Senate debates

Thursday, 19 June 2008


9:41 am

Photo of Lyn AllisonLyn Allison (Victoria, Australian Democrats) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—
(a)   notes that:
(i)   despite the relative improvement in the security situation in Iraq, the Iraqi people continue to live in an atmosphere of general chaos including lawlessness, unbridled terrorism, insecurity and the spread of organised crime, and
(ii)   Iraqi women are subjected to various forms of discrimination, oppression and exploitation and face violence on a daily basis, they are facing mass killings because of widespread terrorism targeting them and that heinous murders are committed against them in broad daylight with impunity;
(b)   condemns the crimes of killing women in Iraq and denounces all forms of violations of their human rights; and
(c)   calls on the Government to promote an international fact-finding mission to Iraq, organised by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, with the participation of international human rights organisations, to investigate the crimes committed against women and to help the Iraqi authorities to identify the perpetrators and work to stop these crimes, and to:
(i)   expose the criminals and those who stand behind them, and bring them to justice,
(ii)   disclose the outcome of the investigations,
(iii)   take measures to safeguard personal freedoms that are constitutionally guaranteed,
(iv)   take deterrent measures to ensure the safety of citizens and to protect their lives, and
(v)   act firmly to improve the conditions of women and facilitate their involvement in the reconstruction process.

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—The government is concerned about violence and human rights abuses in Iraq, including violence against women and minorities. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, when he visited Baghdad last week, raised the government’s concern with Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister. The government is encouraged that the Iraqi government takes seriously its constitutional responsibility to safeguard the human rights of all Iraqis and is also encouraged that the Iraqi government is imposing its rightful authority over areas of Iraq recently terrorised by al-Qaeda and armed militia. As part of a $165 million three-year package of assistance for Iraq, the government is assisting Iraq to promote the rule of law and human rights in Iraq through training for Iraqi human rights workers and police. Such local capacity-building measures, taken in partnership with the Iraqi government, can address past crimes and prevent further violence. This, rather than a fact-finding mission from outside Iraq, offers the best prospects for improving the human rights situation in Iraq. The government therefore does not support the motion.

9:43 am

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—We in the coalition will also be opposing the motion moved by Senator Allison. Like the government, as Senator Ludwig has indicated, we abhor violence against and the degradation of women. I support the remarks of the Manager of Government Business in the Senate.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Allison’s) be agreed to.