Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

7 May 2009

United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights yesterday concluded its consideration of Australia's compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Representatives of the Committee congratulated Australia on the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and Australia's support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both decisions taken by the current Australian Government.

Representatives of the Committee also reflected positively on the passing of the Fair Work Act 2009 and the launch, in December last year, of the National Human Rights Consultation.  Again, these are initiatives of the current Australian Government.

In an opening statement to the Committee, Australia accepted that there are areas where we need to do more to ensure that all the rights articulated in the Covenant are enjoyed by all Australians.

Australia's delegation acknowledged that indigenous Australians remain the most disadvantaged group in Australian society. 

The delegation also highlighted that physical and sexual violence against women remains an issue of serious concern to the Government.

The Australian Government welcomes the opportunity to engage in discussion of Australia's human rights performance. 

The Government looks forward to receiving the Committee's concluding observations at the end of the Committee's session on 22 May.

The Government will consider any recommendations made by the Committee as to how Australia can build on its good human rights record.

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