03:22 GMT01 December 2020
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    New Western Australian anti-protest bill violates international human rights, according to the statement of the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC).

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A Western Australian bill which aims to jail protesters who use devices like thumb locks to lock themselves to objects violates international human rights, according to the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) statement published Thursday.

    "This new legislation goes too far. The offenses are vague and will be prone to misuse. There are real risks they could criminalize peaceful protest in breach of our international human rights obligations," Executive Director of the HRLC, Hugh de Kretser said.

    The proposed legislation being discussed on Thursday in Western Australian Parliament is vague and could be prone to misuse, HRLS representative added.

    "This bill is further confirmation of the trend of eroding fundamental democratic freedoms in Australia. Over the past 18 months, we've seen the excessive Queensland G20 anti-protest laws, Tasmanian laws that unjustifiably prioritise business over human rights and overly broad Victorian move on powers. The Western Australian Parliament should reject this bill," de Kretser said.

    The Criminal Code Amendment Bill 2015 aims to punish "physically preventing a lawful activity" and "possessing a thing for the purpose of preventing a lawful activity." It includes punishments such as imprisonment for over one year and a fine of up to $12,000. The penalty could be raised to two years and $24,000, if protesters are deemed to be aggressive and a danger to others.

    Other Australia-based watchdogs also opposed the Western Australian government's plans to criminalize thumb locks and arm locks used by protesters. The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) was joined by over 30 organizations including, unions, political and civil societies and environment groups in a move to defend the right to peaceful protest.

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    Tags:
    human rights, Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), Australia
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