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Australian Statement for the Item 2 General Debate, 25 February 2021

Human Rights Council – 46th session

Item 2 General Debate

25 February 2021

Australian Statement

Australia is gravely concerned by the accelerating erosion of democratic norms, undermining of the rule of law, and the often violent repression of fundamental freedoms around the world.

We are deeply concerned by the military coup in Myanmar. We strongly urge security forces to exercise restraint in response to peaceful protests. The use of lethal force and violence against civilians is unacceptable. Australia calls for the immediate release of Australian Professor Sean Turnell, as well as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all others who have been arbitrarily detained.

Australia urges the  immediate and unconditional release of Alexei Navalny and other anti-corruption advocates in Russia. The excessive use of force by Russian authorities against peaceful protesters and journalists must end.

Australia remains troubled by the human rights situation in Belarus, including the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the absence of free and fair elections.

The continued arbitrary detention of democracy advocates in Hong Kong is a concerted attempt to silence all critical voices and undermine the expression of legitimate concerns and opinions.

We call for free and fair elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua.

We urge those states suppressing the legitimate democratic will of their people to protect and promote human rights. The COVID-19 pandemic should not be used as a pretext for attacking human rights or diluting democratic processes.

221 Words

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