Thursday, December 18, 2008

Short week

Monday, Lyulph came to lunch at the House. He's been working just over the road. On the afternoon there was a statement on Pakistan, which inclused a reference to the 'causes of radicalisation'. I asked what could be done about the large sums of money from the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, to fundamentalist mullahs inciting people to religious hatred, which the Leader of the House sidestepped.

Tuesday, the inaugural meeting of the Chagos Islands All-Party Group, at which I was elected one of the vice-chairs. There was a good attendance, and afterwards I filed the registraion forms, which have beenaccepted, so we're up and running. It was agreed that following the split decision against the Islanders by the Judicial Committee, it was now up to Parliament to see that a solution is found to the islanders' eviction from their homeland when Britain handed the territory over to the US as a military base.

Wednesday, my first meeting of the EU Justice & Home Affairs Subcommittee, to which I'm returning after 18 months' absence. The Committee is doing a short inquiry into an EU 'Civil Protection Mechanism' to promote cooperation in dealing with majore disasters, natural and man-made, then a longer one on money laundering. My old friend Nasim Bajwa came to lunch, and we discussed the current situation in Pakistan. At question time, I asked a supplementary on Caroline Cox's question on the mayhem in Jos, Nigeria, where more than 1,000 people were killed in a post-election rampage - a repeat of similar events in 2001 that were the subject of a judicial inquiry, but no report was ever published. In the afternoon, attended the All-Party Bangladesh Group AGM, where there was a useful dialogue with the Minister, Lord Malloch-Brown.

Thursday, an appointment at King's urology clinic first thing for a urine flow rate test, then chaired a successful and well-attended seminar on Bahrain in the Moses Room. We had three TV companies present - BBC Arabic service, Al-Aalam, and al-Jezira. Lunch, with my friend Benyamin Tsedaka of the Samaritans (the original ones, not the charity). They have good relations with both Israelis and Palestinians, and do a lot to promote peace and reconciliation between the two peoples. In the afternoon, a meeting with Nasser al-Anezy of the Kuwait Community Association on the intractable problem of Kuwait's denial of citizenship to its Bidoon inhabitants. The Bidoon - an Arabic term meaning 'without' - are severely disadvantaged, and a few hundred have claimed asylum here.

Today, Parliament rose for the Christmas recess until January 12. Its good to have a chance to catch up on the paperwork.

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