Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session

Panel on Business and Human Rights

Statement by Australia, 30 May 2013

Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in this discussion on business and human rights. We thank the speakers and panellists for sharing their views and experiences, and for providing a valuable illustration of the role that the UN system can play in advancing the human rights and business agenda.

Integration of human rights as a part of business practices is an important aspect of the overall human rights framework. Recognising this, Australia has been, and will continue to be, a strong and consistent advocate for the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Australia is committed to promoting and encouraging business and community engagement on implementation of these Principles. We expect all Australian companies operating overseas to abide by local laws and standards and to conduct themselves in accordance with internationally recognised standards such as the Guiding Principles.

We would also like to acknowledge the important work undertaken by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. We are confident that the Working Group will continue to play a crucial role, including in the integration of business and human rights across UN agencies, government and business. We welcome the Working Group’s latest initiative of regional forums to further discussion in all regions, and look forward to participating in the second annual Forum on Business and Human Rights at the end of this year.

We are actively engaged in international discussions on the successor global development framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This process should be consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also recognise the valuable role of the private sector in the post-2015 development framework.

Australia looks forward to the UN playing an active and ongoing role in the development and promulgation of the business and human rights agenda.