Gulf States: Human Rights Abuses - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:46 pm on 24 November 2022.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat 4:46, 24 November 2022

I thank the Minister; I know we had a big of argy-bargy at Oral Questions. He has clearly had a bit of a lonely job this afternoon in answering many questions. It is important to say to him that it is not his personal integrity that is ever in question: it is the effectiveness of government policy on the engagement that has been had to improve human rights which we question. I also thank the House of Lords Library for an excellent briefing, and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, which I think has given many noble Lords a briefing. I also thank particularly the three brave members of the public who are attending who have, or have parents who have, been detained or tortured in Bahrain.

I particularly thank all speakers, who in one way or another have all said the same thing: we are better than this as a nation when it comes to human rights in the Gulf. We are better than spending UK taxpayers’ money on World Cup preparations that have ended up with homophobic policing and our values not being ingrained or helping to improve LGBT and human rights issues in Qatar. If government policy does not change, I think we will be on the wrong side of history. It is not in our long-term interests as a nation to continue in this way. Engagement for a purpose, yes, but when most independent observers say that things are not improving in the GCC with regard to human rights, and if all that we are left with is a meaningless moral vacuum of a free trade agreement that is not using our soft and hard power for improvement of human rights here and abroad, the Government will have failed.

Motion agreed.