Australian Government Told To See U.S Insurrection As Wake Up Call

Australian Government Told To See U.S Insurrection As Wake Up Call

By Martin Cole-

The Australian government has been told to treat the deadly mob assault on the U.S Capitol as “a wake-up call”, after a leading human rights organisation saying Australian security agencies it must counter the growth of rightwing extremism.

Human Rights Watch published its annual global report on human rights abuses on Wednesday evening, in which it called on US allies like Australia to work with the incoming Joe Biden administration to uphold impeachment.

The Australian director at Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, said Donald Trump’s role in inciting a mob assault on the Capitol last week was “a wake-up call for governments around the world including Australia”.

“The Australian government should speak plainly and consistently in condemning the actions of those who undermine democracy, even when it is the president of the United States,” she said.

“At the same time, Australian authorities should be vigilant about the growth of rightwing extremism here,” she said.

Parliament’s joint committee on intelligence and security has begun an inquiry into far-right extremism in Australia, after the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, in response to demands from Labor late last in 2020 to launch  an investigation.

The Australian director at Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, said Donald Trump’s role in inciting a mob assault on the Capitol last week was “a wake-up call for governments around the world including Australia”.

The comments follow increasing warnings from the domestic intelligence agency Asio about the “real and growing” threat posed by the far right in Australia – which now represents up to 40% of the domestic counter-terrorism caseload.

The new report by Human Rights Watch, accused Trump of four years of “indifference and often hostility to human rights”, during a period in which China and Russia “sought to undermine the global human rights system”.

It called for the reduction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates, including repealing punitive bail laws and mandatory sentencing laws, decriminalising public drunkenness, ending over policing of Indigenous communities, and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to at least 14.

Criminal Justice System

The 761-page world report highlighted that indigenous Australians are significantly overrepresented in the criminal justice system, the report added, “with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprising 29% of Australia’s adult prison population, but just 3% of the national population”.

It called for the reduction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration rates, including repealing punitive bail laws and mandatory sentencing laws, decriminalising public drunkenness, ending over policing of Indigenous communities, and raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to at least 14.

“In 2020 the global Black Lives Matter movement refocused attention in Australia on systemic racism and inequality against First Nations people, particularly high death rates in custody, and overrepresentation in prisons,” Pearson said.

“Australian federal and state governments need to urgently prioritise reforming longstanding policies that discriminate against First Nations people.”

The report also criticised Australia’s policy of offshore processing of asylum seekers and criticised the Morrison government for not taking up New Zealand’s offers to take some of the 290 people remaining in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The Australian terrorist who killed 51 Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Christchurch in 2019 was active in far-right groups in his home country but escaped the attention of authorities, according to the royal commission into the massacre.

The head of Asio, Mike Burgess, said in October that while Sunni Islamic extremism remained the agency’s greatest concern, “rightwing extremists are more organised, sophisticated, ideological and active than previous years”.

Burgess said many such groups and individuals had seized on Covid-19, seeing the pandemic “as proof of the failure of globalisation, multiculturalism and democracy, and confirmation that societal collapse and a ‘race war’ are inevitable”.

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