Belarus

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 19th July 2011.

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Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford 11:30 am, 19th July 2011

What recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on the human rights situation in Belarus.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

I regularly discuss with my international counterparts the abuse of human rights by the regime in Belarus. I most recently did so with the Russian deputy Foreign Minister the week before last.

Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford

I thank the Minister for his reply. He will be aware that there has been very little progress in Belarus, with the Lukashenko regime continuing to arrest people who peacefully protest against the Government there. Given the regime’s blatant disregard for calls by international partners such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and others to improve civil liberties in Belarus, does my right hon. Friend not think it time for the UK Government to take an international lead and call for further sanctions against the regime?

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

I think that we should use every means possible to persuade the regime in Minsk to cease its persistent and systematic abuse of human rights. It is important to try to do that in a way that does not make even more wretched the lives of the ordinary people of Belarus. We are among those in the European Union who are pushing for a rigorous further examination of sanctions that might be levied to achieve the outcome that both my hon. Friend and I want.