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Australia's response to its Universal Periodic Review at the UN

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Hon. Robert McClelland MP Attorney-General Hon. Kevin Rudd MP Minister for Foreign Affairs



Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kevin Rudd today said Australia’s strong commitment to human rights stood it in good stead in responding to Australia’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the United Nations.

Established by the UN in 2006, the Universal Periodic Review examines the human rights records of all 192 Member States once every four years, and is designed to encourage countries to comply with their international human rights obligations.

Australia appeared at the Human Rights Council in January for its first UPR, and Australia’s response to the UPR has been released by the Council.

“Australia received recommendations from other countries on a wide range of human rights issues including the rights of women, the rights of Indigenous peoples, Australia’s international obligations and refugees and asylum seekers,” Mr McClelland said.

“Australia accepted in full or in part more than 90 per cent of the recommendations made to it as part of the UPR.

“We have also been able to showcase new developments that have occurred since January, including the endorsement of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children by Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, as well as the launch of Voices of Australia - the new multiculturalism strategy celebrating and strengthening Australia’s diversity.

“In developing the response we conducted extensive consultation. We now look forward to working further with NGOs, the Australian Human Rights Commission and all State and Territory Governments to improve human rights protections for all Australians,” Mr McClelland said.

Mr Rudd said the Australian Government will continue to work with the international community to promote and protect fundamental human rights at home and around the world.

“Australia has a strong human rights record and this was acknowledged by many countries on the Human Rights Council,” said Mr Rudd.

“The Universal Periodic Review is a good opportunity to demonstrate that when it comes to human rights, equality and opportunity, we can always achieve more.”

The UPR recommendations that the Government has accepted will inform the development of an updated National Human Rights Action Plan. Australia will provide the UN Human Rights Council an interim report ahead of its next UPR appearance outlining how the accepted recommendations are being implemented.

Australia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mr Peter Woolcott, will appear on Australia’s behalf at the UN on 8 June to respond formally to the recommendations made to Australia. Australia’s response is available at this link.

Contacts: Ryan Liddell (McClelland) 0427 225 763; Ranya Alkadamani (Rudd) 0434 664 589

6 June 2011