Centacare has joined more than 150 organisations and endorsed a statement calling for a parliamentary Inquiry into a Human Rights Act for South Australia.

The statement – released to coincide with international Human Rights Day tomorrow – has been led by the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the Rights Resource Network of South Australia (RRNSA) and Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR).

“This statement represents a powerful, unified call from an incredibly diverse range of voices who value this state’s proud record of adopting socially progressive legislation,” said Ross Womersley, Chief Executive of SACOSS.

“We believe it’s now time to consider the next chapter – a Human Rights Act that legally protects the dignity, security and interests of all South Australians.”

The Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Queensland have already enshrined human rights in Acts of Parliament.

Sarah Moulds, RRNSA Convenor said the laws are returning dignity and power to everyday people, and helping government officials to make fair and caring decisions.

“For example, they have been used to protect women at risk of domestic violence, to ensure public housing is accessible for people with mobility issues, to prevent restrictive practises in aged care facilities, and to secure children access to education and healthcare services,” she said.

“South Australia now has an opportunity to put in place similar laws to protect the wellbeing of everyone in our state. Holding a public inquiry into a human rights law for South Australia would give everyone in our state the chance to design a law that meets the needs of our many different communities.

“It would also send a message to our children and young people that we care about their future, and we’re prepared to do the hard work to create lasting social change.”

Natalie Wade, ALHR Chair of Disability Rights said: “In the absence of a Human Rights Act, the most vulnerable people in our community live without any legislated framework to directly or completely protect their rights and freedoms.

“Human rights must drive the work of our government and its agencies, from the development of laws and policies, through to the daily decision-making by government that directly impacts our quality of life.

“Every South Australian must be able to obtain affordable, accessible solutions for justice if their human rights are breached.”

This Human Rights Day, we invite every South Australian to join the conversation and we call upon the Government to lead a community-wide conversation by establishing a public inquiry into a Human Rights Act for South Australia.