Author Archives: Eric Avebury

Lord Eric Avebury writes…Polio and Terrorism

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, set up by the World Health Organisation (WHO),has reduced the number paralysed by polio from 350,000 in 1988 to 405 in 2013, and the number of countries where the disease is endemic has been cut from 125 to just 3 –Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. But progress has come to a grinding halt, with Pakistan reporting 174 new cases so far this year out of 193 worldwide.

The WHO says there is a high risk that this highly infectious disease will spread to other parts of the world, paralysing many of its victims.

Three quarters of all cases are reported from two lawless areas of Pakistan, Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP) and the misleadingly named Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In these provinces terrorists call the shots, intimidating and murdering those who don’t agree with their fundamentalist brand of Islam.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Eric Avebury writes…Society cannot afford to scrap the alcohol duty escalator

Alcohol and Ulcerative ColitisLast week’s Budget saw the Chancellor renege on the Government’s commitment to tackle the problem of cheap alcohol by scrapping the alcohol duty escalator. This move is a step that society simply cannot afford; not only will these duty cuts result in a shortfall of £290 million to the Exchequer when Osborne admits we are still going to be in deficit until 2018, but with the cost of alcohol harm in the UK exceeding £25 billion each year, our public services – particularly the NHS – can’t cope …

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Lord (Eric) Avebury writes…Pakistan’s Army stands firm against the Taliban

The Pakistan Army’s Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) has condemned Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Chief Syed Munawar Hassan’s statement in which he called former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Hakimullah Mehsud a martyr.

In fact, Mehsud was a mass murderer, motivated by implacable religious hatred, and his killing by a US drone on November 1 was fully deserved. Under his leadership the TTP slaughtered Pakistani soldiers and civilians, men women and children indiscriminately. He targeted Shia Muslims, of whom 700 have been killed so far this year.

The objective of the TTP is to overthrow the state of Pakistan and to replace it with …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments

Bahrain’s Day of Reckoning August 14, 2013

BCHRAugust 14 has been designated by the youth of Bahrain as Tamarrud Day, the day of rebellion. They see the 42 years that have elapsed since the country gained its independence as a history of violent repression, littered with false promises of reform, the latest example of which is the so-called national dialogue.

After several months that process has achieved zero results though from the regime’s point of view it distracts attention from the continued imprisonment of the ‘Bahrain 13’, political leaders and human rights activists imprisoned for thoughtcrime.

Those men were tried …

Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Comments

Lord Avebury: Caste adrift

The Government acknowledge that Caste discrimination in the UK is a fact. But they were not convinced that legislation against it was necessary until April, when they agreed reluctantly to make caste a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act. They appeared to be converted after suffering two defeats on the issue in the Lords and running out of time to complete their  programme for the session that was about to end.

But since then, Equality Minister Helen Grant has said plainly that she doesn’t agree with the proposal, defying the Cabinet Office Code which says that once a decision is made, …

Posted in News and Op-eds | 9 Comments

Eric Avebury writes… Light on the horizon for some gay asylum seekers

In 1995 our immigration law was amended so that asylum applicants from countries that were designated as ‘safe’ no longer had a right to appeal against refusal unless their case was ‘certified’ by the Secretary of State. With a Border Agency prone to error, a risk arose that people with good cases might be unjustly be detained, speeded through a truncated process and deported.

Even the Home Office recognised that in some designated countries, there was endemic persecution of women. In 2005 an Order was made adding some countries to the list of those deemed safe, but for men only. …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 3 Comments

Eric Avebury writes … Let’s outlaw caste discrimination

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – Lords Amendment 37

Ping Pong stage, April 16, 2013

On March 4, the House of Lords voted by a majority of 103 for a cross-party amendment to make caste a protected characteristic under equality law (via a New Clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill). This is a conscience matter and I hope all LibDem MPs will support the Lords’ New Clause, as part of our commitment to the principles of liberalism.

Peers were persuaded by a report commissioned by the Government during the passage of the Equality Act 2010. It confirms that caste discrimination is …

Posted in News | Tagged , , and | 6 Comments
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