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Thursday, 7 June 1984
Page: 2761


Senator MISSEN —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs aware that at present a protest hunger strike is taking place outside the Polish Embassy in Canberra and that the strike is organised in moral support of the political prisoners who are currently held in concentration camps and gaols in Jaruzelski's Poland, as well as being a gesture of solidarity with Dr Andrei Sakharov and his wife Yelena Bonner of Gorky in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? Has the Minister been informed that the Australian residents participating in the hunger strike all suffered severely at the hands of the Polish communist state? Will the Australian Government take up their demands for an immediate and unconditional release of the growing number of political prisoners in Poland and deplore the failure of Poland to recognise their status as political prisoners? Will the Australian Government immediately make representations to the Polish Government and further condemn the increasing record of deaths, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners in Poland?


Senator GARETH EVANS —I am very well aware of the protest, because I drive past it twice a day. As to the other matters raised by Senator Missen, I will raise them straight away with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and seek a reaction from him. He has made clear, as many of us have made clear on behalf of the Government, our continuing concern at the human rights situation in Poland. It may well be possible to make some productive further representations in that respect.