Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 29th Regular Session

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on
the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
and the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Australian Statement

17 June 2015

Australia thanks the Special Rapporteurs for their detailed reports. However, we also highlight the importance of all Special Procedures adhering to their mandates, and note that the references to the extraterritorial application of human rights obligations in the latter report do not reflect current views and discussions among States.

Australia affirms our view that freedom of opinion and expression should be protected equally online and offline to enable comment and participation by all.

Australia also acknowledges States’ responsibility for the maintenance of domestic and international peace and security. Where this responsibility necessitates data retention and surveillance, Australia believes robust legislation and oversight can provide appropriate protections for the enjoyment of these rights.

Australia considers that the appropriate standard for the protection of privacy remains the prohibition of arbitrary or unlawful interference, as per article 17 of the ICCPR.

Australia supports voluntary frameworks to guide human rights protections by corporations, including the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We believe these should apply equally regardless of industry. Australia does not support the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on human rights standards for businesses.

Finally, Australia notes that, following extensive stakeholder consultations, the Tasmanian Workplaces (Protection from Protestors) Bill was substantially amended before it was enacted in order to provide better protections for freedom of assembly and association.