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Tuesday, 18 April 1972
Page: 1683

Mr FOX (HENTY, VICTORIA) - I wish to direct a question to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is no doubt aware that members of the Jewish community in Syria are being subjected to persecution, including deprivation of human rights. He is also no doubt aware that various protests have been made against this state of affairs and that endeavours have been made to alleviate the great suffering of Syrian Jewry. I ask the Prime Minister whether he will make suitable representations through appropriate diplomatic channels and the United Nations Organisation to alleviate the desperate plight of Jewish people in Syria and ensure for them the preservation of their human rights.

Mr McMAHON - I believe it is basic to the thinking of all members of this House that they believe in the preservation of the rights of the individual under the Declaration of Human Rights, and above all I think I can emphasise for members on this side of the House that we deplore antisemiitism no matter where it might be practised. As to the second part of the question, I think the honourable gentleman should know or at least the House would know that on several occasions we have raised in the United Nations this question of discrimination on religious and other grounds and we have in particular drawn attention to the plight of Jewish people. I will discuss this problem with my colleague the Minister for Foreign Affairs to ensure whether by diplomatic means or through the United Nations we can take action to try to protect the rights of these deserving people.

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