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Initiatives To Protect Pacific HR Supported

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hon Bruce Billson MP
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade

1 April 2005


Australia supports practical initiatives to protect human rights in the Pacific

Australia is providing $270,000 to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake work in the Asia Pacific region, the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Bruce Billson announced today.

‘The Australian Government is committed to supporting practical initiatives to promote and protect human rights, particularly in the Pacific region where formal mechanisms to protect and promote human rights are rare,’ Mr Billson said.

‘My colleague, Liberal Senator Marise Payne, who has been attending the Commission on Human Rights’ annual meeting in Geneva, is having discussions today with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and will present this new commitment for the work of the OHCHR in our region.

Senator Payne said, ‘The work of the OHCHR is vitally important to furthering the cause of human rights and its continued importance to the Pacific region cannot be understated.’

‘Of this latest AusAID funding, $150,000 is being provided to assist with the establishment of a new Pacific office of the OHCHR in Suva to focus on human rights in the Pacific.

‘This initiative will help integrate human rights into the work of other UN programs in the Pacific, assist regional implementation of human rights, and assist Pacific Island countries ratify international human rights treaties,’ Mr Billson said.

‘Funding is also being provided to the OHCHR National Institutions Unit to support existing independent human rights bodies in Asia and the Pacific.

‘Australia is looking forward to working closely with the OHCHR to achieve practical and sustainable human rights improvements in Asia and the Pacific,’ Mr Billson said

ENDS


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