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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:34 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Minister of State (Europe) 4:34 pm, 13th October 2008

I will come to Belarus later in my speech. I will deal with that point then, if I may.

As I said, the prospect of enlargement is a powerful incentive. Turkey is making progress. The death penalty has been abolished. Access to Kurdish language media has improved, including programming by the state broadcaster. Concerns over freedom of expression have started to be addressed by reform of the penal code. A zero-tolerance approach to torture has been adopted,. The number of women in the Turkish Parliament doubled in the 2007 elections.

Thanks to EU pressure, the victims of Srebrenica have finally seen Radovan Karadzic arrive in The Hague, with the UK at the forefront of those who called for progress on accession to be linked to co-operation with the international tribunal.

Of course challenges remain in the Balkans and in Turkey. In Turkey, the EU has made it clear that reforms are still needed to consolidate progress on basic freedoms such as freedom of expression as well as minority, ethnic and religious rights, but those issues will be addressed because those Governments know that there is a real prospect of EU membership.

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