Vienna/Geneva, 30 September 2013 Press release

Spindelegger: "Austria takes steps for the benefit of civil society"

Numerous Austrian initiatives represented at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Vienna/Geneva, 30 September 2013 – "We are witnessing increasing pressure on the civil society of many states in the form of intimidation, repressive laws and restrictions of political activities. With its declaration at the UN Human Rights Council, Austria has spoken up against this disturbing development and expressed its support for NGOs", Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger said today at the end of the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council. "It was at the initiative of Austria that the Human Rights Council decided to establish a fund to support the participation of representatives of the civil society in the three UN bodies for the protection of minorities, for economy and human rights and social rights", the Vice-Chancellor continued.

"In addition, Austria gives its full backing to the protection of the rights of children and youth as a primary concern in the Human Rights Council, starting with the fight against child mortality. We simply must not accept that more than six million infants and toddlers still die every year from illnesses that could easily be treated, such as diarrhoea or malaria. Together with some other countries, we suggested the compilation of guidelines to halt infant mortality to give these small children the right to survive and live a healthy life", Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger said.

"The protection of the rights of adolescents includes those who have become offenders. In the resolution on human rights in the judicial and penal system that has been initiated by Austria, we express our opposition to capital punishment or life-long prison sentences for adolescents and advocate humane treatment. I am pleased that this resolution has been adopted by consensus and that a special debate on torture and abuse of imprisoned persons has been scheduled for next year", the Austrian Vice-Chancellor concluded. 

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