Universal Periodic Review 10th Session
Intervention by Australia
STATEMENT AS GIVEN
Made by Ms Robyn Hodgkin
Australia welcomes the Minister for Justice and Labour and the delegation from Paraguay and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review Process.
Australia recognises ongoing Paraguayan efforts to strengthen domestic legislation aimed at human rights protection, including establishing the Human Rights Network in the Executive Branch, and the Inter-Agency Executive Committee on the enforcement of international decisions.
We welcome ongoing efforts to meet the basic needs of all Paraguayans, especially rural and indigenous communities, by increasing access to food, potable water, sanitation and health services, and commend the 2009 introduction of legislation expanding support for sufferers of HIV/AIDS.
We welcome the freedom of assembly, association and religion generally enjoyed by Paraguayans.
Australia also welcome efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender.
We are concerned by harassment of and discrimination against women, minorities and indigenous peoples including the Yakye Axa, Sawhoyamaxa and Xakmok Kasek Peoples.
We welcome progress made in bringing perpetrators of past human rights abuses to justice, including through the unsealing of Government-held files. We are nonetheless concerned by reports of security force heavy-handedness, as well as unacceptable prison and detention conditions.
Australia recommends Paraguay:
Work towards ending all forms of discrimination by passing the current Congressional Bill outlawing discrimination; and ensure all existing legislation is in conformity with the Bill’s objectives;
Step up efforts to end abusive practices by security forces and improve prison and detention centre conditions; and
Pass legislation implementing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into domestic law.