Tag Archives: cameroon

Trade deals reveal Tory contempt for human rights and Parliamentary scrutiny

During the referendum, voters were promised Westminster would have greater power to scrutinise legislation. Liberal Democrats recently made valiant attempts to hold the government to account for its post-Brexit trade deals.

European Union era deals are being “rolled over” by the government. These recycled deals contain review mechanisms that can be triggered if parties breach human rights and democracy clauses. Yet, in the case of the Cameroon deal, those mechanisms were not triggered despite decades of election-rigging, corruption and more recent human rights abuses. What hope is there that the Conservatives will consider current atrocities as sufficient to suspend the rolled over deal? When Lib Dems asked why Parliament was allowed no scrutiny, they were told that MPs had a 14-minute debate in 2010. So much for post-Brexit sovereignty.

In addition, a new report by Global Rights Index finds that five of the 10 countries rated as the ‘worst in the world for workers’ have been given trade deals by Britain in the past two years. The UK-Australia deal has been widely condemned by environmentalists, animal welfare charities and farmers.

The debates initiated by Sarah Olney and Lord Purvis revealed the time warp in which the Foreign Office and Department for International Trade exist. The trade ministers, Graham Stewart MP and Lord Grimstone, gave a masterclass in arrogance and delusional 1950s thinking. They assume that foreign governments respectfully take notice when visiting British ministers raise human rights issues. But in the absence of the carrots and sticks of diplomatic persuasion, the UK’s pompous words have little effect.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

A Crisis in Cameroon Crying Out for a Lib Dem Solution

The central African nation of Cameroon is better known for football, but its bloody, under-reported conflict deserves the attention of Liberal Democrats. The rights of minorities to determine their future, and the need for a new constitutional settlement based on devolution or federalism are key issues. A Liberal International British Group webinar on April 19th explores the issues.

The former colonial powers, the UK and France, offer bland calls for the respect for international human rights law, but neither government will apply pressure on Cameroon to attend inclusive mediated peace talks

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Carmichael in Cameroon for two weeks of volunteering

AlistairCarmichaelLiberal Democrat Chief Whip swaps lurking in the shadows of Westminster for two weeks in Cameroon today.

As I write he’s in Terminal One at Heathrow waiting to catch a flight to Brussels and will land in the African country, which lies between Nigeria to the north, Equatorial Guinea to the South and the Central African Republic to the east.

Alistair is not heading to Cameroon for a holiday. He will be part of a VSO project, working for the Aide Legale Liberale, an organisation which aims to provide free legal representation for …

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