In a moment of devastating irony, former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, the man responsible for “children overboard” and the architect behind what became the anti-terror laws, has been nominated as Australia's UN Special Envoy for Human Rights.
On July 12, Ruddock was given a platform at the Wheeler Centre — which claims he has “been a vocal advocate on several human rights issues” — to talk “human rights, the death penalty, and the changing Australian political landscape”.
Protesters gathered outside the sold-out event to remind those attending that far from being a human rights advocate, Ruddock has watched over some horrifying instances of human rights abuse. As immigration minister he presided over the “children overboard” incident, which was proved to be a lie. Ruddock said recently he has no regrets about his handling of the incident.
Ruddock also presided over the incarceration of David Hicks, held for six years in Guantanamo Bay; the cases of Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez, Australian citizens who were held as “illegal immigrants”; and Mamdouh Habib, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee whose claim that an Australian official stood by while he was being tortured was ignored.