Australia’s role on UN Human Rights Council now more important than ever

Following the United States’ announcement it will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council, Emma Bull, Advocacy Manager at Amnesty International Australia, said:

“Australia’s role on the UN Human Rights Council is now more important than ever. We should work towards having the US rejoin the Human Rights Council, but Australia also must now step up and fill the leadership gap, especially on human rights abuses in our region.

“Australia has an opportunity to show stronger leadership with countries on our doorstep, such as contributing to increased humanitarian assistance to the 900,000 Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar, and by supporting the upcoming Human Rights Council resolution around accountability for crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

“Protecting universal freedoms and fairness is vital in this global climate, and Australia must use its Council seat to champion rights in our region and around the world.”

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“Once again, President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect, and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice.

“The US should urgently reverse this decision, which places it squarely on the wrong side of history. It is wilfully choosing to undermine the human rights of all people everywhere, and their struggles for justice.”