Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein

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Human Rights Council - 29th Regular Session

Item 2 – Update from the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Australian Statement

15 June 2015

Australia appreciates this interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner

We welcome the focus of this session on gender equality, building on the successful 59th CSW session. Women are disproportionately affected by serious human rights violations and abuses and we must ensure the promotion and protection of women’s human rights are central to the Council’s deliberations.

We welcome the High Commissioner’s focus on the death penalty. Australia is also deeply concerned at the sharp rise in the number of executions, in particular for crimes that do not meet the threshold for ‘most serious crimes’. We would be interested to hear the High Commissioner’s views on future directions of work in this field.

The loss of countless lives at sea due to irregular migration is a tragedy. This complex problem requires a comprehensive and firm response. The priority for Australia is, and always will be, the protection of life at sea.

Australia will continue to remain open to genuine refugees – we are among the top three UNHCR resettlement countries in the world and will be increasing our annual Humanitarian Programme intake to an expected 18,750 places by 2018.

We look forward to engaging in the interactive dialogue on this subject later today.

Australia would welcome the return of the practice circulating the High Commissioner’s update. This would assist genuine and thoughtful interactive dialogue, especially given different time zones.

Thank you, Mr President.