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Wednesday, 7 June 1989
Page: 3539

Senator ZAKHAROV —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. What action has the Government taken in response to the harsh treatment of ethnic Albanians in the Yugoslav autonomous province of Kosovo?

Senator WALSH —I have a note about this somewhere. I am also in luck; I found it. My note says that the Government is concerned about reports of human rights violations in Kosovo province in clashes between demonstrators and security forces in that province. An ethnic Albanian majority is largely opposed to recent changes which have reduced the autonomy of the province. The constitutional status of Kosovo is clearly an internal Yugoslav affair. The Australian Government is nonetheless disturbed at the widespread use of force to suppress the demonstrations and also by the resort to violence by some of the demonstrators. The Australian Embassy in Belgrade has been asked to convey to the Yugoslav authorities the Australian Government's concern about several specific allegations of human rights abuse which have been passed to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade by the parliamentary group of Amnesty International. The Government supports the universal observance of internationally accepted standards of human rights and urges that those standards be observed by the Yugoslav authorities in their dealings with the unrest in Kosovo.