By Shar Adams Epoch Times Australia Staff Mar 07, 2006 Lawyer, Mediator, and Company Director, Graeme Innis, has been named both new Human Rights Commissioner and new Disability Commissioner for Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) Mr Innis replaces Dr Sev Ozdowski, who conducted a three-year inquiry cataloguing a litany of human rights violations against child asylum seekers. The resulting report has been credited for the government's decision to release all children from immigration detention centres in August 2005. President of HREOC, John von Doussa QC welcomed the appointment of Mr Innis to the dual roles, stating that Mr Innis had a wealth of experience in the human rights and equal opportunity areas. Mr Innis has been Deputy Disability Discrimination Commissioner for HREOC since 2000 and was the first blind President of the Royal Blind Society of NSW. He has also been in the human rights field for over twenty years, working in the Commonwealth arena, as hearing commissioner and policy adviser, and in the States as a lawyer and conciliator for NSW and Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commissions. "I have been in the field for a long time and I suppose this appointment is the peak of my achievement," Mr Innis told The Epoch Times. While he is still in the planning process to determine what sorts of issues he will be working on, Mr Innis said education will continue to be a focus. "Human Rights education will be an important facet of the work that I do in the next five years," he said "because it is an important part of the Commission's function. "Australia is a society where I think, in general, there is a fair degree of tolerance and respect for people's different views and different approaches on issues and I will be wanting to reinforce that sort of position." His comments come on the back of results of a recent HREOC report stating young Australians still have some apprehensions about human rights issues and there is a need for further education in the area. As a result a new human rights webpage was launched by HREOC last month, specifically for secondary students. As Human Rights Commissioner, Mr Innis will be expected to advise the government on policy, preside over hearings on human rights complaints, and develop programmes to increase awareness. He may also participate in the Secretariat of Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions which the commission has hosted since 1996, and the Human Rights Technical Assistance Program, which is an integral part of the annual Dialogue on Human Rights with China. Mr Innis said: "he was very pleased with his appointment" and did not expect it to be without its challenges. "This job is not only a proactive job," he said: "it's a job where you often have to react to situations in relation to human rights as they occur, so no doubt I will have a few of those to attend to in the next five years as well." Source: http://www.theepochtimes.com/tools/printer.asp?id=39015 ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======= Send mail intended for the list to < >. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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