Why seek international remedies?

Contributed by LorraineFinlay and current to 27 July 2018

The most obvious reason for seeking an international remedy is that it provides another option if no remedy is available under Australian law. Making a complaint to a United Nations Committee can be a way of focusing international and national attention towards a particular human rights issue. It can also help to persuade the Australian government to take change a decision or policy, to take certain actions in a particular case, or to reconsider a particular law that violates its international treaty obligations. The decisions made by these Committees will also guide States in the way that they interpret and apply the particular treaty provisions in the future.

However, there are also a number of key limitations that individuals need to be aware of before seeking an international remedy through a United Nations Committee. In particular, it is only possible to seek international remedies after local remedies have been exhausted; the process can be extremely slow; and the final decision that is made is not ultimately binding on Australia or enforceable.

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