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Thursday, 25 August 1983
Page: 281

Mr HAND —Has the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs been drawn to the hunger strikes that have been undertaken by persons of Turkish origin in Sydney and Melbourne and in other countries such as Germany and France in sympathy with the hunger strikers in Turkey protesting at the denial of political and human rights in that country?

Mr HAYDEN —There have been demonstrations, in the form of hunger strikes, in several countries. They have been in support of Turkish political prisoners who, in turn, have been engaged in what was described as a fairly extensive hunger strike protest in Turkey recently. The advice available to the Government is that the hunger strike demonstrations in France and Germany have been called off and, very substantially at least, the hunger strike in Turkey has also been called off. These hunger strikes are in protest at denial and abuses of fundamental human rights within Turkey. Earlier this year we were encouraged, the political parties Bill having been introduced, that progress towards the restoration of democracy was under way in Turkey. One has to put on record very clearly that there can be no enduring and convincing progress towards democratic values and practices in any country where human and political rights are being abused or denied.

Since I have been Minister an approach has been made to the Turkish authorities -a little earlier this year-to protest about certain aspects of human rights in that country. I believe this is a matter which would enjoy widespread bipartisan support. I know that under my predecessor, the honourable member for Corangamite , and, I would presume, his predecessor, the Leader of the Opposition, Australia lodged protests with Turkish authorities on this matter. Finally, this Government condemns abuses or denials of human rights, wherever they are. That attitude was pursued in quite convincing practice by the previous Government. I believe it is a position that would be applauded by all Australians.