What does one need to know to be an expert in human rights?

What expertise does someone appointed to the Human Rights Commission need to have? What is an expert in “human rights” and what do such people know that the rest of us might not? They pay these people a third of a million dollars a year, but what are they other than friends of those who make the appointments? Do they know the difference between good and evil? Can they even explain the difference between right and wrong? What exactly are we allowed to do and not allowed to do? Is the law merely made up of their own personal judgement? Are they given the right to plague other people because of their own personal opinions? Who are they and what do they know about anything?

Let us start with this story from Janet Albrechtsen:

Consider the poor barber at the Hunters Hill Barber Shop. Late last year Sam Rahim turned away a woman who wanted him to cut her daughter’s hair. Sam the barber told her he was qualified only to cut boys’ hair, politely directing her to a salon up the road. She took to social media and ran to the Australian Human Rights Commission claiming he breached anti-discrimination laws. He offered an apology. And now he has been served with court papers for a claim that he breached the Sex Discrimination Act.

Sam and his wife, Ronda, have set up a GoFundMe page because, as he told the media, “The legal costs are more than we have ever anticipated.”

Seriously, in what possible way is this a human rights issue? Do these people even have the foggiest idea what human rights are? Because of their oceanic ignorance, they are in the process of discrediting one of the most important concepts at the heart of Western civilisation.

Let me continue with Tim Blair in a post he titles, Finest intro ever written:

Daily Telegraph colleague Miranda Devine makes several strong points in her latest terrific column. Let’s take a detailed look, starting from the top:

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane’s term expires in August …

Actually, although there are no doubt many strong points, I wasn’t able to read anything beyond that opening line due to tequila shots.

So following from Tim and Miranda, let me take you to Frank Chung: For $340,000 a year, we deserve better than Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane which has as its subhead:

AUSTRALIA’S race discrimination commissioner has lamented the “dismal” fact that there are too many white people in top positions.

These are Frank’s last two paras:

There may be many reasons for the lack of one-to-one population representation at the very highest levels of business and politics — but for the Race Discrimination Commissioner, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

For someone who is paid $340,000 a year to come up with this dross, it’s not surprising the concept of meritocracy is a foreign one. Or is that being racist?

Forget about good and evil or right and wrong, of which these people appear to have no clear idea at all. How about just something as simple as profit and loss, something else they have no clear idea about at all. If they really think it is a human rights issue for a men’s barber not to cut women’s hair, they need to be sent to a re-education camp as soon as possible and for as long as it takes. And just in case they don’t get it, which is likely, this is just meant as a joke.

Auditioning for the ABC

She is obviously auditioning for a gig at the ABC when she is finally relieved of her present post:

The head of Australia’s human rights watchdog has linked Indon­esia’s refusal to negotiate on the death penalty for executed Bali drug-smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to the Abbott government’s policy of turning back the boats.

Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs said nobody could disagree with the need to stop refugees drowning at sea. “Boats have got to stop,” she said. “But have we thought about what the consequences are of pushing people back to our neighbour Indonesia? Is it any wonder that Indonesia will not engage with us on other issues that we care about, like the death penalty?”

It is more than their drowning that had to stop although that’s part of it. Their coming was what had to stop, as every country in the region has now made clear. The story provides a brief reminder of just how out of it she is:

The Weekend Australian revealed on Saturday that she had ordered $5.9 million in compensation payments in just three years, making up more than half of all recommended payouts since 1996. This included a call for $350,000 in compensation for John Basikbasik, who was detained for eight years after serving a seven-year jail sentence for bashing his pregnant wife to death.

I know there are serious issues around but when human rights are put in the hands of people who don’t seem to understand them bad things do flow.

Ageist, racist, sexist

Having been brooding on this for two weeks now, I feel I have no choice but to refer to the Human Rights Commission an egregious and unacceptable case of ageist, racist and sexist public comment, found on the ABC of all places. As an elderly, Caucasian male, I am disturbed that someone is able to make these kinds of comments in the public space without the Human Rights Commission coming down on them like a tonne of bricks. This is taken from the Q&A transcript dated 31st of March 2014, and as will be seen, Ms Eltahawy is already being prosecuted in the United States for infringing the free speech of others.

MONA ELTAHAWY: Well, you’re talking to someone who got arrested for spray-painting over a racist and bigoted ad in the New York subway and I’m going to stand trial very soon in New York soon for this and I – so I have many thoughts on this. First of all, in the United States, the people who go on the most about freedom of expression and it’s my right to say this and my right to say that are usually old, rich, white men who parade under the term libertarian. And what it ends up basically meaning is: I have the right to be a racist and sexist shit and I’m protected by the first amendment. And it’s utterly ridiculous. Because when you look – if you look at this ad that I sprayed over – now, I’m – I love the first amendment. As a US citizen, because I am Egyptian-American, I love the first amendment. I love that it protects freedom of expression and freedom of belief. But here is the thing: if a racist, bigoted ad is protected as political speech, which it was – the New York subway didn’t want this very racist and bigoted ad but a judge deemed it protected political speech?

TONY JONES: What did it say? Are you allowed to tell us?

MONA ELTAHAWY: I can tell you because it – I mean it’s outrageous. It said: “In the war between the civilised man and the savage, always choose the civilised man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” And I thought: are you fucking kidding me? In my subway? How can you put this up? And the subway – the subway authorities did not want this ad, because they said it was going to incite people and so they took it to the hate group and it’s been classified as a hate group by the – it’s the Southern Law Centre, right, Ken? Is that what they’re called?

KENNETH ROTH: Southern Poverty Law Centre.

MONA ELTAHAWY: That’s it. They have deemed it a hate group. They have deep pockets, these libertarian, you know, old rich white men. And they took it to a judge and the judge deemed it protected political speech. I am fine with protected political speech but surely it should be my right to protest racism and bigotry? I am the one who got arrested. When you have an ad like that, you know, can you imagine, under any circumstances, in the New York subway that you would have an ad like that that either talked about the black community, the Jewish community, the gay community? Absolutely not. The reason that I protested it was because I believe, as a US citizen who has lived in the US for the past – I now live in Egypt but I was in the US for 13 years, Muslims are fair game. So let’s talk about who the subjects or, like, who were the people targeted by this: it’s my right to say and do whatever I want?

Of course, you can vilify and demean old, white males all you like and Gillian Triggs won’t turn a hair. We are not amongst her protected groups. As she said, the law should “retain the impact on the victim’s group as a relevant consideration when assessing whether something is ‘reasonably likely’ to intimidate or vilify.” I suspect nothing that could ever be said to me or about me would lead to a moment’s concern since she has made her judgment and that is that. But also from this same interview, there was this:

Accusing the Coalition of hypocrisy, Professor Triggs said: “One of the disturbing aspects of the freedoms debate … is the inconsistency in approach.

“Those who emphasise individual freedoms have remained curiously silent in the face of the mandatory detention currently of about 4700 asylum seekers in remote detention centres in Australia and Christmas Island.”

Obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer since she confuses the right to free speech with saying nothing at all. But even worse cannot see that having manadatory detention for illegal migrants is not a human rights issue. You do not have a right to enter another country illegally when you have already landed in an intervening port, i.e. Indonesia. And if they really were in fear of their lives, Manus Island, Indonesia or Cambodia would each work just as well.