Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Second meeting of the Australia-China human rights dialogue: 10-11 August 1998

Download WordDownload Word











10 August 1998


I have today opened in Canberra the second meeting of the Australia-China human rights dialogue which will build on the inaugural talks held in August last year in Beijing.


The agenda is a full one, covering domestic, regional and international human rights issues. As was the case last year, the talks will aim for practical progress and will be conducted in a frank and constructive manner.


The two sides will review the effectiveness of cooperation over the past year in a range of areas affecting human rights, including such fields as legal reform and capacity building, education and implementating international human right agreements. They will also consider future cooperative work.


This will be the first visit to Australia by such a senior delegation for official talks on human rights. The delegation leaders are Vice Minister Yang Jiechi of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Secretary Kim Jones of my Department.


The membership of each delegation is designed to allow wide-ranging discussion between specialists. The’ Chinese delegation will include representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Supreme People’s Court and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


The Australian delegation likewise represents a broad cross-section of government agencies with responsibility for human rights. Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Australian Agency for International Development, the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and, for the first time, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), will be participating in the talks.


The dialogue consists of one-and-a-half days of talks in Canberra, after which the Chinese delegation will have a series of further meetings in Canberra and Sydney. They include calls on the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, HREOC, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. The Chinese delegation will also hold a round-table meeting in Canberra with Australian non-governmental organisations.


This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which articulates the fundamental human rights and freedoms that apply to all people without qualification, and is the foundation on which the international human rights legal framework has been built. It is therefore appropriate, in this 50th anniversary year, that Australia and China are expanding bilateral cooperation on human rights matters.


Media Inquiries:


Innes Willox: (02) 6277 7500 or 0419 206 890

Tony Melville: (02) 6261 1555