About the ACT Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner
The ACT Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner is one of three Commissioners within the ACT Human Rights Commission.
The current Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner is Helen Watchirs.
The Commissioner provides community education and information about the rights protected in the ACT Human Rights Act 2004.
Human rights are universal, and enjoyed by everyone in the ACT regardless of gender, religious belief, nationality, race or any other point of difference.
The ACT was the first jurisdiction in Australia to enact a Human Rights Act, which provides an explicit statutory basis for respecting, protecting and promoting civil and political rights. Rights protected include:
- Recognition and equality before the law;
- The right to life;
- The right not to be subject to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- The right not to be subject to medical treatment or experimentation without consent;
- The right to privacy and reputation;
- Rights of the family and children;
- The right to participate in public life;
- Freedom of expression;
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religious belief;
- Rights of minorities to enjoy their culture;
- Freedom of movement;
- The right to a fair trial and rights in criminal proceedings; and
- Freedom from forced work.
These rights reflect Australia’s international human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The first statement of 'human rights' internationally came in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a United Nations Declaration that was a precursor to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
More information on these United Nations Documents is available at http://www.un.org/en/rights/index.shtml
As well as the Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner, there are two other Commissioners within the Commission:
- Mary Durkin: Disability & Community Services Commissioner, and Health Services Commissioner
- Alasdair Roy: Children & Young People Commissioner
The Commission operates from a model of collegiality, and does not have an administrative head. All three Commissioners have equal seniority and decision making authority within the Commission.Last updated 09 Mar 2013