Tag Archives: human rights

Nick Clegg: No evidence that human rights laws undermine security

I wondered how long it would take for Theresa May to roll back on her always flimsy commitments to human rights. They didn’t even make it till polling day.

She said last night that she’s prepared to rescind human rights legislation as part of a counter terrorism review.

Nick Clegg criticised this approach on the Today programme, saying that there was no evidence that human rights laws had anything to do with the attacks. Listen here.

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LibLInk: Alex Cole-Hamilton: On selling our souls for a US trade deal

Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton is a vocal opponent of Donald Trump. He’s always had a massive interest in US politics. In 2008, he and his best friend Kevin Lang went out to Virginia to campaign for Barack Obama.

He’s written for the Scottish Lib Dems website to talk Trump and trade deals – specifically why we mustn’t allow our commitment to human rights to be diminished.

Many have watched in horror as the progressive legacy of Barrack Obama has been comprehensively devoured in the early days of Donald Trump’s post-truth presidency and with it, a cold awakening to a new kind

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LibLink: Sarah Olney: Theresa May’s visit to Turkey betrays our liberal values

Fresh from her meeting in Washington with a man who has extolled the effectiveness of torture, admitted sexually assaulting women and who thinks building walls between nations is a good idea, our Prime Minister heads today to meet the leader of a so-called democracy where human rights mean nothing and journalists are imprisoned.

Sarah Olney has written a blistering article in the Guardian, attacking the PM for betraying our liberal values instead of safeguarding our trading relationship with the democracies on our doorstep.

This tawdry tour shames Britain. This is a defining period on the international stage and we must consider to what extent this new course is safeguarding both our interests and values around the world.

In an age of “alternative facts”, there is no doubt about the realities of the Erdoğan regime. Even before last July’s failed coup, Erdoğan had begun systematically dismantling Turkey’s democratic institutions. Since the coup, he has embraced full-frontal authoritarianism. He is not only locking up journalists, but teachers, professors and policemen – all without due process. Not quite the outfit you’d have in mind for a regime described yesterday as an “indispensable partner” by Theresa May.

>Indeed, turn the clock back eight months and our now foreign secretary was slating the Turkish president. Yet Boris Johnson has fallen unusually silent – refusing to call Erdoğan out on his shocking crimes. There is a pattern here: ministers pursuing business deals on the international stage at odds with Britain’s best traditions and values.

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Liberal International’s African Reach

When Liberal International was founded in Oxford nearly 70 years ago it was very much a European affair. With the noble exception of Canada, Liberal parties and values were largely confined to northern Europe, but since then the picture has changed dramatically. As we in Britain lick our wounds from the double whammy of the Brexit vote and the triumph of Donald Trump in the United States let us take comfort from the fact that the Liberal family is growing worldwide. This was dramatically illustrated by the Liberal International (LI) Executive in Marrakesh, at which five new African parties – …

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LibLink: Mark Williams on happiness, which is still ground for punishment in Iran

 

Mark Williams has written an article for The Hill, the Washington based news source. Under the eye-catching headline “Happiness is still ground for punishment in Iran” Mark writes:

A couple of years ago, Western audiences were noticeably shocked at the news that several Iranian youths had been arrested for the “crime” of dancing together and posting a video of themselves celebrating life to the strains of an American pop song called “Happy.” It was one in a long series of vivid reminders of repression in Iran. But unfortunately it was one of only a few that have gained significant traction in the Western media. It left the European and American public with the right idea about the Islamic Republic, but also with a potentially incomplete picture of how serious and how pervasive the problem is.

He explains that the incident took place soon after the reportedly moderate Hassan Rouhani had taken over as President, and there was hope that things would change under his leadership.  But hopes were dashed.

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Rennie: Deal with Chinese company with bad human rights record would tarnish Scotland’s human rights reputation

Any contract signed with the China Rail Group CR3 will tarnish Scotland’s human rights record. So says Willie Rennie following the refusal of the First Minister to rule out such a contract with the controversial company.

Watch their exchange at First Minister’s Questions here:

Nicola’s bad-tempered response shows her defensiveness on this issue.

This week saw revelations in response to Parliamentary Questions by Willie and Freedom of Information requests that government officials tried on multiple occasions to remove reference to the China Railway Group from documents around the Memorandum of Understanding but the First Minister still signed the final agreement with them.

The FOI releases include a letter from the First Minister expressing “delight” that the specific projects presented had been well-received by the Chinese investors. This contradicts the Government’s assertion that specific projects were not on the table.

Answers to PQs from Willie show that the Scottish Government had not made any checks to find out that the China Railway Group had been blacklisted by the Norwegian state pension fund, or investigate the human rights concerns expressed by Amnesty International about their work in Africa.

And to compound the ill-advisedness of this process, apparently Brian Souter, SNP donor and campaigner against LGBT rights, had been mentioned as a potential investor.

It has now emerged that Sir Brian Souter, a high-profile SNP supporter and donor, was discussed as a possible investor in a deal potentially worth over £10bn from an early stage.

Willie says that the First Minister needs to decide whether to drop China Rail Group CR3 or drop Scottish values on human rights.

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Carmichael: Tories “hell-bent on unravelling the union”

Citing concerns raised by the Irish Justice Secretary to her Eurosceptic British counterpart, Michael Gove, Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem Home Affairs Secretary has accused the Government of being “hell-bent on unravelling the Union.”

The Irish Minister said that decoupling Northern Irish law and the European Convention on Human Rights could undermine the Good Friday Agreemment on which the peaceful settlement in Northern Ireland was based.

The Minister’s letter can be read here.

This also applies to the devolution settlements in Scotland and Wales.

Alistair said:

The devolved settlements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have the European convention hard-wired into them. This Tory government seems hell bent on unravelling the Union by their actions.

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