----- Original Message -----
From: john.monfries@dfat.gov.au
Cc: geoffrey.becher@dfat.gov.au
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2000 11:07 AM

Dear Mr Sjolander,

Thank you for your e-mail of 29/9/2000 and your offer to provide Mr Downer
with ideas on how to progress human rights issues especially in relation to
your son's case.

The Australian government has a very active formal and informal program on
human rights matters which it continues to pursue both at the multilateral
level through international organisations and agencies, and at the
bilateral level through dialogue with host governments, non-government
agencies and other interested parties.  You may also be interested to know
that we regularly make representations to encourage countries like the
Philippines to join The Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

So that a full and proper detailed examination can be made of your ideas, I
would appreciate it if you could put those ideas in writing and forward
them to me.  I can then make sure that your ideas are passed on to the
right people for consideration.

As I mentioned in my earlier message, the question of access to your son is
a private legal matter which must be pursued through the courts.  You will
appreciate that it would be inappropriate for the Australian government to
interfere in the judicial procedures of another country, in much the same
way that Australia would not wish foreign governments to interfere in
domestic legal matters within Australia.

As you do not appear to be an Australian citizen, the Australian Government
has in any case LIMITED standing under international law to pursue the
matter with the Philippine Government.  In this context, you may also wish
to explore the possibility of seeking consular assistance from your country
of citizenship.

You mentioned that you already have lawyers working for you on your case,
and I would therefore recommend that you continue to work with them to try
and achieve the outcomes you desire.  Alternatively, as mentioned in my
earlier message, we can still supply you with a list of lawyers in the
Philippines who deal with such cases.

Yours sincerely

John Monfries
Consular Policy Section