Guide to making a human rights complaint to the United Nations

Guide to making a human rights complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council


The document below is a guide only.


The United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently accepted petitions from several stranded Australians and issued an interim directive for the Australian government to urgently repatriate the petitioners while their complaints are adjudicated. The whole process of adjudication is expected to take at least a year. The directive is not legally enforceable in Australia.


Under Section IV of the UN complaint form on 'exhaustion of domestic remedies', we suggest referring to submissions made by Professor Kim Rubinstein on behalf of the previous petitioners that no legal remedies are available under current Australian law. You might also state that it is difficult to get legal advice from abroad if you don't have the financial resources.


We can't be certain but it may help your complaint to the UN if you're able to tell them you've made a complaint to the AHRC. The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is also limited in its powers and may only make recommendations to government.


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