Today marks the anniversary of one of the most significant commitments ever made by the international community – the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Human Rights Day marks the beginning of a year-long campaign by the UN, in the lead up to the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration in 2018.

As a founding member of the United Nations, Australia’s commitment to human rights is strong and enduring.

On 1 January 2018, Australia will take up our three-year membership of the UN Human Rights Council, the peak international body for promoting and protecting human rights.

Australia’s case for election to the Human Rights Council was based on the unshakeable principle that human rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable.

During our term we will focus on gender equality, freedom of expression, good governance and robust democratic institutions, human rights for indigenous peoples and strong national human rights institutions.

As the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper notes, a shared rulebook will sustain security and prosperity for Australia and the world. The Human Rights Council plays a vital part in that world order, standing second in importance only to the UN Security Council.

Australia is committed to working constructively and collaboratively with other countries and civil society to continue to protect and advance human rights to ensure Australia and the world is safer and more secure.

For more information, see the DFAT website on Australia’s membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council 2018-2020.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
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