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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Thursday 27 January 2011 (Afternoon)

Country under review: AUSTRALIA

Documents: National report: A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUS/1 and Corrigendum A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUS/1/Corr.1 ; Compilation of UN information: A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUS/2 ; Summary of stakeholders’ information: A/HRC/WG.6/10/AUS/3

Troika: DJIBOUTI, FRANCE , SLOVAKIA

Concerned country - national report

  • Represented by a 23-member delegation and headed by Senator Kate Lundy , Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, National report presented by the head of delegation

Highlights

  • Commitment to a fairer and more inclusive country- Human rights obligations are  taken very seriously  with broad range of laws to promote and respect human rights
  • Strong engagement of Australian Human Rights Commission in a Democratic And Multicultural Society
  • Challenges in achieving gender equality, reducing violence against women and realising the rights of persons with disabilities
  • Human rights framework initiative launched in April 2010
  • Commitment  to implement the Millennium development Goals
  • Commitment to ensure national reconciliation with the formal Government’s Apology to Indigenous People, in particular the Stolen Generations
  • Implementation of the “closing the gap” campaign to overcome the gap between non indigenous and indigenous Australians
  • Financial  support to OHCHR , particularly for the Asia-Pacific region;  funds will be also provide to the Asia pacific forum

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion

  • Member States: 24             Inscribed : 65
  • Observer States:  29

Positive achievements

  • National Human Rights Framework
  • “Closing the gap” campaign for reconciliation and improving  the quality of  social welfare
  • Efforts to involve NGOs in the human rights agenda
  • Financial assistance provided by the Australian agency for international development programme (AusAID)
  • Appreciation for the public apology to Indigenous Australians
  • Ratification of most of the core international human rights instruments

Issues and questions raised

  • Persistent disadvantages of indigenous Australians, need for progress
  • Racial discrimination, rights to housing,  education, health and employment
  • Promotion of  human rights education and training
  • Strengthening of the actions against human trafficking
  • Violence against women, minorities and indigenous peoples detainees need new efforts
  • Public funding  for the provision of  Muslim education
  • Absence of  legal provisions regarding the prohibition of discrimination on sexual orientation

Recommendations

  • Enhance  Australian anti –discrimination law
  • Ensure  indigenous Australians are part of the social life, ensuring more equal protection of  their rights for social inclusion
  • Ensure gender equality and protect rights of same sex –couples
  • Implement appropriate measures to overcome gap between indigenous and non indigenous people
  • Ensure independent investigations of police alleged abuses and improve the conditions of detention  according to international standards and through the end of  use of force
  • Asylum seekers ‘procedures have to follow the international standards
  • Take steps to eradicate domestic violence against women and children and violence against women, also in the workplace
  • Ensure fair and inclusive participation of minorities
  • Strive to end xenophobia and ensure the protection of migrants and asylum seekers
  • Lift reservations to  the CRC
  • Enhance training for officials to respect the cultural specificities of the communities
  • Inadequate implementation of treaty bodies in  domestic law
  • Strive for a constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples
  • Set up a National Children Commissioner
  • Remove restrictions on the right to strike

Response of the concerned country`

  • Australia is committed to  human rights and has ratified key human rights instruments
  • Australia is considering acceding to the human rights treaties to which it is not yet a party
  • Australian new legislation provides for the protection of workers, including oversees workers
  • Aware of the need to fill  the remaining gaps in the federal antidiscrimination law
  • Willingness to introduce legislation on sexual orientation
  • Willingness to promote the human rights education and training programmes
  • Strengthened consultations with Indigenous peoples to implement measures aiming at improving their situation
  • Racism and xenophobia forcefully condemned , enactment of the anti discrimination Act
  • Multicultural Advisory Council was set up to promote multicultural policies and  activities, included in the field of education
  • Full recognition of equal treatment between men and women
  • Zero tolerance towards violence against women
  • Six priorities on social agenda focusing on, children, workless persons with children persons with disabilities and with mental illness; and closing the gap between non indigenous and indigenous Australians
  • 2010, adoption of new measures to monitor implementation of the counter terrorism legislation
  • Commitment to continue to combat human  trafficking in Australia and in the region
  • Continue the enforcement of human rights, consider recommendations and the creation of  public online access to human rights recommendations to enhance awareness and update  the National human rights commission

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Monday 31 January, 17:30 – 18:00

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