QUT’s Crime and Justice Research Centre criminologists Dr Kelly Richards and Dr Ange Dwyer recently published their work in a special issue of the Australian Journal of Human Rights on ‘Policing and Human Rights’. Drawing on their combined expertise in the areas of youth justice, policing, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) young people, the article, ‘Unspeakably present: The (un)acknowledgment of diverse sexuality and gender human rights in Australian youth justice systems’, urges that the human rights of LGBT young people in contact with the justice system be kept on the agenda.
The international human rights instruments that relate to young people in trouble with the law, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice and the Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of Their Liberty, all emphasise the principle of non-discrimination. Under these frameworks, young people are not to be discriminated against due to a range of listed factors, including their age, sex, ‘race’, religion, political opinion, nationality, birth status, disability, and so on. Sexual and gender diversity is, however, absent from each of these human rights frameworks.
Richards and Dwyer argue that although explicitly including sexual and gender diversity as grounds for non-discrimination may create a range of new issues for this group of young people, giving thought to ways in which their rights might be better protected is vital, given their over-representation in the youth justice system, and the abuses of their rights documented in the international criminal justice literature.
Richards, K. and Dwyer, A. (2014) Unspeakably present: The (un)acknowledgement of diverse sexuality and gender human rights in Australian youth justice systems. Australian Journal of Human Rights Special Issue: Policing and Human Rights 20(2): 63-79