Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

Statement by Australia
12 September 2014

Australia thanks the Working Group for its report. Enforced disappearance is an egregious abuse of human rights. Australia welcomes efforts by the Working Group to put an end to this abhorrent practice.

Australia shares the Working Group’s concerns with the scale of enforced disappearances in the DPRK, “well over 200,000 persons” according to the report of the Commission of Inquiry on DPRK. We are deeply troubled that their enforced disappearance has been managed as a matter of state policy.

We call on the DPRK authorities to cooperate with the Working Group and commend the Group’s call for action by the highest UN bodies.

Australia is gravely concerned by the evidence of mass executions and the systematic use of torture and enforced disappearances throughout Syria, particularly by the Assad regime and terrorist groups including ISIL. It is imperative that the Council’s Commission of Inquiry be permitted to visit Syria to investigate this issue further.

Australia co-sponsored and voted for the UN Security Council resolution referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court in May. We were disappointed that the resolution was vetoed.

Australia has enacted offences under the Criminal Code relating to enforced disappearances as part of its criminalisation of crimes against humanity. A range of laws also apply within Australia to acts that constitute elements of enforced disappearance, or might accompany enforced disappearance, for example abduction or torture.