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Thursday, 1 September 1994
Page: 750


Senator MICHAEL BAUME —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  That the Senate—

  (a)notes:

    (i)a letter from Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans) to Senator Baume, dated 26 August 1994, advising that the Australian Government has made specific representations to the Greek Government and the Greek Foreign Minister in respect of the case of arrested human rights campaigner, Mr Hristo Sideropoulos, who was charged on 25 May 1994 with spreading `false information that may cause disturbance to the international relations of Greece' and whose hearing has been postponed until 5 October 1994 when a representative of Australia's Athens Embassy will attend,

    (ii)that the charge relates to a statement Mr Sideropoulos made at the International Copenhagen Human Rights Conference in June 1990 that he belongs to a group of people that are deprived of their human rights, even the right to their name; that he is a Macedonian and lives in the Greek Province of Macedonia but he does not have the right to express that, to use his language, to cherish the customs and traditions of his ancestors and to convey them to his dependants and that when Macedonian political refugees and emigrants seek to return to visit their families, they are denied entry,

    (iii)Senator Evans' advice that the Australian Government is aware of cases of people he described as ethnic Macedonians being charged under Greek law for having expressed opinions that differ from those of the Greek Government, as outlined in recent Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch reports, and

    (iv)notes that the embassy is also monitoring the recent case of Mr Archimandrite Tsarknias and his sister Maria who were also arrested; and

  (b)calls on the Australian Government to continue to stand by its stated commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights internationally.