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Africa

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:36 pm on 30th March 2009.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Conservative, Buckingham 8:36 pm, 30th March 2009

I wish I knew for certain, but I suppose that I feel, in concert with my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury, that if the responsibility to protect as a doctrine were accorded the status in the international community that it properly warrants, there might follow a diminution in the number and severity of egregious domestic human rights abuses that take place. Now, I do not say that that would broker a lasting peace agreement and its retention for years to come, but the way in which the bestial oppressors in Khartoum treat with abject contempt the doctrine that the international community sombrely proclaimed only four years ago shakes and horrifies me.

Even on a small scale, it would be useful if we could up the ante multilaterally, perhaps through a joint visit by the humanitarian boss John Holmes and Ban Ki-moon to the region to see for themselves the scale of the difficulties. That would at least send a message to Khartoum that the issue will not go off the radar, that it is not being relegated and that we do not intend the regime to be able to continue to act with impunity.

Mr. Clarke, who did indeed refer to Darfur, and dazzled me with his usual display of knowledge and eloquence, causes me now to want to focus on the violence in Darfur because that is the background to the issue.

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