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Joint Press Release of the Seventh China Australia Human Rights Dialogue (28/07/2003)

(Beijing, July 28th, 2003)

The ongoing process of constructive dialogue between China and Australia on human rights issues took another step forward in Beijing today with the holding of the Seventh China Australia Human Rights Dialogue. The Dialogue was established in 1997 to strengthen mutual understanding, discuss human rights issues and identify practical means of cooperation.

This year the Chinese delegation was led by Mr. Shen Guofang, Assistant Foreign Minister and included representatives of the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, the United Front Work Department, All-China Federation of Trade Unions and All-China Women’s Federation. The Australian delegation was led by Dr. Geoff Raby, Deputy Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and included the President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, Mr. John von Doussa QC and officials from government departments responsible for human rights matters in Australia.

The two sides have held friendly, in-depth discussions on a series of issues of common interest, including women and children's rights, rights of ethnic minorities, judicial administration, civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights and cooperation with UN human rights mechanism.

Both sides agreed that the China-Australia relationship has been growing smoothly and the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all fields have been expanding. To further friendly cooperation between China and Australia serves the interests of the two peoples and is conducive to peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. The commitment to the dialogue demonstrates the overall strength of our bilateral ties.

Both sides reiterate their recognition and respect of the universality of human rights, with the conviction that all human rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. All countries, both developing and developed, are obliged to further promote and protect human rights in accordance with their own national conditions.
Both sides believe that dialogue and exchanges in the field of human rights help to enhance mutual understanding, minimize differences, and facilitates mutual learning and common progress.

The two sides approved the Human Rights Joint Technical Cooperation Program for 2003-2004 and expressed their wish to continue human rights technical cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Mr. Li Zhaoxing, will meet with Dr. Geoff Raby and the Australian delegation.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has assisted the Australian delegation with arrangements to visit Lhasa in Tibet following the conclusion of the Beijing program later this week, to see the human rights situation there at first hand.


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