Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

statement 177

Human Rights Council 16th Session

Thematic Reports – General Debate

Intervention by Australia

4 March 2010

The Australian Government welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Australia strongly supports the activities undertaken by the OHCHR to build the capacity and increase participation of NHRIs in international human rights mechanisms.

We welcome the considerable efforts of the OHCHR to establish and strengthen NHRIs throughout the Asia-Pacific region. NHRIs play a critical role at the national level, working to ensure full respect for human rights, including by monitoring and reporting on the implementation of international human rights standards.

The Australian Human Rights Commission works throughout our region in partnership with other States and NHRIs for technical assistance and capacity building purposes. The AHRC also works closely with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the Asia-Pacific Forum of NHRIs, and the Commonwealth, to strengthen human rights promotion and protection regionally.

Australia welcomes the UNIFEM report on the activities of the UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women.

Violence against women is a global scourge, affecting all countries, including Australia. It is both a symptom and a cause of gender inequality and discrimination. It leads to immeasurable trauma to women, their families and their communities, and is a violation of women’s basic human rights.

Australia also welcomes the report of the Secretary General on the Joint Work Plan of the Division for the Advancement of Women and OHCHR. Australia takes this opportunity to welcome commitments by OHCHR and the Division to strengthen cooperation under the auspices of the UN’s newest entity – UN Women – including in the areas of women’s human rights; women, peace and security; human trafficking; and economic, social and cultural rights.

Australia welcomes OHCHR and Division plans to develop a model framework for national action plans on violence against women. Australia’s own National Action Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children is a 12 year commitment by federal and state governments to address the incidence of sexual and domestic violence experienced by Australian women and children.

Australia looks forward to continuing our close working relationship with UN Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, and OHCHR, in the interests of working towards a more coherent and effective UN system.