Principles

  • A credible human rights policy starts at home. Austria, as a party to all major international human rights agreements, has undertaken to comprehensively respect, protect, and fulfil human rights in Austria. Our international human rights obligations are implemented domestically through the Federal Constitution and numerous laws. International monitoring mechanisms enjoy a standing invitation to review compliance with international human rights obligations in Austria and to request improvements wherever necessary. On the basis of Austria’s cooperative and open spirit, we are also engaging in dialogue with third countries regarding human rights issues.
  • Human rights are mainstreamed in all areas of Austrian foreign policy. Due regard is given to human rights in all thematic areas and human rights issues are addressed in all bilateral meetings and appropriate multilateral fora.
  • Priority areas of Austrian human rights policy are: the rights of women and children, the safety of journalists, the promotion of freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities, combatting human trafficking, the protection of minorities, and human rights education.
  • The three years programme of the Austrian Development Agency explicitly states the human rights based approach as one of the main principles of development work. Programmes and projects shall follow human rights principles such as participation, non-discrimination, accountability and transparency. We pay particular attention to the non-discrimination of vulnerable groups, rule of law and the development of pluralism and civil society building.
  • Austria cooperates closely with its EU partners as well as like-minded third countries in order to achieve our human rights policy goals. We also value input from and interaction with civil society very highly. Austrian citizens and NGOs often highlight human rights crisis situations or individual cases to the Austrian Foreign Ministry. We also support human rights NGOs in order to strengthen civil society.
  • The multilateral forum of the United Nations is of particular significance to Austria’s human rights policy. Through our support to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and our active participation in the UN Human Rights Council and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, Austria contributes to better promotion and promotion of human rights around the world.
  • At the regional level, Austria cooperates closely with its partners in the European Union, as well as the Council of Europe, the European Court on Human Rights and the OSCE, in order to foster continued, and where necessary improved, human rights protection throughout Europe.
  • Austria applies a wide range of instruments to implement its human rights policy. As a principle, we use a cooperative, constructive, dialogue-based approach. Austria, for example, aims at better and sustainable promotion and protection of human rights worldwide through the exchange of experience, as well as tangible support to human rights defenders and projects fostering human rights and democracy. Often, international pressure and public criticism are also necessary in order to persuade States to improve their human rights record.
  • Austria is firmly committed to the universality of human rights, as affirmed by all States at the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights 1993. The dignity and the rights of the human person are common to all States and cultures. Human dignity, and the rights and freedoms resulting therefrom, are inalienable and equally belong to every man, woman, and child, worldwide.