Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 24th Regular Session

Item 4

Australian statement for the General Debate

17 September 2013

Australia reiterates its concerns over the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and demands that the perpetrators of such actions be held to account. Any use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law and cannot be tolerated. We call for a strong international response to this atrocity.

Australia remains deeply troubled by the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and strongly supports the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, by the unanimous will of this Council.

We welcome comments by Iranian President Rouhani pledging support for civil and women’s rights, but call on the Iranian Government to translate these words into action. We reiterate our concerns regarding executions, including of minors, ill treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, including Baha’is, and restrictions on civil and political rights.

Australia calls for an end to armed conflict and impunity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Australia urges the DRC government to implement its commitments under the ‘Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the DRC and the Region’. We encourage further security sector reform to better protect civilians and end human rights abuses.

Australia remains deeply concerned by the grave humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic and we urge the transitional authorities to take all steps possible to protect humanitarian organisations so that they can deliver urgently-needed support.

Australia has been encouraged by the recent positive steps taken by Fiji to return to democracy. However, the recent detention of peaceful protesters underlines the need for continued progress towards freedoms of association, expression and media. We look forward to a normalisation of relations with Fiji after elections that are accepted as credible by the people of Fiji.