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Australia-China human rights dialogue.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA85 27 June 2005

AUSTRALIA-CHINA HUMAN RIGHTS DIALOGUE

The ninth round of the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue is being held in Beijing today.

The Australian delegation are raising a range of issues including China’s legal system, labour rights, women’s rights, religious freedom, Tibet and Xinjiang and the treatment of political activists and Falun Gong. Australian officials will also raise individual cases.

The dialogue was initiated by the Australian Government in 1997 to facilitate exchanges on human rights issues of mutual concern.

This year the dialogue is focusing in particular on the problem of HIV/AIDS. The Australian delegation will visit Hunan province to examine how China deals with this problem on the ground.

The Australian delegation is being led by one of my Department’s Deputy Secretaries, Dr Geoff Raby, and includes the President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Mr John von Doussa, and Australia’s Special Representative on HIV/AIDS, Ms Annmaree O’Keefe, as well as officials from relevant Australian Government departments.

The Chinese delegation is being led by Assistant Foreign Minister, Mr Shen Guofang, and includes representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Public Security, the All China Women’s Federation and the United Front Work Department.

The meeting in Beijing is expected to agree on activities to be conducted in 2005-06 under the Human Rights Technical Cooperation Program. Under this program, Australia and China work together to make practical improvements to human rights on the ground, especially in legal reform, women’s and children’s rights and ethnic minority rights.

The Australian delegation will also meet Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 0419 206 890 Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet. http://www.dfat.gov.au/