Oz to face UN committee over 'racist' Northern Territory intervention allegations

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Canberra, Aug 10 (ANI): Australian officials would face a UN Committee on the 'Elimination of Racial Discrimination' in Geneva on Tuesday amid allegations from human rights activists that the Northern Territory intervention unfairly treats 'aboriginal communities' in the country.

The suspension of asylum seeker claims from Afghans and Sri Lankans earlier this year will also be challenged. Rights groups claim the decision imposed a sweeping policy on the basis of race and violated Australia's international obligations.

The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Emily Howie of the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, as saying that: "Australia had passed laws such as counter-terrorism legislation that targeted people on the basis of race. "Only Muslim people and Tamils have ever been prosecuted under those laws."

Australia had earlier, handed a 109-page report to the committee detailing changes since Labor won power in 2007 to bring the intervention into line with the Racial Discrimination Act and to abolish temporary protection visas.

Meanwhile, the Coalition has pledged to recall parliament within a month of winning the election to reintroduce temporary protection visas.

The Foreign Affairs Department has said that Australia had asked for the UN hearings to be delayed until the election is over, but would participate within the constraints of caretaker conventions.

"The delegation will not comment on possible future policies or programs of the incoming government, or on the future implementation of existing policies," an Australian official said.

Emily Howie, however, claimed that there is nothing that can prevent Australia from discussing the effects of existing policies. (ANI)

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