Wien, 22. June 2010 Press release

Spindelegger: “Global strengthening of human rights as a leitmotif of our candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council”

Austrian candidacy presented in Geneva

Vienna, 22 June 2010 – “Our clear commitment to the effective implementation of human rights is at the core of our candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council. As a member and a partner in the UN Human Rights Council, Austria wants to help contribute to the global strengthening of human rights,” stated Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger when Austria’s candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council was presented by Austrian Ambassador Christian Strohal in Geneva. Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger will officially present the contents of Austria’s candidacy to the community of states in his speech before the UN General Assembly in September.

“The worldwide promotion of human rights has been a core concern of Austrian foreign policy for many years. Within the UN, Austria is highly esteemed for its readiness to participate in open and transparent cooperation and dialogue. Since the establishment of the Human Rights Council during Austria’s EU Presidency in 2006 Austria has always made an active and constructive contribution to the Council’s work. We do not dread the clear and critical address of the human rights situation as it presents itself in some countries,” continued Spindelegger. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Austria is also putting special emphasis on human rights concerns.

“Our first candidacy for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council is therefore a logical step,” stated the Foreign Minister. The projects which Austria plans to implement as a member of the Human Rights Council reflect the traditional priorities of Austria’s human rights policy: “Austria will particularly promote the strengthening of the rule of law and the rights of women, children and people with disabilities,” affirmed Spindelegger. Another priority is the fight against torture. In this area Austria wants to set a positive example by seeking ratification of the additional protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture.

The elections to the UN Human Rights Council will take place in May 2011 at the UN General Assembly in New York.

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