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International human rights system

Human rights are codified in international agreements or treaties between governments, called conventions or covenants.  International human rights treaties provide an agreed set of human rights standards and establish mechanisms to monitor the way that a treaty is implemented. By ratifying a treaty, a country voluntarily accepts legal obligations under international law.

Australia is a party to the seven core international human rights treaties:

It is against these treaties that human rights scrutiny processes under the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 are undertaken. Australia also has periodic treaty body reporting obligations under these treaties.

Australia is an active participant in the Universal Periodic Review process which provides an in-depth analysis of Australia’s compliance with our international human rights obligations. 

Australia is also a party to:

Australia is also a party to the individual communications mechanisms under the CAT and the CERD. For further information see human rights communications.

The Australian Government also supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons as a non-legally binding document.