Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Human Rights Council

Item 4 Statement

Australia has long been gravely concerned by Myanmar’s suppression of the human rights and democratic aspirations of its people. We urge the authorities to seek non-military resolutions to Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts. We note that there remain over 2000 political prisoners in Myanmar, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Australia again calls on the authorities to release them. Some political parties are registering for the forthcoming elections under restrictive conditions. We urge the Myanmar authorities to allow freedom of speech, assembly and association and use the opportunity of the planned elections to genuinely move their country forward.

Australia remains concerned about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe including politically-motivated abductions, detentions without trial, attacks on civil society and human rights defenders, and restrictions on freedom of assembly and speech. Australia notes the decision to permit the publication of additional daily newspapers which, if followed through, could result in greater freedom of the media. However delays in constitutional reform, the potential introduction of indigenisation regulations, and the illicit use of natural resources threaten to undermine Zimbabwe’s political and economic recovery. We call on all parties to the Global Political Agreement to implement fully their commitments under the Agreement.

Australia remains deeply concerned about human rights in Iran, including: the use of capital punishment, in particular for juvenile offenders; violation of political and media freedoms; and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities such as Baha'is. Australia is particularly concerned by the 9 May execution of five prisoners, including four ethnic Kurds, reportedly for “anti-revolutionary” activities and by the 28 January execution of two opposition figures for post-election activities. Australia calls for the staying of the execution of others sentenced to death for post-election activities.

Australia remains deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Fiji under the unelected, military-led interim government. We encourage the interim government to respond positively to the reasonable and constructive recommendations that were put to it during Fiji’s UPR in February 2010, including by promptly returning Fiji to democracy and the rule of law, and to repeal the Public Emergency Regulations without the implementation of equivalent measures.

We remain gravely concerned by continuing reports of sustained and severe human rights abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We urge the DPRK to put priority on meeting the basic needs of its people and stop squandering its limited resources on developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.