HC Deb 06 July 1988 vol 136 c1060
18. Mr. Maxton

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made regarding the presence of foreign observers to monitor the impending plebiscite in Chile.

Mr. Eggar

We suggested to the Chilean authorities earlier this year that they might consider inviting foreign observers. The Chilean Government have since made it clear that, while foreigners may visit Chile at the time of the plebiscite, and be present during voting and scrutiny, they will not recognise such foreign visitors as having the status of "observers". I understand, however, that the democratic opposition parties will be able to appoint their own observers at polling stations. I am also aware that a number of hon. Members have received invitations to visit Chile at the time of the plebiscite, from the organisers of the Parliamentary Assembly for Democracy.

Mr. Maxton

In view of the appalling civil rights record of the Pinochet regime in Chile, surely the Minister must do much more to ensure that there are foreign observers to make sure that the plebiscite is carried out fairly by a Government whom the whole world distrusts on that issue?

Mr. Eggar

We have already asked the Chilean Government, who have given us their response. At the same time, they stated that foreign observers in art unofficial capacity will be welcome to attend the arrangements for the plebiscite. I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman wanted to go he could arrange an invitation.