HC Deb 20 March 1985 vol 75 cc849-50
1. Mr. Robert C. Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will, in conjunction with other European Economic Community Ministers, make a protest to the Governments of Iran and Iraq concerning the torture of prisoners of war as highlighted by the United Nations report issued last month.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Richard Luce)

We share the view expressed in the United Nations report that the situation concerning the treatment of prisoners of war in Iran and Iraq gives cause for serious concern. When the United Nations has completed its examination of that report we shall consider what supplementary action' might be appropriate, either unilaterally or in conjunction with our partners in the Ten.

Mr. Brown

I thank the Minister for that reply. In view of the flare-up in the Gulf and the horrendous casualties on both sides, why do neither the British Government nor the international community make any great effort to bring an end to this dreadful war? Why has the Minister not sought a meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations, and why has he not imposed a ban on the sale of arms to both Iraq and Iran?

Mr. Luce

I assure the hon. Gentleman that we view the recent developments in the Iran-Iraq war as extremely serious. The hon. Gentleman may realise that on 15 March the President of the Security Council issued a statement appealing for an end of the hostilities and for a resumption of the agreement of last June that there should be no attacks on the civilian populations of either side. We strongly support and endorse that. Within the European Community, we have made strong representations to both the Iranian and Iraqi Governments in support of that statement. We shall go on working with our friends in the Community and elsewhere to make special efforts towards peace.

Mr. Marlow

In view of the reports by the International Commission of Jurists of the torturing of prisoners in Fara'a, including cigarette burning, beatings and hoodings, by the Israelis, will my hon. Friend take up this issue?

Mr. Luce

I take note of my hon. Friend's comment, but the question is about prisoners of war in the conflict between Iraq and Iran. The United Nations report is still being studied and examined. When conclusions have been reached, we shall do all that we can to see that they are implemented.