Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 26th Regular Session

Item 2
General Debate following update by High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement by Australia
10 June 2014

Australia has valued greatly the High Commissioner’s tireless, principled and independent leadership of her office and the UN’s human rights efforts.

Australia welcomes the attention paid to human rights by the UN Security Council, including requests to the High Commissioner for briefing on situations of grave human rights concern. We encourage further deepening of this engagement.

Australia welcomes the High Commissioner’s efforts to ensure that the situation in South Sudan remains in the international spotlight. Australia considers that the recent UN Mission in South Sudan’s human rights report, as well as the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry, are important tools in ensuring that all parties to the conflict are subject to full accountability for any human rights violations and abuses committed.

Australia is deeply concerned by the violence in Ukraine. Ukraine’s destabilisation by externally-supported forces has led to a volatile situation. We encourage Ukraine’s President to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern Ukraine, respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On women’s rights, Australia agrees that it is important to protect the established rights agenda from erosion. We have seen too many attempts to resile from long-standing rights over recent months. With sexual violence too often used as an instrument of war, Australia is championing the UK’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. We will continue to advocate for the elimination of sexual violence in conflict and in all other contexts.

We look forward to deepening our engagement with the Office of the High Commissioner. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Australia’s sincere appreciation for High Commissioner Pillay’s efforts. We wish her all the best with her future endeavours.