Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session

Item 4
Australian statement for General Debate

18 March 2014

 

Australia condemns the widespread and systematic human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as detailed in the comprehensive and profoundly disturbing report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the DPRK. We urge the DPRK to implement the Commission’s recommendations.

Australia remains gravely concerned by the crisis in Syria, noting the worsening human rights situation described by the COI. All parties to the conflict and particularly the Syrian regime must take urgent steps to end the violence against civilians and remove obstacles to humanitarian aid. Those responsible for serious international crimes must be held to account.

We note some steps taken by the Iranian Government on human rights, but remain deeply concerned by reports of a sharp rise in executions, ongoing ill treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, torture of prisoners, and continued restrictions on the exercise of civil and political rights.

Australia strongly condemns ongoing and widespread reports of human rights violations and abuses in the Central African Republic. We have continuously called for the perpetrators of the violence to be held accountable, and strongly support the work of the UN International Commission of Inquiry to investigate these abuses.

Australia holds serious concerns about human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – including sexual violence and violence against children – in some instances allegedly involving members of the armed forces and the police. We encourage efforts to improve screening and training of the DRC’s security forces, and the investigation of all human rights abuses regardless of the perpetrators.

Australia acknowledges the significant progress made by the Government of Myanmar in improving human rights. However, we remain very concerned about the situation in Rakhine State. We encourage the Myanmar Government to give priority to addressing the situation and to move towards full implementation of the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.