Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 26th Regular Session

General comments after action

Australian Statement
27 June 2014

Australia recognises that human rights violations can occur at the hands of businesses. That’s why it is so important to involve the business community at national and international levels in protecting and promoting human rights. The United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights were endorsed by businesses, civil society and States alike. Australia has been, and will continue to be, a strong advocate for this inclusive approach.

As such, we are disappointed that the resolution establishing an open-ended intergovernmental working group on a legally binding instrument - Resolution L.22/Rev1 - was adopted. We support and were pleased to co-sponsor Resolution L.1 on business and human rights led by the cross-regional core group.

We don't believe that the two resolutions are complementary. We should focus our efforts on strengthening implementation of the Guiding Principles, not on a legally binding instrument.

Australia is concerned that Resolution L.20/Rev1 on protection of the family failed to acknowledge that different forms of the family exist. We joined delegations from four of the five HRC regions to support this language in negotiations. We were disappointed it was not incorporated into the tabled resolution, despite wide acceptance.

Australia believes that different forms of families – including, inter alia, single-parent families, de-facto and same-sex partnerships – should not be excluded from discussions relating to the family, nor from accessing government support on an equal basis.