Human Rights in Detail
The ACT Human Rights Act contains twenty human rights based on International agreements about how to protect values such as freedom, respect, equity and dignity. ACT Government agencies and other ACT public authorities must act and make decisions consistently with these rights.
Right to move freely around the Australian Capital Territory.
People have the freedom to think and believe what they want, for example, religion. They can do this in public or private, as part of a group or alone.
People have the right to join groups or unions and to meet peacefully.
They have the right to find, receive and share information and ideas. In general, this right might be limited to respect the rights and reputation of other people, or for the protection of public safety and order.
Protection from slavery and servitude, but does not apply to those in prison.
Everyone is entitled to equal and effective protection against discrimination, and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.
Right to Life (s.9)
Every person has the right to life and to not have their life taken. The right to life includes a duty on government to take appropriate steps to protect the right to life, particularly in relation to institutional care.
People must not be tortured. People must also not be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way. This includes protection from treatment that humiliates a person.
Right to Protection from Experimentation and Medication Treatment without Consent (s.10(2)) (.pdf) (.doc)
People must not be subjected to medical treatment or experiments without their full and informed consent.
Families are the natural and basic group unit of society and are entitled to protection. Relevant areas of application include accommodation, care and protection issues and institutional care.
Children have the same rights as everyone else, with added protections. Relevant areas of application include how children are accommodated, and how children are treated in criminal and court proceedings and education.
Everyone has the right to keep their lives private. Your family, home or personal information cannot be interfered with, unless the law allows it.
Every person has the right to take part in public life, such as the right to vote or run for public office.
Everyone has the right to freedom and safety. The right to liberty includes the right to not be arrested or detained except in accordance with the law. The right to security means that reasonable steps must be taken to ensure the physical safety of people who are in danger of physical harm.
People have the right to be treated with humanity if they are accused of breaking the law and are detained.
People can have different family, religious or cultural backgrounds. They can enjoy their culture, declare and practice their religion and use their languages
Rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (s.27(2))
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold distinct cultural rights and must not be denied these rights, including to maintain, control protect and develop: cultural heritage, languages and kinship ties. This right also includes to have their material and economic relationships with the land and waters and other resources recognised.
A child charged with committing a crime or who has been detained without charge must not be held with adults. They must also be brought to trial as quickly as possible and treated in a way that is appropriate for their age. Children are entitled to opportunities for education and rehabilitation in detention
A person has a right to a fair hearing. This means the right to have criminal charges or civil proceedings decided by a competent, independent and impartial court or tribunal after a fair and public hearing
There are a number of minimum guarantees that you have when you have been charged with a criminal offence. These include the right to be told the charges against you in a language you understand; the right to an interpreter if you need one; the right to have time and the facilities to prepare your own case or to talk to your lawyer; the right to have your trial heard without too much delay; the right to be told about Legal Aid if you don’t already have a lawyer; you are presumed innocent until proven guilty; and you don’t have to testify against yourself or confess your guilt unless you choose to do so.
This right covers those convicted of a crime whose conviction is later reversed, they are pardoned or a miscarriage of justice has occurred.
A person will only go to court and be tried once for a crime. This means if the person is found guilty they will only be punished once. If they are found to be innocent they will not be punished.
A person has the right not to be prosecuted or punished for things that were not criminal offences at the time they were committed.
Right to Education (s.27A)
The right to pre-school, primary and secondary education, and further education and continuing training without discrimination.
The ACT Human Rights Act generally provides that human rights are not absolute, but may only be limited when it is reasonable and proportionate to do so.
ACT laws must where possible be interpreted consistently with human rights.
The ACT Supreme Court may declare laws incompatible with human rights.
Guidelines on when and how the Human Rights Commissioner will seek leave to intervene in court proceedings raising human rights issues.
Public Authorities must act and make decisions consistently with all other human rights in the Act.