Austria was elected as a member of the Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly on 20th May 2011, for a three-and-a-half year period from 19th June 2011 to 31st December 2014. Thus, Austria serves as a member in the primary human rights body of the United Nations for the first time since the creation of the Human Rights Council in 2006.
The promotion and protection of human rights is of utmost importance to Austria. The credibility of our work for better human rights protection worldwide rests on our commitment to the comprehensive realisation of human rights within Austria. We pursue a constructive approach with third countries, based on partnership which puts dialogue with all stakeholders at the centre, in order to sustainably improve human rights protection worldwide. Finally, Austrian activities are firmly grounded in our conviction that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent.
Austria has for many years enjoyed the respect of the United Nations and its Member States for its relentless efforts towards better human rights protection around the world. Moreover, Austria has strongly supported the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since its creation in 1994, the same as the UN Treaty Bodies and the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights issues and country situations (“Special Procedures”). The current membership of Austria in the UN Human Rights Council provides ample opportunity to further implement and strengthen our active human rights policy.
Austrian activities on the following priority human rights issues continue to be implemented during our membership in the UN Human Rights Council:
- Women’s rights
- Strengthening the rule of law
- Human rights education
- Combatting human trafficking
Moreover, special attention and resources are devoted to the following, additional priority issues:
- Promotion of freedom of religion and protection of religious minorities
- Safety of journalists and promotion of freedom of expression and the media
- Rights of the child
Pursuant to the UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/60/251 regarding the creation of the UN Human Rights Council, the pledges and commitments of Austria (GER, EN, FR, SPAN, PORT, CHIN, RUS, ARAB) in the context of its candidacy for the Human Rights Council were presented in March 2010.
Statements and speeches made by Austria at the UN Human Rights Council are available on the website of the Permanent Mission of Austria in Geneva.