Thursday, October 14, 2010

The week


Press conference on the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, evidenced by reports from the Bar Human Rights Committee, the Islamic Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights ( Speakers included my colleague in the Lords, Baroness Falkner, who had chaired the August 5 seminar after which participants returning to Bahrain were arrested as they got off the plane.

In the afternoon, joined in a discussion in the House on detention of children. The LibDems had the ending of this practice in our manifesto, but in spite of repeated undertakings by our Leader Nick Clegg, it still hasn't happened. I'm sure the promises are genuine, but its wrong for the Government to make the excuse that they're looking for alternatives. Only a few children are being detained now, so they found workable solutions for nearly all.


Meeting of the Burma All-Party Group; discussion with the Thai Children's Trust, which provides services in the camps on the Thai-Burma border, and in the evening, a press conference to launch the report of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group on their second mission to Pakistan to investigate the human rights violations against Ahmadiyya Muslims. The delegates had worked hard for 9 days covering all the major cities of Pakistan, and their report should be influential. See photo below.

People are waking up to the fact that the extremists are also active in this country spreading their message of hatred and intolerance. Some of their propaganda clearly breaks the law, and specifically it could be prosecuted under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.


Morning, meeting of Subcommittee F of the EU Select Committee, mainly taken up by hearing of evidence from James Brokenshire, Minister for Crime Prevention at the Home Office, for our inquiry into implementation of the Stockholm Programme, see Afternoon, meeting of the All-Party Gypsy and Travellers Group, which I chaired. I had a fleeting contact with Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, an old friend who leads the Kashmiris in the US, who was having tea with Lord Ahmed. Then to the meeting of the Chagos Islands All-Party Group, chaired by Jeremy Corbyn. These All-Party Groups do useful work only when they have an effective coordinator, and the Chagos Group has David Snoxell, former diplomat, who I recruited when the Group was being formed. Jeremy is also an effective chairman, and the two of them make a formidable combination.


Visit to the Vascular Laboratory at King's, to make sure my artificial aorta wasn't leaking, then to he House to speak in the debate on human trafficking. Everyone who spoke (except the Minister of course) said the Government was wrong to opt out of the EU Directive on Trafficking. Then at 15.39 to the Department of Education for a meeting with Nick Gibb MP on education of Gypsies and Travellers, with representatives of the Advisory Council on the Education of Gypsies and Travellers (ACERT) and the National Association of Traveller teachers. We had been offered half an hour, but it stretched to over an hour and a quarter, and the Minister was particularly interested to hear what we had to say about how to deal with under-achievement. I had to leave at 16.45, to get to a meeting with Andrew Stunell MP on the CLG policy for Gypsies and Travellers, only to find that he was stuck in traffic in Holborn,

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