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

UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session

General comments after action on resolutions and decisions

Statement by Australia, 14 June 2013


My delegation would like to begin with a general comment on the Presidential Statement adopted today regarding the situation in Myanmar.

Australia wishes to acknowledge and welcome the delegation of Myanmar’s engagement with the OIC in the negotiation process on the draft statement. This engagement is a further sign of the Government of Myanmar’s commitment to dialogue and cooperation with the international community. We took careful note of Myanmar’s remaining concerns about the statement outlined by the delegation this morning, and we thank Myanmar for its considerable flexibility in accepting this statement.

My delegation considers that the holding of open, transparent, informal consultations on this draft statement could have resulted in a more balanced statement that would better reflect the complex situation in Rakhine State.

Australia remains concerned about violence against persons belonging to minorities in Rakhine State, and we encourage the Government of Myanmar to continue to take measures to address the situation. We welcome the Government’s commitment to redouble its efforts to halt communal violence, provide humanitarian assistance to victims and deal with the perpetrators of the violence in accordance with the law; as underlined by President U Thein Sein in his statement on 28 March 2013.

Australia continues to encourage Myanmar to move towards full implementation of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur and the Human Rights Council. We stand ready to support and assist Myanmar on its journey of reform at this important time.

Secondly, Mr President, Australia would once again like to draw attention to the requirement that the Human Rights Council’s working methods be “transparent, impartial, equitable, fair, pragmatic; lead to clarity, predictability, and inclusiveness”. Australia considers that these transparent and constructive working methods are one of the Human Rights Council’s key strengths.

We are concerned by the decision by some states to bypass the consultative negotiation process envisaged by the IB Package and instead to table hostile amendments prior to the exhaustion of legitimate negotiation efforts.

Australia has always engaged with other members and observers of this Council in accordance with the principles enshrined in the IB Package. We have sought to find compromise solutions, to build confidence and to foster trust and cooperation: and we will continue to do so. Earlier this week, Australia announced its candidacy for membership of the Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term. Should we be elected, we will continue our commitment to transparency and consultation.

Australia would like to thank the many other delegations which have worked tirelessly throughout the session to build trust and find compromise solutions, even on sensitive issues. The consensus adoption of those resolutions is evidence of the value of negotiation, give and take, and balanced compromise.