Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with
the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences

Statement by Australia, 3 June 2013

We strongly support protection of and respect for the rights to freedom of opinion and expression as outlined in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Opinion and Expression. We also affirm that individuals enjoy the same human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and opinion, online as they do offline. And we agree that these freedoms must only be restricted in the most exceptional of circumstances and only then with appropriate safeguards.

The Australian examples referenced in the Special Rapporteur’s report are cases in point. In all circumstances appropriate privacy safeguards are ensured and independent authorisation is required to ensure that reasonable grounds of a criminal offence have been established.

Australia also welcomes the opportunity to participate in a discussion on the causes and consequences of violence against women. Realising universal human rights for women and preventing violence against women is our shared commitment.

Australia has zero tolerance for violence against women. We believe we have a responsibility to work for both the safety and opportunity of women and girls throughout the world. And our own national plan and support through our aid program demonstrates this commitment.

Australia’s National Plan to reduce violence against women has a vision. This vision is that ‘Australian women and their children live free from violence in safe communities’, a vision that holds true for all women and all girls, in all nations, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, disability or sexual orientation. We would welcome the Special Rapporteur providing any examples of best practice policies and programs that reflect a holistic, multisectoral approach that support diverse groups of women.

We would also welcome the Special Rapporteur’s views, building on the acknowledgement that prevention underpins the elimination of all forms of violence against women, on how member states and global civil society can work together to progress preventative measures.

Finally, Australia collects prevalence and attitudinal data, alongside a number of other measures to build the evidence base around violence against women both domestically and regionally through our aid program. We would welcome the Special Rapporteur’s views on how this important data can be used to inform effective service delivery and responses for women who have experienced violence.