Archive for the ‘international negotiation’ Category

ADR News

July 3, 2009

Next Week @ Enjoy Mediation
Coming next week I am going to try and switch to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting format. This way you, the readers, will be able to know when new posts will be published.
This Monday’s post will recap of the monthly ACRG-NY (Association of Conflict Resolution- Greater New York Chapter) meeting that was held this past Thursday. This month’s gathering had over 70 people in attendance (good job people!) but with the listserv having 1,500+ people and many out of the NYC area, I thought some might enjoy a recap.
Wednesday will have a post and NY Times video on ‘Thinking Outside The Box: The NYPD & Cricket’ (I hope the intrigue and anticipation does not ruin your weekend!).

Friday will be the usual ADR news round up.

onto the news…


Big News In NZ-
Private Mediators To Be Used In Auckland Court Under Pilot
Wellington, July 3 NZPA – Private mediators will work with parties in civil disputes under a pilot scheme to be run at the High Court in Auckland…A panel of up to 15 mediators who were experienced legal practitioners qualified and experienced in mediation would be set up.
Full article [here]
Read the press release [here]
Questions I have- what are the qualifications? How will the roster be administered? Will they be paid, if so how much?

IMI Registration Tops 1,000 Worldwide
Good news from Irena Vanenkova, IMI Operations Director, via email the other day:IMI Registrations Top 1,000 WorldwideIMI Moves on to Certification by AssessmentIMI completed its Experience Qualification Path on June 30 2009. Over 1,000 experienced mediators from 35 countries took the opportunity to register on the IMI portal during the EQP period.
Already, over 100 mediators have completed their Profiles and are searchable on IMI’s open-access search engine. That number is expected to grow to almost 1,000 within 3 months. Registered mediators have until September 30 2009 to complete their Profiles. With the help of a 50-strong Independent Standards Commission, IMI is now moving on to implement Criteria that entities need to meet in order to be authorized to qualify experienced mediators for IMI Certification in the future.IMI’s Chairman, Michael McIlwrath of General Electric said:

“This is a truly great milestone from provably experienced mediators! Access to such an impressive number around the world will satisfy the needs of users for credible and convincing data about competent mediators. More than that, it is significant step in a drive by stakeholders to expand the mediation pie by injecting more confidence and understanding into mediation practice, and give it standing as a truly global profession. Future steps will be to promote the portal’s search engine to users worldwide to identify competent and suitable mediators for disputes, and to leverage the IMI experience to expand and extend the uptake of mediation in different countries and markets.”

IMI is now inviting top trainers, providers, professional and educational institutions to consider the Criteria established by the Independent Standards Commission and apply for authorization to deliver assessment programs qualifying experienced mediators for IMI Certification on a wider scale.Further details are available on the IMI web portal at http://www.imimediation.org/
(Disclaimer: I am signed up with IMI and am currently in the process of being certified)

ODR & The White House
Ethan Katsh posted the following at the Online Dispute Resolution Group @ Linkedin:
As some of you may know, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has, for the past month, been sponsoring a large scale online discussion. The purpose of the dialog is to generate new initiatives about how citizens might interact with government. In the first phase of the dialog, there were various proposals suggested for applications of ODR and ADR. During the last phase, which is occurring this week, ODR and alternative dispute resolution are featured prominently on the OSTP blog at http://blog.ostp.gov/2009/06/29/collaborative-problem-solving-and-alternative-dispute-resolution/ This blog posting will be open for public comment through next Monday, July 6th. If you have something, hopefully positive, to say about expanded ODR use by federal agencies, posting something to that effect would be extremely valuable and I would urge you to do so. The people in charge of the White House Open Government initiative actually are familiar with ODR and any ideas you might have about the value and benefits of ODR in the government context would, I think, have an impact.
Please feel free to forward this to anyone else who you think might be interested.


Mediator Suggested in California State Budget Impasse
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer sure has some radical ideas about how to break California’s government gridlock.
Hire a professional mediator to facilitate talks between lawmakers and the governor. Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, maybe?
And craft two budgets – one for the liberal coast and one for more conservative inland regions.
“We’ll have the budget for the coast that has tax increases and services,” Lockyer said in a wide-ranging interview with The Times’ Sacramento bureau. “And in a bunch of other areas in Central and Southern California that don’t have tax increases … their public schools are closed a month of the year – and see what happens.”

Full article [here]

Joe Biden Does Not Equal Mediator with Iraq
President Obama is giving Vice President Biden a larger portfolio to handle, asking him to oversee reconciliation inside Iraq, but Biden will not be a mediator between factions.
“I think he will be involved in working with Shia, Sunni and Kurd to achieve political reconciliation. I would hesitate to use the term ‘mediator,’ ” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said at Tuesday’s briefing. “Somebody who I think can oversee that we are making progress, that our attention and our resources are matched by what we see needs to happen. I think that he’s well suited to do that.”

Full article [here]

Small Business Mediation in Australia
During his many speaking engagements to promote his small business mediation service, Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan likes to quote a letter written by a commercial real estate agent to an aggrieved tenant.
…According to him, disputes over leases have made up 90 per cent of the 800 cases brought to the Victorian Small Business Commission’s dispute resolution service.
The idea behind the mediation is to provide a low-cost, less confrontational forum that can deal with everything from a $76 unpaid invoice, to trouble over a $650,000 property settlement.

Read more [here]

Mediation With Joe Salama
Don’t know Joe? I don’t either, let’s get to know him together with a Q&A via the Examiner [here]

Air Canada Names Mediator
The federal government has assigned two mediators to oversee the talks between Air Canada and its lone dissenting union, the Air Canada Component of CUPE, which has so far refused to sign off on an extension of its current contract for fear it would lead to job losses.
All five of Air Canada’s unions have agreed to a tentative agreement for a 21-month moratorium on the airline’s pension-funding obligations this week, after its solvency deficit ballooned to $2.9-billion last year. But CUPE, which represents 6,700 Air Canada flight attendants, is the only one yet to agree to an extension of its current labour contract, which is set to expire at the end of June. CUPE says the concessions the airline is seeking would likely result in job losses.

Read more [here]

ADR News

May 14, 2009

Fiji Mediation Success Rate
SINCE the inception of the Mediation Service over 84 per cent disputes have been resolved through mediation.It was initially launched by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment and based on the above figure Fiji’s settlement rate better than some foreign countries.“Compared to other countries like Singapore, their mediation centre settlement rate is 75 percent and other countries are about 80 percent,” Taito Waqa, the ministries Permanent Secretary said in a statement yesterday.
Full story [here]

Six years of dispute resolution for Victorian commission
The Victorian Small Business Commissioner’s office is celebrating six years of dispute resolution and has just handled its 5500th case. The office has established an alternative dispute resolution service which has involved not just local small business but national franchises.
Full story [here]

Mediation Pedagogy Coneference at Harvard Law School
If this is the first time you are hearing about this, it is safe to say you will not be attending the conference which is a shame. Don’t worry though, I won’t be there either but I do have some collegues attending which hopefully will be giving me a full report upon return.

What is the conference all about? from the site:
The conference will bring together academics and professional trainers of mediation to discuss teaching the skills and concepts of mediation to a variety of professional and disciplinary audiences. Our goal is to question pedagogical assumptions, share our experiences, and learn from each other. While the conference is open to the public, it will be geared primarily toward those who teach mediation.
The PON has assembled a fantastic list of presenters including Lela Love, Steven J. Brams, Ran Kuttner, Bruce Patton, and Leonard L. Riskin among many others.
Read more [here]

Labor Party Wants Court Mediation To Handle Native Title Claims
The federal coalition won’t say if it will support changes to the native title system in the upper house, after Liberal senators raised concerns about giving the Federal Court more power.
A draft law passed the lower house on Thursday which would give the court a more central role in adjudicating native title claims, of which there is a backlog of about 500.
Labor wants the court to manage mediation with the aim of encouraging negotiated settlements rather than costly litigation.

Full Story [here]

Mediation Continues Over Weatherman’s Sacking
Mediation between sacked climate scientist Jim Salinger and the state science company which employed him failed to reach an agreement today, his lawyer said.
Dr Salinger was sacked from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) last month after more than 20 years service.
The high-profile scientist, whose work contributed to a Nobel prize, was reported to have been axed for ignoring a new Niwa policy against speaking publicly without prior approval…

…After the two sides met at a closed mediation session in Auckland today, Dr Salinger’s lawyer Alex Hope said that no agreement had been reached but negotiations would continue.
Full story [here]

News For 5.11.09

May 11, 2009

Panel recommends Harvard ombudsman to bridge police, campus ‘schism’
An independent committee recommended today that Harvard University create a public-safety ombudsman and take other steps to mend the at-times rocky relationship between the campus police force and the diverse community it patrols.
The committee, appointed by Harvard President Drew Faust in August after some black students and staff complained of racial profiling by the predominantly white police force, said in an 81-page report that more work needs to be done to create a welcoming, safe, and open environment for the Harvard community.
Full article [
here]

Government Considers Option for Civil Dispute Resolution
NSW, Australia- The New South Wales Government wants to make it easier to resolve civil neighbourhood disputes over issues like fences and noise.
Attorney-General John Hatzistergos says only a small number of civil disputes are decided by a judge, but people still spend a lot of time and money preparing for court.
He has released a discussion paper on the issue which suggests alternatives to resolving civil disputes, including free legal advice and mediation.
Submissions on the discussion paper close at the end of the month.
Note, this is the entire article, the link is [
here]

Program Readies Inmates ‘Reunions’
HAGERSTOWN, Md. A unique program geared to preparing prison inmates to reunite with their families and loved ones upon release has spread to Washington County.
Following models already in place at prisons in Baltimore and Jessup, Md., the Washington County Community Mediation Center started arranging “re-entry mediation” sessions for inmates at Maryland Correctional Training Center, a medium-security men’s prison south of Hagerstown, said Valerie Main, executive director of the Washington County center.
Full Article [here]

Voters Turn Down Mediator
ESSEX — Before humans first stepped onto windswept Conomo Point, it served as a natural divider between Essex Bay and Essex River; since the town of Essex took control of the land, it has had a similar effect on its residents.
Voters at Monday night’s annual Town Meeting were divided in ways other than numbers — 73 opposed, and 59 in favor — when asked if selectmen, along with the tenants of Conomo Point, should retain the services of a mediator to discuss the future of town-owned land north of Robbins Island Road.
Full article [here]

Mediators In Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

NICOSIA, May 6 (Xinhua) — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for a reinforced role for the Quartet in reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on a two-state basis.
In a message sent to an international meeting in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace held in Nicosia, the U.N. chief emphasized that the Quartet, which includes the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the U.N., remains, are firmly committed to the goal of a two-state solution.
…Tony Blair, the Quartet’s current special envoy, has said that the mediators will adopt a new strategic plan, while the U.S. President Barack Obama pushing for the establishment of a Palestinian state, has he met his Israeli counterpart Simon Peres in Washington.
Full article [
here]

The Brave New World of Disputes

April 27, 2009

A recent article written in the National Law Journal by Ian Meredith, Laura Atherton and Marcus M. Birch gives us a glance at potential massive disputes that will arise in the next two decades. The top three areas of possible conflict stem from the analysis of the National Intelligence Council’s 2008 report, “2025 Global Trends: A Transformed World. They are:

  1. Competition for carbon-based sources of energy. The NIC predicts that scarcity of carbon-based sources of energy and a desire for secure access to energy supplies will bring countries into conflict.
  2. Water. Activities by countries close to a water source that reduce the water available to downstream countries through diversion, retention and pollution of water are increasing worldwide, and with them the number of disputes.
  3. Natural Resources of the seabed. there are potentially 430 maritime boundaries among 67 coastal countries, fewer than half are agreed upon and only a handful of those involve the outer continental shelf, disputes are inevitable.

As with today’s global economy situation, financial disputes also are listed a potential provider to international conflict. A worthy note is financial disputes are not just between international corporations, but also between nations. The recent Naftohaz Ukrainy and Gazprom dispute, both state run by the Ukraine and Russia respectively, serves as an example.

So how does ADR fit in on the international stage? Well, The EU Directive on Mediation in Civil and Commercial Matters, adopted in 2008, not only encourages mediation but also the enforcement of agreements reached there as well.

The article adds that the international neutral community will face two challenges:

  1. The need for greater sophistication in the mechanisms deployed to stimulate settlement;
  2. The need for greater cultural sensitivity as mediation is used to address disputes between parties from different cultural traditions.

The issue of cultural sensitivity seems to be ‘popping’ up often. When attending the recent American Bar Association section on Dispute Resolution’s Spring Conference in New York City, there were numerous sessions dedicated to the issue of mediating internationally and the issue of cultural differences.

Read the entire article [here].

Negotiating Justice: A guide for Mediators

April 22, 2009

Guide for Global Mediators

This gem of a guide/report is written by Priscilla Hayner, Director of the ICTJ Program on Peace and Justice and part of the HD Centre’s “Negotiating Justice: Strategies for tackling isues in peace processes”.

This report will serve the global mediator well. A major topic covered includes the very important, and ever increasing issue of when dealing with international peace talks, how to handle amesty dilemmas. The issue is brought up to show that it is not as simple being ‘peace versus justice’ but more complex. Also, framing it in such a way limits options (remember- expanding the pie).

Chapter one deals with framing the questions of justice and how it can be focused on two dinstinct goals. First being, “justice mesaures might seek accountabilty for abuses of the past, which may be done through both judicial and non-judicial means. Second, a justice policy may strengthen instituations or laws to prevent abuses in the future. Additionally, conflict can be approached by asking the following four questions:

  1. What has been the nature of the abuses in the conflict
  2. What demands for accountability may arise, and from whom?
  3. Who is well placed to offer policy options?
  4. What are the options for justice? And what should be done inside the peace negotiations to address these?

Chapter two goes onto discuss recent experiences of peace agreements and how the issue of justice is included. In regards to implementation, it is noted the more the steps are explicit and a timeline is included, the greater the chance of the measures being carried out. A list of criteria is given to consider when designing peace agreements.

The report then goes into the detailed process of who to include in the peace process and the various levels of involvement each party can play. This chapter, and the report as a whole, has a substantial impact on those in the global mediation field who read this because not only does it give structural tips on how to handle the broad spectrum on agreements, but it also includes specific, real examples of them being used in various settings around the globe.

The next two chapters deal with the issue of amnesty and and the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although the mediator is a neutral party to the talks, almost always the issue of amnesty will be raised, so it is imeperative to know the international laws regarding it, and recent situations involving this sensitive topic. The ICC can play a pivotal role in the direction of a peace agreement. An appropriate example is the recent arrest warrant it issued to Sudanese President Bashir on five counts of crimes against humanity and two counts of war crimes.

For only 24 pages, this report has a wealth of imformation. It conlcudes with a section on emerging lessons and best practices making this report a good addition to the stack of reference books for any global mediator.

Read the report [here]

America, Land of the International Mediator?

April 13, 2009

UN’s mediation capacity must be bolstered: Ban Ki-moon
United Nations (PTI): Describing United Nations’ role in peaceful settlement of disputes as its primary mission, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the world body’s mediation capacity must be bolstered.
“Too often in the past, mediators have been dispatched without the full benefit of specialised training and background information, giving United Nations efforts an ad hoc quality too dependent on trial and error,” Ban wrote in a report to the Security Council made public on Thursday.

Full (short) article [here]

America, Land of the International Mediators?
The following article refers to President Obama and his administrations shift in foreign policy compared to his predecessor.
“…This is not a major new policy – but it does seem like another small shift toward repositioning the U.S. as a credible mediator seeking to work simultaneously for the rights and best interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. Rarely has a U.S. president spoken so clearly about both Israelis and Palestinians needing to change their ways to achieve peace.”
Full article [here]

Australian Family Mediation Saves Government $
Forcing feuding parents to undergo mediation before entering the court system has saved the federal government millions of dollars, a new report reveals.Under changes to the Family Law Act introduced from mid-2007, mothers and fathers who want a parenting order from the court must first attend family dispute resolution meetings.
Full article [here]

Blair: Skepticism about peace after Netanyahu win
JERUSALEM (AP) — International mediator Tony Blair says there’s skepticism about the prospects for peace because of Israel’s new government.
Blair spoke Monday after meeting with Israel’s new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Blair said he believes Netanyahu understands that the only formula for peace is a Palestinian state next to Israel.
Netanyahu has pointedly not endorsed creation of a Palestinian state. Blair thought Netanyahu would come around “if the right context can be created for peace.”
Blair noted skepticism over Netanyahu’s election and said there must be time for the new governments in Israel and the U.S. to “settle down.”
Blair said “the only solution that will ever work” is two states living side by side in peace.


UN To Review Mediation Role in Fiji
Update: 3:08PM THE United Nations will review its decision to mediate the proposed President’s Political Dialogue Forum which was to chart a way forward for a return to parliamentary democracy.
Full brief article [here]

Parishes ask Vatican for mediation over closings
BOSTON (AP) — Worshippers in eight dioceses around the country have banded together in a last-ditch effort to ask the Vatican to instruct bishops to negotiate with them over the closures of their parishes and to stop them from “wrecking the Catholic Church in America.”
Full article [here]

African President Assassinated

March 2, 2009

African President Assassinated

In a set back to peace and stability not only in the tiny West African nation of Guinea-Bissau but to the continent as a whole, President Joao Bernardo Vieira was assassinated in his palace hours after a bomb blast killed his rival.

Currently it is unknown who is in charge of the nation. The United Nations and the African Union have yet to make a comment or response.

Note this is breaking news, so the links and stories provided below might not be as accurate when reading (updated 0800, New York City, USA time).

AP BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau – Renegade soldiers assassinated the president of Guinea-Bissau in his palace Monday, hours after a bomb blast killed his rival, but the military said that no coup was in progress in the fragile West African nation.
The military statement broadcast on state radio attributed President Joao Bernardo Vieira’s death to an “isolated” group of unidentified soldiers whom the military said it was now hunting down.

Full Story [here]

A brief history of the problems in Guinea-Bissau [here]

The International Herald Tribune’s article is [here]

“Guinea-Bissau is a former Portuguese colony in West Africa that is known as a transit point for South American cocaine shipments bound for Europe.”

Background information on Guinea-Bissau from the Guardian [here]

The tiny west African state of Guinea-Bissau won its independence from Portugal in 1974 after a guerrilla liberation campaign that was led by the charismatic Amilcar Cabral and supported by Cuba.
With a population of 1.6 million, it has had a post-colonial history of coups and military unrest, and now has a reputation as a staging post for Latin American cocaine shipments to Europe.

Is Civil War Better than Negotiation?

March 1, 2009

Is Civil War Better Than Negotiating?
Read the article [here]

“For history demonstrates that civil wars, particularly ethnic civil wars, end more durably when there is a decisive military victory.”

A nice sensational style way to start today’s blog, eh? Well, this quote is from the International Herald Tribune’s Bennett Ramberg. His piece is titled “Fight to the End” and it refers to how over history, in civil wars, actual fighting which results in one side clearly defeating the other is more sustaining that negotiating a truce.

Mr. Ramberg adds that the alternative to actual violence and fighting- “negotiated power sharing, ethnic autonomy or federalism – generally offer more hope than stability, as former combatants eventually become disenchanted with the new order and return to the gun.”

That is an interesting statement that grabbed my interest, but unfortunately the example then given I feel falls a bit flat since he then refers to a civil war from almost 200 years ago- our own American Civil War! Other examples are added, including Tibet and Chechnya. By the way, not to create an entirely seperate discussion but what happend in Tibet over 50 years ago I would not call a Civil War but more of an invasion.

For those of you who are statistical junkies, this one’s for you, “Statistical analysis of the dozens of civil wars between 1945 and 2004 shows that 77 percent ended in a decisive victory by one side, while 23 percent ended in negotiated accords. Four fifths of the decisive victories held; two-thirds of the negotiated agreements failed.”

Finally, the article concludes with a message to President Obama (doesn’t it seem like each day more and more people are offering their advice to the President in articles?), “The Obama administration should heed the lessons of history. In civil war, as in all war, events on the ground dictate outcomes – including opportunities for effective international mediation. Wishing that it were otherwise will not make it happen.”

I am a bit confused in the statement “events on the ground dictate outcomes”. Yes, events on the ground can dictate outcomes however the street does not flow only one way here, but rather in both directions. Negotiation/mediation can also determine the events on the ground in that a successful mediation could stop any ground events.

Additionally, allowing negotiation to take place many times in fact stops any ground events as a condition for the mediation to even begin. Admittedly many times it is agreed to be done on temporarily basis, but that in itself can be viewed as a success as that agreement, albeit done on a temporary basis, is a start to the foundation of accumulating yes’s.

What I mean by yes’s is that as the mediator, you want to get people to say yes more than no. It helps break down barriers and adds to an environment of collaboration- not confrontation (that’s what war is for, right?). Collaboration promotes the idea and vision of working together, not the “us” versus “them” mentality that can lead the parties back to the battle fields.

A core point I offer to the writer and readers of the article is that the whole idea of negotiation is to get away from the very idea of what the title says, “Fight to the End”. A mediator wants to remove the very idea that the mediation is an extension of the battlefield.

Negotiation might take longer, but is well worth the effort when looking for a ‘everyone lives and wins’ result in mediation compared to ‘we win, you die and lose’ in war, right?

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

February 23, 2009

Unrest in Caribbean Has Roots in Slavery Past

I read about this about a week ago and it stuck in my mind. So, when I saw it again on the homepage of Yahoo! News, I decided to write about it. An additional factor driving me to write about this is that as mediators and negotiators, we are always promoting ‘expanding the pie’. there are plenty of times I blog on ‘typical’ ADR and mediation news stories so why not expand the realm and mention this? Reading this story, there is a heap of built up anger, frustration, resentment and other emotions dating back over a century- yes a century, not years!

From the article:
POINTE-A-PITRE, Guadeloupe – Protests that have nearly shut down the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are not just about demands for lower prices and higher wages: For demonstrators they are no less than a battle against the vestiges of slavery.
Afro-Caribbean islanders — most of whose forbears toiled in the sugarcane fields under the yoke of slavery more than 160 years ago — not only resent France’s handling of the global economic crisis, they have long resented that slaveholders’ descendants control the economy on both islands.
They also suspect that businesses earn too high a profit on goods, most of which are imported.


…The protests are “not a call for war, but for dignity…”

…Several islanders blame the arrival of 450 French riot police for the violence that has erupted during protests — and say it shows how France treats the islands like colonies.
Full article [here]

Where can mediation or negotiation fit in? Have there been any type of talks between the haves and have-nots? Is the arrival of the riot police seen as instigating an already powder-keg in the making?

Admittedly, my knowledge of the situation is limited but one route towards a possible peaceful solution is using The Third Side Model and exploring options that promote cooperative negotiation.

The Third Side is a book and concept created by William Ury (for sale [here] and many other places) which says in conflicts, there are roles for everyone. They are broken down to ten:
Provider
Teacher
Bridge Builder
Mediator
Arbiter
Equalizer
Healer
Witness
Referee
Peacekeeper
read more on them [here]

The good sign already coming out is the protest leaders and the French Government are already negotiating.

“Protest leaders and government officials are still negotiating to lower the costs of housing, gasoline, water and electricity.”

Hopefully dialogue will continue towards a peaceful resolution.

Hillary Clinton: Currency Before Compassion?

February 21, 2009

Human Rights Second, Money First?
Is this the same direction that we thought the Obama Administration was going to head in? What happened to Conflict Resolution, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Mediation as well as Negotiation? For those who thought the USA planned on pressing China on human rights issues, newly appointed Secretary of State and former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said the following on her first to to Asia including China:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Amnesty International and a pro-Tibet group voiced shock Friday after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to let human rights concerns hinder cooperation with China.
Paying her first visit to Asia as the top US diplomat, Clinton said the United States would continue to press China on long-standing US concerns over human rights such as its rule over Tibet.
“But our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” Clinton told reporters in Seoul just before leaving for Beijing. [full AP story here]

I did not expect humans rights to necessarily be the only factor and topic of discussion when she arrives on her first visit but to start things off with this comment?

Very surprising and confusing. Add to that the latest reports [here] of the Chinese military cracking down on Tibetans protesting and it is easy to get the impression that China will not have to worry about any substantial concerns from America.

Is negotiation as well as conflict resolution only good for getting deals done on the world economy? I hope somehow there is more to this story then what has been reported so far.
Edit: I did some research of her past comments in regards to China, and more specifically the unrest in Lhasa, Tibet and other areas of Spring 2008.
From Students for a Free Tibet: (March 2008)
I am deeply concerned about the violent clashes that have erupted in Lhasa, Tibet. Based on the limited information available, there is an urgent need for all parties, and in particular the Chinese security forces, to exercise restraint, to demonstrate respect for human rights and to protect civilians from danger. I call on the Chinese government to prevent further escalation of this conflict and to urgently pursue resolution through peaceful means.
On April 7th, CNN reported this:
Sen. Hillary Clinton called on President Bush Monday to boycott the opening of this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to recent protests in Tibet; and to the Chinese government’s failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.
“These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China,” said Clinton.
President Obama had this to say on April 8th, 2008 (from ESPN)
“The Chinese government must take immediate steps to respect the dignity, security, human rights and religious freedom of the Tibetan people,” Obama said. “If they do not, there should be consequences.”