Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council – 22nd Regular Session

Item 4 General Debate on Country Situations of Concern

12 March 2013


Australia raised its concerns with the human rights situations in Iran in the interactive dialogues with the Special Rapporteurs on these countries, and will address the situation in Cote d’Ivoire later in this Council session.

Australia is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Syria, reflected in the conclusions of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry for Syria, which has found overwhelming evidence of human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance. Australia urges all parties to the conflict to respect international human rights and humanitarian law and to hold those responsible for these crimes to account.

In our own region, we deplore the widespread and systematic human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We welcome the steps taken by this Council to consider the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate these egregious human rights abuses. In particular, we urge the DPRK to take action to address the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition in the DPRK, the denial of other basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the appalling conditions in prison camps.

Australia continues to be concerned by the situation in Sudan and South Sudan. The Australian Government condemns the atrocities currently occurring in Blue Nile and South Kordofan and has called for parties to permit humanitarian access to conflict zones. We continue to encourage negotiations between the Governments of both countries concerning oil revenues and long term peace and stability.

We also continue to be concerned about alleged human rights abuses by parties to the ongoing conflict in Mali. Australia encourages all parties to respect the sanctity of human life and to refrain from extrajudicial killings, reprisal attacks and limitations on civilian rights and movements.

We welcome the signing of the ‘Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Region’, which represents a significant contribution to improvements in human rights and security in the DRC. We deplore the atrocious acts of violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence and abductions that have been endured by the people of the DRC.

Finally, Australia welcomes the steps taken by Fiji towards holding elections in 2014; however, setbacks continue. The elections must be preceded by freedom of expression, media and association and must gain acceptance by the people of Fiji. Australia stands ready to support Fiji's return to democracy and is committed to resuming the bilateral linkages after elections.