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Human Rights Council – 25th Regular Session
General debate – Item 3
14 March 2013
Australia thanks the High Commissioner for her thematic reports and for the work and independence of her Office.
Australia welcomes the recommendations of the High Commissioner’s report on the role of the public service as an essential component of good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights. We support the principles outlined in the HRC/19/20 through the Australian Public Services (APS) Values, which bind all APS employees. The APS Value of ‘respect’ introduced in 2012 reinforces the commitment of APS employees to human rights, namely: “The APS respects all people, including their rights and their heritage”.
Australia supports a culture of equality, inclusion and diversity within the APS. We promote this culture through various programmes such as the APS Indigenous Strategy and the APS Disability Employment Strategy.
As part of Australia’s Human Rights Framework, a suite of educational materials and training resources to help public sector officials understand their human rights obligations has been developed.
Australia firmly supports the right to peaceful assembly. We view peaceful protests as the exercise of the freedoms of expression, opinion and assembly. Australia is concerned that in some parts of the world peaceful protests continue to be met with brutality and repression. We are further concerned that such violence has been targeted at women and girls, including as a tactic to curtail participation.
Australia resolutely supports the freedom of religion and belief. All Australians are free to choose their religion, and are able to express and practise their religion and their beliefs, without intimidation or interference, as long as those practices are within the framework of Australian law.
Australia believes that the rights of those belonging to religious and other minorities must be protected. We deplore unequivocally all acts of violence against a person based on their race, religion, belief, sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as those arising from a lack of tolerance for the right to the freedoms of expression and opinion.