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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 5:15 pm, 13th October 2008

My hon. Friend makes a good point. It is worth quoting the comments of Human Rights Watch, which begins by congratulating the Government:

"In the case of torture and counter terrorism, the report"— the Foreign Office report on human rights—

"explicitly elaborates and analyses one such dilemma. Human Rights Watch believes that it would be useful to extend this approach to other areas where respect for and promotion of human rights are somehow seen as being in conflict with UK interests, for example energy security, development, commercial relations and conflict resolution. Many of these dilemmas are real. But it is only by setting them out clearly that one can deal with them and devise strategies to align interests more closely with ethics."

I agree with those comments, and when I read them, I thought that they were a constructive criticism. I hope that the Government will accept them in that spirit and act accordingly.

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