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Australian government attacks UN Treaty system

Australian ABC news, 30 March 2000

Australia to review its participation in UN committee system

The Federal Government has announced it will review Australia's participation in the United Nations treaty committee system.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, says there is a growing perception that UN committees are pursuing political agendas rather than fulfilling their expert objectives.

He says an example is the "blatantly political" attack on Australia's performance last week by the UN committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Mr Downer says the committee completely accepted the claims made by political lobby groups, but ignored reports submitted by the Government.

Excess treaties

The Northern Territory Government has welcomed the Federal Government's decision to review Australia's participation in the United Nations' treaty committee system.

A UN committee last week recommended the territory's mandatory sentencing laws be reviewed, saying they appeared to target Aboriginal people.

The Deputy Chief Minister, Mike Reed, says too many international treaties were signed by the former federal Labor government.

"I see this more of the rights of all Australians, and the ability for Australians to determine what priorities they want, for our country to advance and what rules we want to live under," he said.

"And from that point of view, a review of the treaties to which we are a signatory, and those that we may enter into in the future, is most welcome," Mr Reed said.

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Feel free to distribute widely but please acknowledge the source. ***

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