• Roxanne Moore, Amnesty International Indigenous Rights Campaigner, believes an Australia-wide overhaul of the juvenile justice system is necessary. (NITV News)
Amnesty International believes the gradual watering down of the country's Racial Discrimination laws ‘could embolden racists in the community’.
By
Ryan Liddle

Source:
NITV News
1 Feb 2017 - 6:18 PM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2017 - 6:23 PM

Amnesty International appeared alongside the Australian Lawyers Alliance, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and the Refugee Council of Australia today as they gave evidence at the NSW Public Hearing of the Parliamentary inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Australia.

Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights Campaigner, Roxanne Moore, told the inquiry that changing the Racial Discrimination Act could upset a fine balance and be “seriously damaging”.

“It could embolden racists in the community, it could potentially lead to more violence and racial hatred in the community, and we don't think that's a good outcome for social cohesion or tolerance.”

She told NITV News the organisation is “hoping that they will see the Racial Discrimination Act in its current form meets its international obligations and doesn't need amendment."

The joint hearings are expected to deliberate on their verdict on what the government should do next, by the end of the month.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 18C DEBATE
Watch: 18C complainant reports ’racist’ online abuse to federal police
EXCLUSIVE: A woman at the centre of a controversial 18C racial discrimination case has referred thousands of threatening and abusive online threats to police.
18C doesn’t stop anyone from talking about any aspect of Aboriginal culture or identity
COMMENT: There has been an amazing amount of misinformation about 18C from various journalists and commentators in the 5 years since Andrew Bolt was rightly found to have been in breach of 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
A history of Section 18C and the Racial Discrimination Act
From complaints about being called a ‘Pom’ to Holocaust denial, the Racial Discrimination Act has had a long and checkered history. While some cases have ruled against racist remarks, many complaints about racial discrimination have also been dismissed by the courts.
The raging debate on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act
The last two weeks have seen the resurrection of the debate on Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it illegal to offend or insult, humiliate or intimidate a person. The changes, first raised by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2014, would make it legal to insult or offend someone based on their race or ethnicity.