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UN Human Rights Council – 21st Session

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Statement by Australia, 11 September 2012

Australia appreciates the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence. As the report highlights, truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence are complementary and mutually reinforcing principles.

The Special Rapporteur has coherently explained that in order to achieve the larger objective of the promotion and protection of human rights, two intermediate goals must also be pursued: providing recognition to victims and fostering trust.

Australia cooperates with fragile and conflict-affected countries to build trust and ensure accountability for past crimes. Through such approaches not only is truth uncovered and justice served, but victims are given recognition and trust is restored. Through the rebuilding of societies in which human rights are protected and promoted, we have our best chance at ensuring non-recurrence.

Australia welcomes the emphasis that the Special Rapporteur has placed on recognition of victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, as well as the incorporation of a gender perspective into the core of his mandate.

None are more devastated by conflict, by the breakdown in the rule of law and by the fracturing of social institutions than the victims of human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. This is why earlier this year Australia contributed 115,000 Euros to the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court, which supports victims in rebuilding their lives and livelihoods.

Ensuring accountability and ending impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes are particularly important to the intermediate objectives identified by the Special Rapporteur. Accountability delivers justice and recognition to victims, and rebuilds trust in conflict-affected societies, both trust among people and trust in institutions.

The process of learning from our experiences is inherently iterative. We need to draw all we can from our collective experience in previous mechanisms that helped to promote peace, justice, respect for human rights and ultimately non-recurrence. In a future report, we would be interested in practical advice, or examples of best practice, the Special Rapporteur could offer States in building mechanisms to recognise victims of human rights abuses and foster trust.