6. To ask the Scottish Government what support it can provide to people in those areas of the middle east and Africa that are experiencing civil unrest. (S3O-13277)
The Scottish Government supports the right to free speech, to peaceful protest and of people to choose their own Government. We are keeping the situation across the region under review and stand ready to help where we can. That approach was demonstrated in relation to Libya when we worked closely with the United Kingdom authorities to assist Scots who were trapped in the country.
I will also write to the Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, adding our voice to the United Nations call for access for humanitarian agencies to areas in Libya that are affected by violence.
Will the minister join me in condemning Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime in Zimbabwe, which arrested, detained and abused 45 people simply for watching and discussing the Egyptian revolution? Six of them remain in jail charged with treason and facing the death penalty. Some of their friends are in the gallery, and I know how much it would mean to them to hear the Government condemn those arrests and the horrific and brutal way in which Mugabe ensures that no Zimbabwean dares to do as Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans are doing in peacefully campaigning for the most basic of rights—democracy.
The Government has already expressed its support for the international community’s condemnation of, and action against, Colonel Gaddafi. If Robert Mugabe is offering support to him, that only serves to strengthen the concerns that the Government has previously expressed about the situation in Zimbabwe.
There is no legitimacy in ruling a country—whether Zimbabwe or Libya—through fear, intimidation and force.