Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 4th May 1988.

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Photo of Mr Geoffrey Howe Mr Geoffrey Howe , East Surrey 12:00 am, 4th May 1988

I agree that we must admire the generosity and steadfastness of the Pakistani Government in providing homes for the millions of refugees who fled the brutal war that resulted from the Soviet invasion.

I have, of course, seen the reports of the latest allegations by Amnesty International, and it must be said that they echo the reports of the United Nations special rapporteur in 1988. He portrayed a betrayal of basic human rights on a dramatic scale, with over 14,000 civilian deaths last year, 3,000 political prisoners admitted by the regime, and torture still being used in interrogations. The Soviet withdrawal is directed towards bringing an end to that. Plainly, that withdrawal must be followed by the best possible way of enabling the Afghan people—including the refugees—to exercise their right of self-determination and of establishing a Government acceptable to them all.