Human Rights Council Reform Event

  • Speech, check against delivery

Ambassador Haley, Foreign Secretary Johnson and Foreign Minister Koenders, Excellencies, distinguished Heads of Delegation, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Australia believes that respecting fundamental human rights and freedoms, and building them into the fabric of a society, supports the aspiration of individuals around the globe to live in peace and security.

This principle underpins our desire to serve on the Human Rights Council from next year - the belief that all people should be free to pursue a better life for their families and communities.

The Human Rights Council must be a vehicle for those individual aspirations.

Australia is an open and liberal democracy that embraces freedom of expression and the rule of law. We believe it is our responsibility to serve on the Human Rights Council. Australia will take a principled and pragmatic approach should we be elected.

A large part of the UN's work on human rights, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peace building needs to be better coordinated, and free from the entrenched bias we've seen. We need to bring a clear-eyed approach.

In June this year, with 47 other states, Australia pledged to progress effective and meaningful reform to make the UN, and the Human Rights Council, more effective.

This will require specific action by individual member states.

We must never forget that a primary responsibility of individual national governments is to ensure the safety and security of all its citizens.

Essential and enduring humanity demands that we protect, in particular, the most vulnerable in our societies.

Australia is up to the challenge to ensure the Human Rights Council operates more effectively. We are there for these reforms.

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