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Thursday, 20 March 1997
Page: 2593


Mr JENKINS —Three years ago today, on 20 March, the New Delhi statement on Tibetan freedom was released at the conclusion of the three-day world parliamentarians convention on Tibet—a gathering attended by members of parliament from 25 countries. Australia was represented at the conference by Senator Robert Hill, who was then the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Regrettably, the sentiments contained in the four-page statement continue to pertain. I call on the Prime Minister (Mr Howard) to ignore the posturing of the Chinese government and raise on behalf of Australia the concerns of many that so many issues in relation to Tibet continue to remain unresolved. The reports of human rights violations, illegal detentions and environmental vandalism continue. As a demonstration of what could be a very mature and important relationship with China, the Prime Minister should feel quite comfortable in raising the Tibet issue.

As part of the New Delhi statement, there were the so-called 10 commandments of Delhi. Amongst them was to encourage visits of the Dalai Lama. Last year we saw the very successful visit of the Dalai, including a visit to this parliament. Also included in that statement was the suggestion that we should target international bodies. There have been many that believe that the United Nations could do more to resolve the Tibet question.

The last point made in this 10-point plan was to encourage human rights in China and at home. I believe that the Chinese government should be encouraged to sit down with the Dalai Lama and resolve the questions in Tibet. (Time expired)