Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities by H0Sx12


									Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Rural and Regional Forums
August – November 2007
The Department of Human Services, in conjunction with VCOSS and the Victorian Equal Opportunity
and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC), invite registrations for attendance at a series of full-day
forums on the new Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

About the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

Human rights are the foundation for freedom, justice, peace and respect, and are an essential element
of any democratic and inclusive society that respects the rule of law, human dignity and equality.

The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities came into effect on 1 st January 2007. The
Charter is an agreed set of democratic rights and freedoms protected by law.

Under the Charter, the parliament, government departments, and courts are required to talk to each
other about human rights issues, and to act in a way that is consistent with the human rights protected
in the Charter.

Who is impacted by the Charter?

The rights protected under the Charter apply equally to all people in Victoria in their dealings with
government and other public authorities. It is important that community members are aware of their
rights and responsibilities, and the avenues available to them if they feel their rights have been

Public authorities including local government, government departments, Ministers, Victoria Police, and
bodies publicly funded to perform functions on behalf of government (including some non-government
organisations), have a range of responsibilities under the Charter, and are required by law to ensure
those responsibilities are met.

From 1st January 2008, public authorities will be required to act compatibly with the Charter and give
proper consideration to the Charter when making decisions. Key responsibilities that will apply include:
        Respecting and promoting human rights
        Acting compatibly with the Charter when making decisions
        Supporting others to act compatibly with the Charter

Community organisations regarded as public authorities under the Charter will also have these
responsibilities. Many will also have an interest in the Charter as an advocacy tool in their work with
disadvantaged and marginalised community members.
What will the forums cover?

Forum content will provide participants with an understanding of key human rights principles, operation
of the Charter, obligations on public authorities, strategies for developing Charter readiness, and use of
the Charter as a tool for advocacy and change.

Each forum will be a full day event beginning with an introduction to human rights concepts including:
       What are human rights and why are they important?
       Human rights in the Victorian and international context
       Why Victoria has enacted a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

The remainder of the day will be split into two half-day rotating sessions. Participants will have an
opportunity to attend both sessions.

 Creating Charter Readiness in                      Charter Advocacy: a tool for
        your organisation                                      change
Presented by: DHS                                 Presented by: VEOHRC
 Responsibilities on public                          Charter mechanisms
    authorities                                       Responsibilities on public
 Strategies for building Charter                      authorities
    readiness                                         Advocacy and the Charter:
 The Charter and best practice                        strategies for engagement
 The Charter and policy review,                      Legal and non-legal remedies
    program delivery                                  Role of the VEOHRC

Who should attend these forums?

Forums will be open to staff with responsibility for management, policy development and
implementation, and human resources and training from organisations including:
       Department of Human Services
       DHS-funded non-government sectors
       Local government
       Statutory agencies

Where and when will the forums occur?

All forums will run from 9.45am – 4.15pm in the location indicated, with venue details to be confirmed
following registration. All forums are provided free of charge, and a light lunch will be supplied.

Date                                     Region
Monday August 13                         North and West – Fitzroy
Monday August 20                         Southern – Keysborough
Wednesday August 22                      Loddon Mallee – Bendigo
Monday August 27                         Gippsland - Traralgon
Monday September 3                      Barwon/South West – Geelong
Wednesday September 5                   Eastern – Mitcham
Wednesday September 12                  Grampians - Ballarat
Monday September 17                     Southern – Mornington
Wednesday September 26                  Loddon Mallee – Swan Hill
Wednesday October 10                    Hume - Shepparton
Monday October 15                       North and West - Preston
Wednesday October 17                    Barwon/South West - Warnambool
Monday October 22                       Gippsland - Bairnsdale
Monday October 29                       Grampians – Halls Gap
Thursday November 1                     Loddon Mallee - Mildura
Wednesday November 7                    Barwon/South West – Colac
Monday November 12                      North and West - Sunshine
Wednesday November 21                   Hume – Wangaratta

How do I register to attend?

To register your interest in attending one of the forums listed above, please contact VCOSS, on tel:
9654 5050 or email up to one week prior to your chosen forum. Please note that
places are strictly limited and registration is essential.

About the presenters

Each of the participating organisations have specific training and education roles in relation to the
Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

The Department of Human Services has developed a range of activities and initiatives to implement the
Charter targeting DHS staff, policies and program areas. Having undertaken that work, DHS is now in
a position to support the training and provision of information to key staff within the funded sector.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is responsible for ensuring Victorians
understand their human rights protections and obligations under the Charter, and for providing an
independent assessment of how well public authorities comply with it. The Commission is the lead
agency working with community organisations to promote human rights and raise awareness about the

The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) is the peak organisation of the non-government social
and community services sector. VCOSS conducted a series of consultations with marginalised and
vulnerable groups as part of a community engagement process around the introduction of the Charter,
and has since been actively involved in community sector education and awareness-raising around the
Charter and human rights.

More information

For further information about the forums, their content, or other training and education opportunities
available to your organisation, please contact:
Deb Pietsch, Project Manager Human Rights Charter, DHS on 9096 0274 or

Jason Rostant, Senior Adviser Human Rights Education, VEOHRC on 9281 7104 or

Stephanie Cauchi, Policy Analyst: Human Rights & Justice, VCOSS on 9654 5050 or

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