HC Deb 29 April 1998 vol 311 c316
6. Mr. Oliver Letwin (West Dorset)

If she will make a statement on the democracy—building projects her Department has sponsored. [39064]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. George Foulkes)

It is clear that good and transparent governance is essential to achieving economic growth, which benefits poor people, and to achieving international poverty eradication targets. Since last May, we have committed more than £70 million in efforts to promote good governance.

Mr. Letwin

I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Will he tell the House his views and those of the Secretary of State on democracy and free speech in China?

Mr. Foulkes

We are of course in favour of democracy and free speech—in the Conservative party, in the Labour party and in all countries with which we have partnerships. When we have the opportunity, we clearly state to our interlocutors in China the importance of respect for human rights and free speech.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)

Is the Department doing anything about building democracy in Nigeria, where there is widespread abuse of human rights and lack of democracy, and General Abacha is running riot?

Mr. Foulkes

We have shown our solidarity with the oppressed people of Nigeria by working through local civilian organisations, non-governmental organisations and community-based groups—and not through the national Government. An election in which there is only one candidate is neither free nor fair: it is a farce.

Forward to