Australia: seeking human rights for all

Australia promotes and protects human rights at home and abroad

Australia's commitment to human rights is enduring: we were an original signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sixty years ago. We have been a leading proponent of its consistent and comprehensive implementation.

Protection and promotion of the human rights encapsulated in the Declaration is vital to global efforts to achieve lasting peace and security, and freedom and dignity for all.

Australia's commitment to the aims and purposes of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reflects our national values and is an underlying principle of Australia's engagement with the international community.

Promoting human rights

Australia is a principled advocate of human rights for all:

  • party to all landmark human rights treaties and committed to promoting their universal adherence and implementation
  • delivering practical initiatives to promote human rights, including through a dedicated Human Rights Fund for bilateral and regional activities
  • engaging constructively in human rights dialogues and exchanges with individual countries, in particular within Australia's region.

Improving economic, social and cultural rights

Australia is boosting its effort towards improved economic, social and cultural rights:

  • recognising human rights are indivisible, Australia is funding overseas development assistance to address poverty and lack of opportunity
  • strongly supporting the Millennium Development Goals through our rapidly expanding overseas development assistance program
  • thriving as a nation that accepts, respects and celebrates its cultural and religious diversity.

Strengthening human rights institutions

Australia is an active partner to UN efforts to promote and protect human rights:

  • welcoming the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and its standard-setting work to promote human rights and address crises
  • funding human rights activities of OHCHR, UNICEF and other UN agencies
  • engaging constructively with human rights mechanisms, including by issuing a standing invitation to UN human rights experts to visit Australia.

Addressing Indigenous disadvantage

Australia is advancing the welfare of Indigenous communities at home and abroad:

  • addressing Indigenous disadvantage practically and symbolically, including through a National Apology to the Indigenous peoples of Australia
  • acknowledging the significance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for the advancement of their welfare globally
  • contributing to the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations to aid Indigenous participation in key UN fora.

Advancing gender equality

Australia is empowering women to achieve substantive equality:

  • advancing women's rights through a commitment to accede to the optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
  • promoting women's participation in peace building through implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 ‘Women, Peace and Security'
  • funding the $21 million Asia Regional Trafficking in Persons Project to protect vulnerable men, women and children from exploitation.

Promoting the dignity and rights of people with disability

Australia contributes strongly to furthering the opportunities of people with disability:

  • enhancing the opportunities of people with disability in our region and globally through a new Strategy for a disability-inclusive aid program
  • welcoming and promoting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the rights of persons living with disability
  • supporting the Convention by offering highly qualified Australians such as Professor Ron McCallum AO, recently elected as an independent expert to its committee.
Last Updated: 18 January 2013
Australia: seeking human rights for all