Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

Statement 148

9th Session of the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review

Statement by Australia

Statement on United States of America
by H.E. Peter Woolcott, Permanent Representative
5 November 2010


Australia welcomes the delegation from the United States and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.

In many ways, the United States leads by example in promoting improved human rights standards around the world. We appreciate the delegation’s willingness to be reflective, to be self-critical, and to strive for self-improvement.

Australia supports, as a step towards abolition, the US Supreme Court’s 2002 decision that all US legislation should be reviewed to restrict the number of offences resulting in execution. We remain concerned, however, by the US’s continued use of the death penalty as a form of punishment.

We note that the US Government extends many benefits to same-sex partners. However, we remain concerned by reports of violent crimes against persons of minority sexual orientation and gender identity.

Australia welcomes efforts to address the gap between the rights and livelihoods of Native and other Americans. We are particularly impressed by recent US Government consultations, in good faith, with Native American communities on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We welcome an update on progress to date.

We note the US Government’s 2009 signing of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. We encourage the US to become a party to this Convention, as well as other core international human rights instruments.

Australia recommends the United States:

1. Abolish the death penalty and in any event, establish a moratorium as an interim measure towards full abolition;

2. Take measures to comprehensively address discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity;

3. Become a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.