We are hypocrites. We criticise other countries, China and Qatar for example, for perceived breaches of human rights when our own record is poor at best and that of our closest ally is woeful.
Our treatment of Indigenous Australians, including the disproportionate incarceration rates, weigh heavily on our human rights record. Our performance is shameful.
Australia’s inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, including prolonged incarceration offshore and prolonged detention of children, were criticised by the UN Human Rights Council as were our prosecution and jailing of children as young as ten. In addition some of our military have apparently committed war crimes in Afghanistan.
Our close ally the United States of America’s human rights breaches are numerous: some 8–10 million dead through their illegal wars, invasions, and sanctions plus many more millions wounded; numerous war crimes; use of chemicals in war (Agent Orange and depleted uranium weapons resulted in thousands of stillbirths and deformities); kidnapping and torture; indefinite detention without charge or trial; murder by drone; incitement of coups; and illegal collective punishment of entire populations (Venezuela being just one example). These are among the many grievous breaches of human rights routinely carried out by our ally. America is arguably the most violent, aggressive, and belligerent nation on Earth and probably the world’s worst human rights abuser.
And yet we and America have the gall to criticise other nations’ human rights records.
As it says in the Bible, ‘Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye’. [Matthew 7:5] We are this hypocrite.
Foreign minister Penny Wong said that she raised human rights issues with China ‘consistent with our values’. What does ignoring America’s and our own human rights abuses while we criticise others’ say about these ‘values’?