This week, the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression, human rights and counter-terrorism, and the situation of human rights defenders urged the Australian Parliament to reconsider a Bill that would unfairly and severely penalize whistle-blowers, journalists, and activists. While the Bill is meant to target espionage and foreign interference, its sweeping criminalization of disclosures of government information would inhibit public scrutiny of government affairs and accountability for abuses of power and the rule of law.

To bring the Bill in line with human rights standards, the Special Rapporteurs recommend that the Bill should establish robust defenses for disclosures of government information in the “public interest,” meaningfully narrow the definition of “national security” for related offenses, and institute internal and oversight mechanisms that provide effective and protective channels for whistle-blowers.

The Special Rapporteur’s full analysis is here:

UN Human Rights Experts urge Australian Parliament to Reconsider Draconian Espionage Bill