Today, we mark the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly.
Human Rights Day is an important reminder of this milestone and of our determination to respect, protect and promote human rights globally.
As one of the eight drafters, Australia remains as committed today to the values and ambition of the Declaration as we were at its inception.
This year’s theme of equality is a timely reminder of the indivisibility and universality of human rights.
As an international community, our goal must be to continue to secure the human rights of all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion or socio-economic status.
Australia will continue to advocate for equal human rights for women and girls, people with disabilities, LGBTI people, indigenous peoples, and others who may be in vulnerable situations.
While recognising many areas of progress, we can also reflect on the challenges posed by COVID-19, political instability and conflict to human rights.
We particularly welcome the global steps towards the abolition of the death penalty, with Sierra Leone becoming the latest State to end capital punishment in 2021.
However, Australia is deeply concerned by instances around the world of arbitrary detention, and violence and discrimination against ethnic minorities, political opponents, human rights advocates and journalists. We must continue to address restrictions on fundamental freedoms, online and offline.
Australia will continue to defend human rights and encourage the international community to hold itself accountable to the Declaration’s principles.