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Dunedin City Council Rebuffs Amnesty International

Media Release 13th April 2007

Dunedin City Council Rebuffs Amnesty International.

New Zealand City Councils can not turn a blind eye to human rights issues in China said Amnesty International after Dunedin City Mayor Peter Chin refused to meet an Amnesty International delegation.

The delegation arrived in Dunedin yesterday seeking support for the 'Lion Declaration' on human rights reform in China.

The travelling 'Lion Declaration' has launched an Amnesty International global campaign for "Human Rights Reform in China" within New Zealand.

Although it has been welcomed elsewhere, the delegation was aggressively told to leave the Council reception, where it hoped to deliver its message on human rights violations.

"It appears that some city councils with 'sister' city relationships would like to ignore the Amnesty International campaign and human rights abuses taking place in China" said Amnesty International New Zealand Campaigns Manager Gary Reese.

Amnesty will continue its six week nation wide tour with the strengthened resolve to challenge City Councils, especially those with 'sister' city relationships, to commit to a dialogue on human rights with local government in China.

Mr. Reese said "the sort of response Amnesty received from Dunedin City Council gives us added encouragement to take our message across the country. It appears that there is a lack of understanding that local bodies in China, unlike in New Zealand, are directly responsible for many serious human rights abuses, and represent the central Government".

The six week tour travels the length of the country, from Invercargill to Kaikohe, carrying the 'Lion Declaration' message on human rights abuses in China to 31 cities and towns throughout New Zealand.


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