Address to the United Nations General Assembly

  • Speech, check against delivery

Ministerial colleagues, and friends, Daesh has inflicted terrible harm on individuals, families and communities. Its atrocities contravene international law and are an affront to fundamental concepts of morality.

Its brutal attacks on civilians, torture of captives, systemic sexual violence against women and children and other deplorable acts – as Nadia and Amal have articulated - are an utter rejection of decency and humanity.

Australia has joined other nations in consistently condemning the appalling abuses committed by Daesh or ISIS.

Condemnation is not enough.

We must defeat Daesh.

We must totally neutralise the threat it poses to civilians, the region and the world.

Australia is supporting the efforts of the Iraqi Security Forces, who are making gains against Daesh, through our military contribution to the Global Counter-Daesh Coalition.

We are also working to prevent Daesh financing, recruiting and the spread of its ideology.

A military victory against Daesh will not be enough.

We must hold individual Daesh terrorists, including foreign terrorist fighters from across the globe, to account for their terrible crimes. As a member of the UN Security Council in 2013-14, Australia supported vigorously attempts to refer the crisis in Syria to the International Criminal Court, including through a draft resolution that strongly condemned abuses by non-State armed groups.

Regrettably, this draft resolution was vetoed.

We continue to call on the Security Council to fulfil its duty and its obligation and ensure that those responsible for Daesh's atrocities do not escape justice.

Denying impunity is an important factor in establishing lasting peace based on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Australia supports organisations undertaking important work on international criminal justice, including Justice Rapid Response and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.

All perpetrators of serious international crimes must be held to account.

This means investigating and where appropriate, prosecuting such persons in accordance with international standards. Australia has enhanced our domestic criminal laws to better enable the gathering of evidence and prosecution against returning foreign terrorist fighters.

Australia strongly supports this initiative of Belgium, Iraq and the UK to hold Daesh responsible for the crimes it has committed in Syria and Iraq.

The humanitarian toll caused by Daesh is staggering. Australia has responded with funding and offers of permanent resettlement for thousands of displaced vulnerable people from Syria and Iraq particularly persecuted minorities, women, children and families who have the least prospect of ever returning to their homes. This includes offers of permanent resettlement to Yazidis from Iraq and Syria, Christians among others.

It is vital that we remain united and committed to holding these perpetrators to account this task so that justice prevails and we reject for all time the barbarity of Daesh.

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