21 November 2015
Not a single skeleton was left in the closest when it came to Australia’s second review at the 23rd session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the 9th November.
Due to the large number of states wishing to speak (more than half of the UN member states), each country's delegate was only given a 65 second opportunity to address Australia’s human rights regime and put forward their recommendations.
Whilst several human rights issues were brought up during the review, unsurprisingly, an overwhelmingly large proportion of those recommendations related to asylum seekers. In fact, almost half of the recommendations made to Australia made reference to its asylum seeker policies and offshore detention. These included calls either to immediately close offshore detention centres, to remove children from detention, to stop boat turn-backs, and to address issues of refoulement (the return of those who have the right to be recognised as refugees to situations where their life or freedom would be threatened)
While Australia’s delegation attempted to justify its government's policy, Edmund Rice International and partners saw these recommendations as a successful outcome of its lobbying efforts. Not only did more than half of the member states speak to issues outlined in our joint submission, but ten out of the twelve countries our NGO coalition lobbied directly put forward recommendations paralleling our concerns - an 83% success rate. We were particularly pleased that the United States made reference to the closure of Indigenous rural communities in Western Australia, an issue specific to our report and lobbying efforts.
- article reproduced from ERI November Newsletter written by Zoya Yukhnevich, ERI intern