Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 24th Regular Session

Item 3 - Annual discussion on integration of a gender perspective

Australian Statement

12 September 2013


Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in today’s discussion on civil society’s contribution to the integration of a gender perspective in the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. Australia is also pleased to be able to contribute to the panel discussion through the participation of our Ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.

The disadvantage faced by women is multidimensional and often has a compounding effect. Australia actively promotes gender equality and recognises both the unique challenges women face and the distinctive contribution women make to the fabric of society – politically, economically and socially.

As the key UN body responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms must take into full account the rights of women in all facets of its work. States have a central role to play in ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated into the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review process, and that the Council strives to consider, promote and protect the rights of women at all opportunities. The work of the special procedures mechanism must also adequately encompass the perspectives and experiences of women.

Civil society has a key role to play as well. Non-government organisations provide detailed reporting of situations on the ground, deliver aid to improve human rights and identify ways in which States and international organisations can approach these issues. And we encourage the active consultation with and participation of civil society in the work of the States, the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.

Australia would also like to highlight the important role of national human rights institutions. The work of these institutions in country, as well as their active participation in highlighting specific issues for this Council’s consideration, is an important element of our deliberations and should be welcomed.

Australia values the work of the Human Rights Council in including gender issues in the mandates of special procedures. We welcome the identification and analysis of the protection of the rights and the role of women in the reports of the Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts and would be interested hearing the panel’s views on ways in which the Council could better follow-up on these elements of the reports in its work, particularly in relation to country reports.