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Australia continues to have a positive human rights record and is very engaged in advocating progress on human rights issues in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, especially since the country took its seat on the Human Rights Council.
The main human rights challenge remains the overall condition of Australia's indigenous population which remains dramatically behind on many social indicators such as education, health, and percentage of the overall prison population.
The unresolved status and condition of migrants caught trying to enter Australia by sea (including refugees/asylum seekers) and currently in Papua New Guinea and Nauru remains a concern. In December 2017 Australia approved the Same Sex Marriage Act and ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
Internationally, this year Australia launched a strategy for the abolition of the death penalty with a clear focus on advocacy in the region. This is one of the follow ups of its 2017 Foreign Policy White paper which stated the centrality of "human rights" for Australia's foreign policy action. Australia is prioritising work under its overseas aid programme to tackle inequality and is committed to advancing human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with specific initiatives in the Pacific to improve opportunities for women and eliminate gender inequality and violence against women.
Read more about human rights situation in Australia on p 222 in the country report linked below.