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Australian Statement for the Item 4 General Debate, 12 March 2021

Human Rights Council 46th session

Item 4: General Debate

Statement by Australia

Australia condemns the use of force and violence against civilians exercising their universal human rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, in Myanmar. We call on the military regime to engage in dialogue with international accountability mechanisms.

Australia rejects the outcome of the 6 December 2020 election in Venezuela and the legitimacy of the new National Assembly as conditions were not in place for free and fair elections. We are deeply concerned by the devastating political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

The targeting of medical facilities, hospitals, and medical workers by the Syrian regime further endangers vulnerable people already at risk of injury, disease, and counteracts international humanitarian efforts.

We are concerned by Beijing's changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, which further undermine Hong Kong's democratic institutions and the high degree of autonomy Beijing committed to under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Numerous and credible reports of human rights violations and abuses against Uighurs and ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, including of systematic torture and sexual abuse of women are deeply disturbing.  Australia urges China to allow urgent, unfettered access to Xinjiang for the High Commissioner and international observers.

The systemic human rights violations in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should be immediately addressed. Australia calls the DPRK to abandon Weapons of Mass Destruction and focus on improving the lives of its people.

The ongoing discrimination, persecution and intimidation faced by ethnic and religious minority groups and LGBTI persons in Iran is unacceptable.

248 words

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