Dáil Éireann - Volume 455 - 27 June, 1995

Written Answers. - China's Population Policy.

17. Miss M. Wallace asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the efforts, if any, he intends to make to communicate concern regarding China's human rights record, in particular the situation regarding China's female children, in the run-up to the Beijing Conference. [11704/95]

51. Mr. P. Gallagher (Laois-Offaly) asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the allegation made in a television programme (details supplied) regarding the effect of China's population policy in regard to infanticide, particularly of girls, and forced abortions on women; if he will communicate with the Chinese authorities regarding the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11834/95]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): I wish to take Questions Nos. 17 and 51 together.

The Fourth World Conference on Women is scheduled to take place in Beijing in September. Ireland is working to ensure that the issue of human rights in respect of women is included on the agenda of the preparatory meeting for the world conference, which will be conducted by the UN Commission on the Status of Women at the beginning of August. Ireland is concerned that the achievements of earlier world conferences on women, including the rights of female children, should not in any way be diminished at this year's conference.

Ireland, China and many other countries were able to agree last year at the UN Conference in Vienna on an [53] important Declaration on Human Rights. In that document all the participating countries accepted that, however different the political, economic and social systems of states, there is a duty to uphold and protect the fundamental human rights set out in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

I am aware of the allegations made in the recent Channel 4 programme about the effects of China's population policy, and of the disquiet that has resulted. The Government intend to take up the issue with the Chinese authorities.