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U.S. Statement on the UPR Working Group Intervention for Australia
January 27, 2011

Remarks by the Delegation of the United States of America

UPR Working Group Intervention for Australia, 10th Session

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The United States warmly welcomes Senator Lundy and the Australian delegation to the UPR Working Group and congratulates Australia on the completion of its national report and presentation today. My delegation joins with our colleagues in offering our sincere condolences to the victims of Australia’s recent flooding.

The United States commends the Commonwealth of Australia for its strong commitment to human rights and its support for domestic and international human rights NGOs. Australia has taken steps to create a unified national framework for human rights that governs state and territory policies, and we look forward to the completion of this endeavor.

We commend Australia for identifying disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous people, and greatly appreciate the further information the delegation provided in this regard, particularly with reference to its “Consolidation Plan.” We would like to register the following question should the delegation have further information to offer: Does Australia have a specific action plan to enforce its legal prohibitions against disparate treatment of individuals because of race, religion, gender or national origin, especially as they relate to discrimination against indigenous persons?

We commend Australia for its ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking, and have also noted the information the delegation has just provided. We have a further question in this regard as well: Does Australia, a major destination for human trafficking, plan new initiatives to combat trafficking and provide alternatives to detention for foreign trafficking victims without legal immigration status in their territory? What role would Australia’s proposed processing center, sited outside the country, play in realizing the goals of such a plan?

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following four recommendations:

1. That Australia, as it works towards its goal of eliminating discrimination, focus on nationwide enforcement of its existing anti-discrimination law, plan adequately for nationwide implementation, especially as it relates to discrimination against indigenous persons.

2. That Australia improve the human rights elements of its training for law enforcement personnel.

3. That Australia strengthen efforts to combat family violence against women and children with a particular focus on indigenous communities.

4. That Australia increase efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders, including employers and labor recruiters who subject migrant workers to debt bondage and involuntary servitude.