HC Deb 30 March 1977 vol 929 cc379-80
1. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise in the Security Council, as a threat to the peace of South-East Asia, the current large-scale slaughter in Cambodia.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Evan Luard)

No, Sir. The Government deplore the systematic violations of human rights which have occurred in Cambodia. But the Cambodian actions, abhorrent as they are, do not, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, constitute a threat to international peace.

Mr. Wall

Why these double standards? When some event takes place in South Africa or Rhodesia the United Nations rises in its wrath. Will not the Government reconsider this matter, practise what they preach and take some positive action about the genocide of these people?

Mr. Luard

With regard to Southern Africa, South Africa and Namibia, the Government have always contested that such situations represent a threat to peace. We are entirely consistent in our approach to these things. With regard to Cambodia, however much we may deplore the situation there, it is clear that it is primarily a domestic matter and, therefore, not a matter for the United Nations.

Mr. Alan Lee Williams

Will my hon. Friend consider approaching the Inter- national Red Cross to see whether it can become involved in the depressing situation in Cambodia?

Mr. Luard

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that one of the unhappy aspects of the situation in Cambodia is the difficulty that we have in obtaining reliable information about what is happening there. There would be very great value in the International Red Cross taking some action of the kind that my hon. Frend has suggested, but I cannot take responsibility for that.

Mr. Fell

Is Cambodia a member of the United Nations?

Mr. Luard


Mr. Fell


Mr. Tapsell

Does not the passivity of the international community in the face of an almost Hitlerian scale of slaughter in Cambodia call in question the Declaration of Human Rights and, indeed, the validity of the Nuremberg trials? Ought not the Government now to take an initiative on this matter in the United Nations?

Mr. Luard

I have already expressed my own and the Government's condemnation of the kind of activities that we have seen or heard about in Cambodia over the last year or so. If it were to be taken up in the United Nations, the main responsibility would be on the neighbouring countries that are mainly affected. So far, the United Nations has not decided to intervene in what is an internal question. If anything, it is a question for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and I would be glad to see that body discuss the matter.

Mr. Lawrence

Is the Minister saying that nothing can be done to raise the question of the slaughter of 1¼ million out of a population of 7 million people in Cambodia? Is there not something that the Government can do to raise the matter positively in one of the council chambers of the world?

Mr. Luard

I have mentioned one body that could be concerned with a matter of this kind—the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. I would welcome that commission discussing the matter.

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