4 Hum. Rts. Defender 1 (1995)

handle is hein.journals/hurighdef4 and id is 1 raw text is: rRIGHISc~
THE UNIVERSITY OF
NEW SOUTH WALES

Human Ri hts
Dfen er

University of New South Wales 2052 Australia                   Vol 4 No 11995
Ph (61 2) 3852807 Fax (61 2) 3137209 email human.rights@unsw.edu.au ISSN 1039-2637
Human Rights money down

the drain

- AIDAB and HREOC

Australia - Philippines
project puts the pressure
back on AIDAB
Under pressure to increase its
presence in human rights work,
Australia's overseas aid program
(AIDAB - The Australian Internation-
al Development Assistance Bureau)
has found itself picking up the tab for
a classic aid flop.
The project, a training program
that brought 20 staff of the Philippines
Hum-an Rights Conmnission to Syd-
ney, directly involved Australia's
Human Rights and Equal Oppor-
tunity Commission (HREOC) as the
host and trainer.
Despite having no training ex-
perience with developing countries,
HREOC has been paid $100,000 over a
2-week period to provide occasional
lectures based on its own expertise.
This is additional to the travel and
hotel expenses in Sydney already paid
for by AIDAB.

HREOC hosted the trainees' visit
to Sydney in February. A visit to Can-
berra, where they inspected the Parlia-
ment House and visited the
Attorney-General's Department, was
also included. Towards the end of the
HREOC has been paid
$100,000 over a 2-week
period to provide oc-
casional lectures
program the Philippines delegation
attended the Australian Rights Con-
gress in Sydney, a conference discuss-
ing the pros and cons of an Australian
Bill of Rights.
The Philippines already has a Bill
of Rights in its Constitution and the
staff are no strangers to the con-
siderable difficulties presented to
their work by an active rebel insurgen-
cy, endemic poverty, corruption,
military coups and other factors that
make the experience of HREOC staff
appear rather limited. The Philippines
Commission even has its own forensic

Features in this issue
Indian NGOs establish new campaign     -Page 3
The Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Sill --P Page 4
Burma - the fall of Manerplaw        -     PageS
Rwanda - the limits and ambiguity of aid ---- Page 7
World round-up    -----------          agesf1,2
Australia Pacific Community Network -----Page14
Human Rights Defender Vol 4 No 1 February

unit for exhuming bodies and regular-
ly takes on difficult and dangerous
cases. HREOC could in fact learn a
considerable amount about human
rights by visiting the Philippines
Commission.
HREOC, of course, does a profes-
sionaljob in its limited field - applying
national anti-discrimination law, and
with significant national reports on
mental health and street children to its
name.
So what training, you may well
ask, can Australia provide to a group
who have a completely different task
HREOC could in fact
learn a considerable
amount ... by visiting the
Philippines
and who probably have a far wider ex-
perience in human rights violations?
On investigation it has been
revealed that there was in fact no
training program worthy of the name.
Some staff did provide lectures, about
their own work. And there probably
has been an interesting exchange of
views. Investigation by the Human
Rights Defender has revealed that two
proposals were discussed by HREOC
and AIDAB in the early stages the
first being a visit of 2 or 3 persons for
a six month period, the second the 20
person visit which eventuated. En-
quiries of AIDAB have brought little
information to light, a process akin to
drawing teeth.
The program, according to Ms
Nerissa Navarro, a member of the
Continued next page

1995 Page 1

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