HL Deb 03 June 1985 vol 464 c481
Lord Shinwell

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied with progress at the conference on human rights in Ottawa.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Young)

My Lords, the review of the implementation of CSCE human rights provisions undertaken by the Ottawa meeting has just ended. This was a worthwhile exercise which gave us the chance to reiterate our concern at the continued abuse of human rights in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and to call their representatives to account. The meeting has now moved on to discussion of new proposals to add to, or to refine, the existing provisions of the CSCE final act.

Lord Shinwell

My Lords, if that Answer means that the noble Baroness is not satisfied, I am not surprised. It follows the line of her statesmanlike speech on 23rd April, when many of my colleagues decided to give the Russians a chance to show what they could do. Now they have demonstrated what they cannot do and will not do. That is precisely what I predicted. I could put the usual question and ask what the Government are going to do about it; but what is the use? The Government can do nothing about it. They dare not do anything about it.

Indeed, the Russians have now decided to attack us for our failure to take advantage of the situation and to deal with human rights. That is what they are now doing. They have turned the tables on us. We have therefore to be very careful. We have to look around and to produce examples of how we deal with human rights in a civilised fashion in order to prevent other countries following the line of the Soviet Union.

Baroness Young

My Lords, I am not absolutely sure as to precisely the question that the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, wished to raise with me. I can assure him that the meeting has seen discussions on a wide range of issues and that these have been complemented by very useful informal contacts between the delegations in the margins of the meeting.

Back to