Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session
Introductory Remarks – Resolution on National Human Rights Institutions
25 September 2014
Australia is pleased to present draft resolution L. 25 as orally revised on national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights for the consideration of the Human Rights Council.
We welcome and thank the high number of States from all regions that have co-sponsored this resolution. It is an irrefutable demonstration of the integral and unique role national human rights institutions play in building national capacities and in promoting and protecting human rights.
The draft resolution before the Council will ensure that the Secretary-General continues to report to the Council on the achievements, challenges and priorities at the national level regarding the establishment, strengthening and accreditation of national human rights institutions. The resolution also mandates continued reporting to the Council on the activities of the International Coordinating Committee for NHRIs Subcommittee on Accreditation, in considering and reviewing applications for accreditation of national human rights institutions under the Paris Principles.
This resolution highlights the role that NHRIs play in the prevention of human rights violations and abuses. From promoting the ratification of international treaties, legal and procedural reforms, to conducting practical and relevant human rights training and education, to raising public awareness and advocacy about the promotion and protection of human rights, prevention is a crucial element of NHRIs’ mandates and work.
Furthermore, in line with the Secretary-General’s call to continue to contribute to the Council’s consideration of the issue of cooperation with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, the resolution includes timely paragraphs which emphasise that NHRIs and their staff should not be subject to reprisals or acts of intimidation as a result of carrying out activities within their mandates. The resolution also stresses that NHRIs can play a role in addressing and preventing cases of reprisals against those who cooperate or seek to cooperate with NHRIs. We attach great importance to preventing and addressing reprisals, and believe that the perpetrators of such acts should be promptly brought to justice.
We, in the Human Rights Council, welcome and recognise the important and valuable contribution of NHRIs to our work. We consider this engagement to be best practice. In this regard, the present resolution urges the General Assembly explore the feasibility of enabling national human rights institutions compliant with the Paris Principles to participate in the General Assembly, as they do in the Human Rights Council.
Consistent with our commitment to contribute to improving the efficiency of the Human Rights Council, Australia has decided to biennialise this resolution.
We would like to thank the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs, as well as national human rights institutions from all regions, for their constructive and positive engagement on this resolution. We welcome their support and look forward to strengthening our cooperation with them on this important issue. We would also like to reiterate our sincere thanks to all delegations that engaged on this resolution for their contributions and support in this constructive, consultative and transparent negotiation process.
Australia is pleased to submit this resolution to the Human Rights Council, and trust that it will continue to enjoy the consensus of the Council.