Australia was elected overnight by a majority of United Nations member states to serve a three-year term on the Human Rights Council, the world’s peak body for promoting and protecting human rights.
Australia will take its seat on 1 January 2018 and is ready to work closely with other countries and civil society to protect and advance human rights around the world. It is in our national interest to shape the work of the Council and uphold the international rules-based order. Respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms, and building them into the fabric of a society, makes Australia and the world safer and more secure.
We will bring to the Council the same principled, pragmatic and consultative approach that distinguished our term on the UN Security Council in 2013-14. Australia will provide a unique Indo-Pacific perspective and ensure that the voices of our Pacific neighbours and other small states are heard.
During our term on the Human Rights Council, we will focus on five key areas: gender equality, freedom of expression, good governance and robust democratic institutions, human rights for indigenous peoples and strong national human rights institutions. Through an emphasis on these issues, we can advance human rights in practical, sensible ways that will have far-reaching systematic effects over time.
Australia will also continue to advocate the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, freedom of religion and belief, the rights of persons with a disability and the rights of LGBTI communities.