HC Deb 13 April 1983 vol 40 c794
11. Mr. Greville Janner

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the discussions at the European Security Conference in Madrid to be concluded.

Mr. Hurd

The conference resumes on 19 April. We hope that agreement on a substantial and balanced concluding document will be reached during the forthcoming session. But we are not there yet.

Mr. Janner

Does the Minister's hope extend to the Soviet Union agreeing to comply with its obligations under the final act of the Helsinki agreement and allowing those thousands of its Jewish citizens who are seeking to leave to do so in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to let out of prisons and slave camps people such as Anatoly Shcharansky?

Mr. Hurd

One of the reasons why agreement on a concluding document has not been reached is that we are not satisfied with the human rights performance of the Soviet Union. This applies in particular to the hon. and learned Gentleman's point. We are deeply concerned about the reduction in Jewish emigration, which fell to around 2,600 in 1982, compared to 51,000 in 1979.

Sir Bernard Braine

Bearing in mind that the Soviet Union and its satellites have repeatedly violated both the letter and the spirit of the Helsinki accord, that gross violations of human rights continue, and that those heroic souls who have attempted to monitor those violations in their own countries have been thrown into prison, why do we continue with these farcical discussions?

Mr. Hurd

We continue them because it is the Helsinki process that gives us the right to make representations in these matters. Without the Helsinki final act and the continuing procedures our position would be much less strong. Therefore it is worth while trying to see—we have not yet succeeded—whether we can agree a document at the end of this conference which would represent an advance in human rights, to which my hon. Friend is rightly devoted, and to achieve a proper balance through all the baskets of the Helsinki final act.

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