HRC / 24th Session, Universal Periodic Review
UN Human Rights Council – 24th Regular Session
General Debate under Agenda Item 6 – Universal Periodic Review
Austria is fully aligned with the European Union statement.
The first review of Austria in the framework of the Human Rights Council’s UniversalPeriodic Review took place on 26 January 2011 in Geneva. At the time, the Head of the Austrian delegation, Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger, announced the submission of a mid-term report on the implementation status of the UPR recommendations two years after the review. We have transmitted such a mid-term report to the Secretariat and circulated it among all Permanent Missions in Geneva. Austria considers the UPR process as a key human rights tool of the United Nations that guarantees a comprehensive, regular and non-selective human rights examination of all UN Member States. Around the time of its first UPR review, Austria also applied for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council and was subsequently elected for the period 2011 to 2014. Within the framework of its candidature, Austria submitted a series of pledges and commitments – their implementation is an ongoing process with the involvement of civil society.
Austria initiated a systematic implementation process taking into account all UPR recommendations that Austria has accepted. The human rights coordinators of the federal ministries and the regional governments, which were established in 1999, play a key role in this process. In regular meetings, coordinated by the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry on European and International Affairs, they discuss current human rights issues and especially the status of the implementation of international human rights obligations in Austria.
The 131 accepted UPR recommendations were assigned to the respective ministries according to their competences by the human rights coordinators. Subsequently, thematic working groups with interested NGOs were established by the relevant ministries in order to discuss ways of implementing the UPR recommendations. Furthermore, a UPR steering group, composed of senior officials of the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry on European and International Affairs and of NGO representatives, was set up to accompany the implementation process, for example by debating implementation issues with regard to specific topics, with the help of external experts and by providing the ministries with suggestions.
In several public events, information about the implementation status of the UPR recommendations was provided and discussed with civil society. The UPR process has thus facilitated a constructive dialogue with civil society on human rights issues in Austria.
Austria has, to a large extent, implemented the pledges and commitments that it has made during its candidature to the Human Rights Council. The UPR mid-term report gives a detailed overview of the implementation status of all accepted UPR recommendations, including a series of new legal and political measures. The fact that NGOs do not entirely agree with the official assessment of the implementation status in some cases reinforces our determination to further the dialogue process with the civil society by jointly steering, taking forward and evaluating the implementation process. We look forward to a fruitful dialogue with all interested delegations and civil society representatives, in the context of the UPR process or bilaterally.
I thank you.