"We will take care to ensure that women as well as men benefit fully and equally from the recognition of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which were reiterated on the occasion of the Beijing Conference, and that the rights of children be respected."
Over the course of the last year, France has engaged in several activities to promote children's rights. France has been an ardent supporter of the adoption of two additional protocols to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, one relating to children and child prostitution. On 12 May 1997, President Chirac committed himself and his government to stamping out the sexual abuse of children and to protect children from a variety of threats ranging from drugs to religious sects.
France has developed an ambitious strategy of assistance in social sectors, especially with regards to the enhancement of gender equality. France discussed this strategy during its Development Assistance Committee review with the OECD in May 1997. And just on the eve of the Summit, Lionel Jospin, France's newly elected Prime Minister, pledged in his first speech to the National Assembly, to propose new domestic legislation on gender equality on the coming months.
President Chirac has chosen to pursue a policy of engagement with China in order to encourage the Chinese government's respect for Human Rights. During a state visit to China in May 1997, President Chirac stated that he preferred dialogue over confrontation as a strategy to improve China's human rights record. While economic motivations strongly influenced this decision, they have not eclipsed the French government's efforts to end human rights abuses in China. During the state visit to China, former French Foreign Minister de Charette asked Chinese Foreign Minster Qian Qichen to release two leading dissidents, Wei Jingsheng and Wan Dan.
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