3 Mar 2017

Australia called on to lead on human rights

4:57 pm on 3 March 2017

Australia has been called on to raise the bar on its foreign policy and be a principled leader in human rights.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: RNZ / Brad White

The Human Rights Law Centre has filed a submission on a new Foreign Policy White Paper, saying it's important for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting human rights in its work.

The white paper will be the first since 2003 and the Centre says it's an important opportunity for Australia to reshape its foreign policy agenda.

The Centre's director of advocacy, Emily Howie, said Australia's foreign policy should reflect that it was in Australia's national interest for all countries to follow international law and respect human rights.

She said human rights are part and parcel of Australia's national interest but the country hadn't yet ensured that the protection of human rights guided its foreign policy work.

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