Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session

Item 4 General Debate: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Statement by Australia, 5 June 2013

Australia will raise its concerns and provide recommendations on the human rights situations in Eritrea during the separate Council session on the country. Australia also raised its deep concerns with the deteriorating human rights situation in Syria during the Urgent Debate and the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria held earlier in this session.

We also reiterate our concerns regarding the reported increase in the number of executions, and the ill treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran. In the lead-up to Iran’s presidential elections on 14 June, Australia reemphasises its concerns about the continuing pressure on the media, and government measures to restrict free debate.

In our own region, Australia wants to see Fiji return to democracy and we stand ready to help Fiji do so. We have welcomed the positive steps taken but further steps are necessary. We look forward to a full resumption of relations with Fiji after elections that are accepted as credible by the people of Fiji, and which are preceded by freedom of political association, expression and media.

Australia condemns widespread and systematic human rights abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and welcomes the appointment of Australia’s Michael Kirby to Chair this Council’s Commission of Inquiry. We urge the DPRK to take action to address widespread hunger and malnutrition, the denial of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, and appalling conditions in its prison camps.

Australia remains deeply concerned by the dire human rights situation in the Central African Republic. We strongly support the Security Council’s backing of regional efforts, including in sending clear messages that there will be no impunity for grave human rights abuses.

Finally, we welcome action taken to implement 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. However, much more needs to be done to prevent the atrocious acts of violence, rape and abductions from continuing.