Australia will host a workshop in Geneva on June 25-26 to focus
on improving the operation of the United Nations human rights treaty
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and Attorney-General,
Daryl Williams, announce that Australia will also fund a study by
the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to identify
"best practice" reporting guidelines.
The workshop is the second in a series of three workshops announced
by the Government in April 2001 as part of its diplomatic initiative
to increase the political momentum to review and improve the operations
of UN human rights treaty bodies.
Under the theme "Towards Best Practice", the workshop will focus
on practical, achievable measures to improve and strengthen the
system. It will include participants from 24 countries, the Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and a number of treaty
The workshop will examine developments and next steps towards achieving
more consistent working methods by the Committees and more user-friendly
reporting guidelines for States.
Australia's contribution of $50,000 to the Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights to fund a study to identify "best practice" reporting
guidelines will provide valuable support for this process.
The workshop will also examine measures to better harmonise and
coordinate the work of the treaty committees with other international
human rights monitoring mechanisms and improvements to the individual
communications mechanisms, particularly the screening of complaints.
The Government's diplomatic initiative is achieving positive results. The increasing dialogue between countries and the treaty committees
is welcome. It is also encouraging that the first inter-committee
meeting will take place from 26-28 June and will consider improved
and more consistent working methods. We hope to see these efforts
bear fruit in the adoption of measures that reduce the administrative
burdens on the system.
The Government is committed to enhancing the effectiveness and
credibility of UN human rights monitoring. Australia's successful
election to the Commission on Human Rights will enable us to continue
to play a leading role in this process.
Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's office) 02 6277 7500
/ Carina Tan Van Baren (Mr William's office) 02 6277 7300