OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Religious leaders join government in rejecting hypothesis of Human Rights Charter

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – Religious leaders from the Catholic Church together with Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus and those from the Jewish faith have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to reject a proposal for a national Human Rights Charter. Claiming a Human Rights Charter would be too politically divisive, the Attorney General, Robert McClelland instead recently unveiled a human rights framework at the National Press Club in Canberra. "A legislative charter of rights is not included in the framework," he said, explaining "the Government believes the enhancement of human rights should be done in a way that, as far as possible, unites rather than divides our community." The move to postpone the idea of a human rights charter until 2014, at the earliest - if then - has been greeted with relief by Rocco Mimmo, the Sydney lawyer and founder, and chairman, of the Ambrose Centre for Religious Liberty. The Advisory Board of the Ambrose Centre includes the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell; Sydney's Anglican Archbishop, Dr Peter Jensen; the Senior Rabbi of the Great Synagogue, Jeremy Lawrence; Brisbane lawyer and member of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Mr Haset Sali; Hindu leader, Mr Gambhir Watts and prominent Buddhist leader and academic, My-Van Tran. The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has also welcomed the decision, affirming that Christians care deeply about the need to uphold human rights, particularly the rights of the most vulnerable, and endorsing the Government's decision to concentrate on a national education campaign of human rights rather than a Charter of Human Rights. (AP) (23/4/2010 Agenzia Fides)