Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session

Clustered Interactive Dialogue - Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
Australian statement

10 March 2014

Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Torture for their reports.

Australia strongly opposes the use of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, by any country and in any circumstances. We note the Special Rapporteur on Torture’s detailed assessment of state responsibility and complicity in acts of torture.

Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders for her report and for highlighting the important role individuals and civil society institutions play as human rights defenders. Australia does not tolerate human rights defenders – women or men - being subject to human rights violations including stigma, arbitrary arrest and detention, or violence including sexual violence and rape.

We reaffirm our strong and continuing commitment to supporting the work of National Human Rights Institutions and guaranteeing the rights of human rights defenders. The protection of human rights defenders is paramount to the promotion and protection of human rights – work which should be able to be completed without fear of violence, threats, intimidation, discrimination or reprisal.

Within Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission plays a prominent role in the promotion and protection of human rights by making human rights values part of everyday life and language; by empowering all people to understand and exercise their human rights; by working with individuals, community, business and government to inspire action; and by keeping government accountable to national and international human rights standards.

Our National Human Rights Institution is mandated to receive and take action on discrimination and human rights complaints; to ensure human rights compliance with domestic and international human rights obligations; to undertake human rights education and public awareness; and to work with the government on policy and legislative development.

We would be interested in the Special Rapporteur’s views and guidance on addressing negative public perceptions of National Human Rights Institutions in connection to their work and raising awareness to the vital role they play in civil society.