47th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (21 June - 15 July 2021)

Joint oral statement delivered by: Edmund Rice international Adoption of UPR Report for Australia

Madam President,

Edmund Rice International, Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace welcome Australia’s acknowledgment of the importance of reducing carbon emissions. However, such recognition is not backed-up with sufficient and significant climate
action. Australia should act on the UPR recommendations it received to implement more effective human rights compliant climate change policies, including the immediate phasing out of fossil fuels.

On the issue of asylum seekers and refugees, although the number of those held in off- shore detention centres has dropped dramatically in the last 2 years, Australia’s off-shore detention policy remains in place. The recent belated and limited response to the plight of a Tamil asylum-seeking family is welcomed, but international concern over Australia’s cruel and inhumane policy towards asylum seekers and refugees continues and resulted in over 30 UPR recommendations.

We urge an end to offshore detention, a shortening of the processing period for refugee applications, more humane conditions for people being detained, access to jobs for asylum seekers and government support for those sick or unemployed.

Finally, we commend the efforts to address the incarceration rates of indigenous Australians, and noting that deaths in custody are independently investigated by State and Territory Coroner’s courts, we urge the federal government to do more to encourage all States and Territories to address the over-representation of indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system, and to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years as suggested in multiple recommendations.

Thank You

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