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General Comment: Resolution on the Contribution of the HRC to the prevention of human rights violations

Australia thanks the core-group for the presentation of L.32, the contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations. We thank the core-group for their transparent and consultative approach to negotiations, and their efforts to accommodate the concerns of different delegations.

The resolution is an important contribution to the work of the Council.

One of the roles of the Council is ‘promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all’ (OP2 of General Assembly Resolution 60/251). Promoting universal respect for the protection of human rights is, at its heart, a commitment to the prevention of human rights violations and abuses. This focus is made explicit in 60/251, OP5(f), which states that the Human Rights Council shall ‘contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention of human rights violations’.

What is prevention and how best to achieve it are questions with multiple answers. The core-group has sought – with sensitivity and appropriate caution - not to directly answer these questions, but rather highlight a range of tools available to the Council to achieve its mandate. The resolution fully respects the mandate of the Council as defined in 60/251 and the procedures and mechanisms set out in the Institution Building Package.

The request for a report on the current UN system for technical assistance and capacity building to assist states to implement their human rights obligations and commitments, and ways to improve this system, is welcome. Too often the lack of technical assistance and capacity building is raised in this chamber; this resolution establishes a clear way of exploring how to address this need.

The proposed regular briefing of the Council by the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission is also a welcome initiative. Too often the human rights issues dealt with by the Council arise from situations of conflict. An improved understanding of how other UN bodies are responding to these situations, in line with their mandates, will better assist the Council to respond to the same situations, in line with its own unique mandate.

Australia supports this draft resolution and urges other states to do the same.

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