian reports:
The shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, wrote to the police on Tuesday after Triggs publicly confirmed she had been asked to resign and offered another senior position in a way that was “clearly linked” by the secretary of the attorney general’s department, on behalf on Brandis.
Note: The International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and The International Criminal Court in The Hague both share the same acronym. In other related pieces ICC could related to either.
Other related stories with additional information here.