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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of Mike Gapes Mike Gapes Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 6:44 pm, 13th October 2008

I do not think that that is possible; one thing that we discovered in last week's Security Council discussions was that 70 per cent. of its agenda is dominated by discussions of Africa. The issues discussed include: the crisis in Sudan; Somalia, which is a failed state, with terrible consequences for the region; Zimbabwe; the Congo; poverty; HIV/AIDS; and malaria. So many issues have an impact, particularly on sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, there is the question of what happens in north Africa and in the Arab world. Many African countries are Arab countries, and that has an enormous impact not only on potential migration resulting from climate change, but on radicalism, extremism and terrorism. There is a huge agenda, but there is also an irony in respect of the African countries, many of which have weak Governments and need the kind of excellent assistance that is given by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend Hugh Bayley, who succeeded me as the chair of the board and is now passing on the baton to somebody else after three years. I know how hard he has worked to build up the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and make it such an effective organisation in a number of countries, and he will be missed.

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