Friday, April 02, 2010


During yesterday I managed to speak to Universities UK, the UK Council for International Student Affairs and English UK about the way the Government held the 'consultation' on the changes to the Immigration Rules that affect students, on which I have a motion for debate next Tuesday.

Had a good conversation with Maurice on Skype in the evening.

This morning, had a visit from Juanda Djemal, Secretary-General of the Achehnese Civil Society Task Force (see above). The resolution of Acheh's political status was a model which deserves far wider coverage than it gets, and the reconstruction programme after the tsunami is making good progress. But I think the UK, and the EU, should consider what more can be done to help train young Achehnese in the skills they need both in effective local government and in agriculture and fishing, still the mainstays of the local economy.

Then, a visit from Shahriar Kabir, President, Forum for Secular Bangladesh, who I know well from a number of meetings both here and in Bangladesh. He was accompanied by Emir Bajramovic an activist from Bosnia, and my friend Sujit Sen. He has made a number of documentary films, and is particularly interested in the war crimes of 1971, the perpetrators of which are to be tried. We talked about the need to amend the War Crimes Act of 1973 to bring it into line with internationally agreed norms for war crimes legislation, and the proposals made in a report to the Parliamentary Human Rights Group by the International Bar Association. It would be a tragedy if after all these years, the credibility of the trials were to be undermined on grounds of nonconformity with natural justice.

JW and I had a game of ping pong this afternoon, the first since August 31 last year which left him the leading the series 129-120. Today I won 2-0 making it 129-122, showing that seven months out of action and a broken leg hasn't rendered me utterly decrepit!

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