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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 5:49 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Bruce George Bruce George Labour, Walsall South 5:49 pm, 13th October 2008

One would hope that as a result of the inexorable process of democratisation, the more the population are educated and the more—dare I say it?—bourgeois they become, the more they will not be prepared to acquiesce to a decision-making process emanating from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. One would hope, therefore, that the Chinese would reach a point that we and most, or at least many, other countries have reached. Russia has not reached that point, I am afraid, because its progress in the rather anarchic democracy of Yeltsin has been deleted. We may not quite be returning to the Soviet era, but we are certainly heading towards an era in which sovereign democracy is as plausible a concept of democracy as were the people's democracies in eastern and central Europe from the 1940s onwards.

I should like to say that the United Nations is doing a good job. Other international organisations are certainly doing a good job—including the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, although the Russians can veto any decision made in the OSCE. I am not the foremost devotee of the European Union system, but I have been back and forth quite frequently exploring the EU's role in promoting democracy, and it is formidable. We should note how well it functions in observing elections. It is now probably almost as good as the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which I consider to be the jewel in the OSCE's crown and to represent the gold standard for election observation.