Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Saturday my cousin Dudi died at the age of 92, after spending quite a few years in nursing homes, steadily needing more care as time went by. She hated being dependent, and was lonely because she didn't make friends easily with the other residents. I felt guilty for not visiting her more often. It must be really hard to lose all your friends and relatives one by one, and to have very little in common with the people around you.

Tuesday morning, I chaired a seminar on the catastrophic deterioration of human rights in Bahrain. 23 leading human rights activists are in trial for a variety of nebulous offences, and all of them had to endure a period of solitary confinement during which they were tortured The judge dealing with the case refused the defendants' plea that the torture should be investigated first, on the grounds that false confessions had been extracted from them, and this was the only evidence for their 'crimes'. The defence lawyers then walked out, and the judge said he would appoint replacements, but the defendants said they wouldn't accept that proposal, which is contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Under the ICCPR, everyone is entitled to appoint a lawyer of his or he own choice. At question time, we had an exchange on the Chagos Islands, see The Government line is that they have been told by the Americans that any return of the inhabitants who were kicked out by the British to make room for a us military base would create unacceptable security problems. Before President Obama came into office, the FCO twice persuaded the Americans to put their objections in writing to help with the court case, but now we are supposed to believe that only a verbal reiteration of the previous administration's policy has been offered. Wikileaks published the desperate plea of the FCO for the Americans to put it in writing, and the fact that they haven't done so makes it look as though there would be no security concerns if the few Chagossians who would want to return lived on the outer islands, 140 miles from Diego Garcia.

Wednesday morning, EU Select Committee, at which evidence was taken from Robert Wainwright, Director of EUROPOL, in connection with our inquiry on the EU Internal Security Strategy. The five aims of the ISS are to disrupt international crime networks; to prevent terrorism and address radicalisation; to raise levels of security in cyberspace; to strengthen security through border management, and to increase Europe's resilience towards crises and disasters. The European Commission has submitted proposals to the Eiropeand Parliament and the Council for achieving those objectives, and it is that document with 41 proposed common actions, that is the subject of our inquiry.

Wednesday afternoon, a meeting of the All-Part Group on the Chagos Islands, chaired by Jeremy Corbyn MP.

Thursday morning, an appointment with my GP, Dr W, to make some adjustments in the medication I take for blood pressure.

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