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
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.
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.