Oral Statement on Australia's UPR by Mr. Adrian Edwards UNHCR Representative, UNHCR at the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council

UNHCR recognizes the strength of its partnership with the State of Australia and we look forward to continuing collaboration to ensure the world’s most vulnerable can access protection and safety.

UNHCR supports endeavours to reduce loss of life at sea, but we are concerned at the continued interception at sea of individuals seeking Australia’s protection. These are taking place without adequate transparency and consideration of an individual’s need for protection.

Similarly, while the welcome relocation of refugees to the United States continues to provide a critical and permanent solution for some of those forcibly transferred by Australia to Nauru and Papua New Guinea, Australia is urged to find appropriate solutions for those remaining. This could include by taking up New Zealand’s offer to resettle 150 refugees annually. UNHCR also strongly urges Australia to regularize the status of those transferred back to Australia and to release those who have been re-detained.

Australia continues its policy of arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining asylum-seekers, refugees and stateless persons. Every effort is needed to resolve cases in a timely manner, including to identify and confirm the necessity of continued detention and to pursue alternatives to detention, wherever possible.