HC Deb 10 March 1998 vol 308 c305
7. Helen Jones

What representations he has made to the Government of Mexico about human rights in Mexico. [31801]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the human rights situation in Mexico with the new Foreign Minister, Mrs. Green, on 12 February in Panama City. He made clear our concerns that those arrested in connection with the massacre in Chiapas should be brought to trial and that there should be no immunity for those with connections with municipal or state government. I discussed human rights issues with Mrs. Green's predecessor last November.

Helen Jones

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Does he agree that one of the best ways to protect human rights in Mexico is to support the growth of free and independent trade unions, which already receive support from the Trades Union Congress and other democratic unions? What plans does he have to assist trade unions in their development?

Mr. Lloyd

I agree with my hon. Friend. The development of a fair and democratic society in Mexico depends not only on the growth of proper, democratic political parties and a political system but the growth of civil society more generally. The trade union movement in Mexico is an important component—as it is in this country, certainly under this Government—in underwriting the freedoms of the people of Mexico. I met the Mexican trade unions when I visited Mexico just before Christmas and had long and interesting conversations with them about the future of democratic and free trade unions in that country.

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