Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 30th Regular Session

Item 2 - Update from the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Australian Statement

14 September 2015

A number of ongoing threats to global security are having profound human rights impacts. We thus support the Council’s continued focus on the situations in Syria and Iraq and on the atrocities perpetrated by Daesh and other groups.

Australia is deeply concerned by the human rights abuses arising from violent extremism in the Middle East and Africa. The Council can contribute to countering violent extremism because promoting respect for, and preventing violations of human rights helps foster an environment where violent extremism cannot flourish.

It is the primary responsibility of States to protect their own populations. Australia also supports international efforts to ensure the protection of vulnerable groups targeted by terrorist organisations, including women, children, LGBTI persons, and ethnic and religious minorities. We would welcome the High Commissioner’s views on how the Council can support States to protect their populations from atrocity crimes.

Australia is deeply concerned by the flows of people caused by persecution and violence. The sheer scale of the dislocation of people and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean are deeply troubling.

As the High Commissioner has mentioned, Australia recently announced that we will resettle additional refugees – 12,000 in fact - fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq. We are also committing additional humanitarian funding of A$44 million, bringing our contribution to addressing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Iraq and surrounding states to A$230 million since 2011.

With reference to the High Commissioner’s comments on Australia, my Government has significantly reduced the number of people in detention. Australia’s places of detention are currently under independent scrutiny by a range of bodies, including the Commonwealth Ombudsman which has oversight of Australia’s immigration detention network. The Australian Government continues to seek arrangements to minimise detention and pursue alternatives to detention. Australia abides fully by our international obligations, and I note in this context that we look forward to the visit to Australia later this month by the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.