Canada’s declaration against the use of arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations

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Video message by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Marise Payne

9am 15 February 2021 EST (1am 16 February 2021 AEDT)

15 February 2021

Advancing human rights – at home and abroad – is one of the most important measures of success of our societies.

Paragraph 8 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action states “the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels should be universal and conducted without conditions attached”.

Today Australia stands with more than 55 of our international partners in our strong support for universal human rights and reiterates our resolute opposition to the use of arbitrary detention, arrest and sentencing to influence state-to-state relations.

The practice of arbitrary detention is against international law.  States must uphold all of their international human rights obligations, and that includes those owed to foreign and dual nationals within their jurisdictions.

Australia will hold countries to account for their international commitments and their obligation to comply with international laws and practices.  

We will continue to work with our international partners to counter this malicious activity.   

We were proud to join with 34 other states at the 45th Human Rights Council session last year in expressing our concerns about politically motivated arbitrary detention. 

We will continue to work hard to ensure that Australians and citizens of other nations are safe from this practice when they travel overseas. 

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as a pretext for reducing or removing access to justice and consular assistance for people in detention.

I want to thank and acknowledge the vital work of Canada, whose strong leadership and conviction in advancing our shared values has brought so many of us together today, particularly Minister Champagne, and now Minister Garneau.

I look forward to continuing our work with global partners in pursuit of a safe, peaceful and just world for our citizens. 

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