Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session

Item 3 - Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
and the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences

Statement by Australia
9 September 2014

Australia welcomes the first report of the Independent Expert. Australia is an active participant in the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. We consider that existing international human rights treaties provide protection for all people. We are not convinced that an additional human rights treaty specific to older people is needed.

Australia is focussing on practical domestic measures to address global ageing, including keeping older workers in employment. Australia’s Age Discrimination Act prohibits age discrimination in many circumstances, while also allowing exemptions, such as the provision of age pensions. Australia has also appointed an Age Discrimination Commissioner.

Australia welcomes the priorities the Special Rapporteur has outlined, in particular domestic servitude, forced labour in supply chains, and early and forced marriage, and the over-representation of women and girls.

Australia has comprehensively criminalised human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices and is committed to playing a leading role in international efforts to address these crimes, including by working with our regional partners through initiatives like the Bali Process.

Australia also commends private sector-led initiatives to combat contemporary forms of slavery, such as the Global Fund to End Slavery.

The Special Rapporteur underscored that the social and economic invisibility of those in slavery posed a challenge to the accurate data collection which is critical to combating exploitative practices. We would be interested in the Special Rapporteur’s views on how civil society and government can work together, including applying a gendered approach, to overcome this barrier.