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

Remarks by the Delegation of the United States of America

UPR Working Group Intervention for Austria, 10th Session

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The United States warmly welcomes Foreign Minister Spindelegger and the Austrian delegation to the UPR Working Group. We have carefully reviewed the report and presentation, and would like to make a few observations and recommendations.

The United States commends Austria for its advocacy for the rights of women, its support of domestic and international human rights NGOs and human rights education, and its leadership in promoting the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, including Austria’s key role as a member of the United Nations Security Council in the adoption of Resolution 1894 for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict. The United States also commends Austria for its efforts to become a hub of anti-trafficking in persons expertise, as evidenced by its hosting of regional conferences on this issue in 2010. The Austrian Parliament’s recent incorporation of human rights of children into the Austrian constitution shows Austria’s commitment to protecting minors.

Austria has addressed asylum, migration, religion, and minority groups in its report. We welcome Austria’s commitment to the protection of rights in line with international obligations and its own statutory provisions. We note that in past rulings, the European Court of Human Rights criticized the waiting period for recognition of religious groups, and we welcome the recent Constitutional Court ruling on this issue. However, the United States also notes reports of societal discrimination and xenophobia, including reports from minority groups about “racial profiling” at the hands of police, as well as the lack of progress in implementing Constitutional Court rulings regarding minority rights in Carinthia province.

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

1. That Austria continue its work to combat societal discrimination and xenophobia.

2. That Austria improve its implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling regarding the use of the Slovene language in Carinthia province.