Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, has commissioned a parliamentary inquiry to review Australia’s diplomatic efforts against the death penalty, following the executions last April of drug traffickers, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in Bali.
A parliamentary human rights subcommittee, chaired by former attorney-general Philip Ruddock, will examine Australia’s current engagement on capital punishment, and will recommend further steps the government can take on the world stage.
Amnesty International and Australian human rights activists say they are “very encouraged” by the moves to ramp up Australia’s campaign against the death penalty. Australia is part of a global movement of countries which have abolished the death penalty. But there is more Australia can do to end the death penalty around the world.
Australian politician and member of the House of Representatives Philip Ruddock, said Australia should constantly agitate for the abolition of capital punishment, in addition to intensified efforts when diplomatic crises emerge. “Recent events have shone a light on the scourge that is the death penalty and provoked the question; ‘what can we do about it?’ – this inquiry aims to answer just that,” Mr Ruddock said.
“Australia needs to go beyond an approach where our voice is loudest immediately prior to a planned execution; we need to shift the focus of ending the death penalty worldwide. An inquiry of this type, the first of its kind for the Australian parliament, will put us in the strongest position for championing global action,” Mr Ruddock said.
Submissions to the inquiry should be made before October 2, 2015 to the joint standing committee on foreign affairs, defence and trade.
The inquiry will be co-chaired by Labor backbencher Chris Hayes, who with Mr Ruddock, convenes the cross-party group Australian Parliamentarians against the Death Penalty.
“Australia has established itself as a key player on the international stage — I’m pleased we will be able to examine how we use our already strong record to fight for human rights in this space,” Mr Hayes said.
(source: The Australian)