HC Deb 21 April 1999 vol 329 c568W
Mr. Maclean

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the report by the UN Observer Mission in Sierra Leone concerning alleged civil rights abuses by the Economic Community of West Africa States Monitoring Group; and what representations he has made on the report. [81242]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

We fully support the efforts made by ECOMOG to protect the civilian population of Sierra Leone from rebel atrocities. Nevertheless, we view with concern any reports of abuses by ECOMOG forces, including those reported by the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone. We have made our views clear on this to ECOMOG and to the Government of Sierra Leone. The abuses described by UNOMSIL, and any other such reports, should be fully investigated.

We welcome the Nigerian Government's public commitment that ECOMOG will continue to operate in accordance with international humanitarian law and that it will take disciplinary measures against any offenders.

On 13 April 1999, Official Report, column 35, gave details of the further assistance which we are providing to support ECOMOG' s efforts to protect the people and the democratically elected Government of Sierra Leone. We have secured assurances from ECOMOG that this equipment will be used only in accordance with internationally acceptable human rights standards and humanitarian law. We have made it clear to ECOMOG that our support is conditional on ECOMOG and the Government of Sierra Leone respecting human rights.

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