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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Wednesday 26 January 2011 (Afternoon)

Country under review: AUSTRIA

Documents: The national report A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUT/1 and A/HRC/WG.10/AUT/1/Corr.1, the compilation report as prepared by the OHCHR A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUT/2, the summary of stakeholders information A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUT/3.

Troika: Argentina, Bahrain, Mauritania

Concerned country - national report

Represented by a 36-members delegation and headed by H.E. Mr. Michael Spindelegger, Minister of European and International Affairs

Highlights

  • Autria’s human rights voluntary pledges and commitments in the context of its candidacy for membership to the Council testifies human rights priority for the country
  • Few days ago, adoption by the  parliament of the incorporation of children rights into the Constitution
  • Ratification of the Convention on enforced disappearance
  • Possible ratification of the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education
  • Progress in the ratification of OP-CAT
  • Austria‘s commitment to combat all form of racism and intolerance. Acknowledgement of gaps between anti-discrimination legislation and its implementation
  • Social tensions, prejudices against migrants and asylum-seekers are on the rise. Commitment to a series of measures including the implementation of the EU framework Decision against racism and xenophobia and the recommendations of ICERD
  • Zero tolerance policy towards all forms of discrimination and ill-treatment. Establishment in January 2010 of the Federal anti-corruption bureau
  • Integration policy through the National Action Plan on Integration, January 2010
  • Austria’s commitment to further promote and protect the rights of minorities, including the Slovenian minority
  • Gender equality, including in the labour market remains a major issue of consideration. Despite legislation, income gap between men and women not fully closed Current revision of the Law on Equal Treatment
  • Measures and assistance provided to women victims of violence, in particular domestic violence
  • A member of the Austrian Ombudsman Board participated in the review as member of the delegation

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  • Member States: 24 
  • Observer States: 30

Positive achievements

  • Development of a National Plan for Integration to combat discrimination, a National Plan for women
  • Measures taken to improve the status of same-sex partnership
  • Priority given to gender equality and  elimination of discrimination
  • Austria’s efforts and dedication to international cooperation and assistance to developing countries
  • Efforts have been made to provide human rights education and training to the police
  • Leadership in promoting the protection of civilians in armed conflicts

Issues and questions raised

  • Racist attitudes against Muslims, Roms and other vulnerable groups. Austria faces also structural discrimination and discrimination against minorities, especially Slovenian minority
  • Inequalities still exist in the fields of reproductive rights and family rights of  same-sex partners
  • Persistent inequalities between men and women
  • There are still peoples remained in custody without trial
  • Hate speeches by politicians, in particular targeting migrants and members of minorities
  • High level of impunity in cases of police brutality, including racially motivated violence
  • Lack of integration of persons with disabilities, including in all relevant legal and policy measures

Recommendations

  • To punish systematically all forms of discrimination or hate speeches and take effictive measures to combat them
  • To take concrete measures to eliminate obstacles for women to access  the labour market
  • To punish violence against women
  • To improve gender representation in all levels of society, especially in decision-making bodies
  • To investigate allegations of human rights violations and ill-treatments by law enforcement officials and to set up an independent investigation body
  • To close racist websites
  • To take measures to combat sex tourism and human trafficking
  • To take measures to improve the integration and the protection of the rights of migrants and asylum seekers
  • To take measures to ratify  the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
  • To include fundamental rights and rights of children into the Constitution and into national laws
  • To remove provisions that migrant workers must be fired before others
  • To develop a legal aid system in the context of police custody to ensure the assistance of a lawyer to everyone, even foreigners
  • To include Slovenian as an official language
  • To ensure the full independence of the National  Human Rights Institution
  • To consider alternatives to pre-deportation detention, to limit the length of detention and to ensure that no children are held in detention and to provide special protection and assistance to non accompanied children
  • To raise the age for all enrolment into the armed forces to the age of 18
  • To improve prison conditions

Response of the concerned country

  • Cost free extra judicial system dealing  with allegations of discrimination
  • Adoption in January of a legislation to protect gender equality
  • No discrimination regarding the Slovenian language
  • Adoption of a national action plan to combat trafficking with cooperation with third countries
  • Balance between freedom of expression and xenophobic statements. Hate speech by politicians have to be punished
  • Comprehensive health care system accessible  to vulnerable groups, migrants
  • Declining number of asylum seekers in Austria
  • National Plan for Integration covers all forms of discrimination

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Friday 28 January, 17:30 – 18:00

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