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Lord Avebury: My Lords, does the noble Baroness recall that the Budapest Declaration stated that armed forces will take due care to avoid injury to civilians and their property, and that they will not limit the peaceful and lawful exercise of their human and civil rights by persons, nor deprive them of their cultural or linguistic identity? Is not the fact that 2 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes in the south-east of Turkey, and something like 2,000 villages and hamlets have been demolished, a large violation of the Budapest Declaration? In the case of Chechnya, the OSCE undertook two missions to the territory and subsequently stationed a permanent mission in Grozny. Does the noble Baroness therefore consider that a mission to the south-east of Turkey is justified, and that a permanent mission should be stationed in the capital of Diyarbakir?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I understand exactly what is in the Budapest Declaration. I have it here and read it again this morning. On the noble Lord's point, as I said in my initial reply, we understand that there are major problems. However, through the OSCE Permanent Council there is a multilateral forum in which we wish Turkey to continue to participate.

The noble Lord is also right that the chairman-in-office, a Hungarian by birth, has done excellent work on Chechnya. Obviously, he exercised a little political judgment. That work is now also continuing for Turkey, and I am delighted that the Turks will receive a visit by the OSCE parliamentary assembly delegation next month. I am certain that we shall hear a great deal more of it because the work is being carried out thoroughly by chairman Kovacs.

Lord Archer of Sandwell: My Lords, will the noble Baroness confirm that membership of the CSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union all entail respect for the rule of law? Whatever else that may require, it is inconsistent with persecuting lawyers simply because they appear for clients of whom the government disapprove. Will Her Majesty's Government make it clear

1 May 1995 : Column 1206

to Turkey that it will not be acceptable as a full member of the European community of nations until it discontinues that practice?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, the answer to the noble and learned Lord's first question is yes. We have taken every opportunity to make known to the Turkish Government our anxiety over their human rights performance overall. We have emphasised time and time again the need for improvement. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has reiterated its deep concern about human rights in Turkey. It has called for Turkey to bring its constitutional laws into line with the Council of Europe's standards. We know full well that the European Parliament will not agree to various proposals until Turkey puts its house in order. Therefore, all those bodies are working on the subject.

However, we should always remember one point: the closer Turkey is to western institutions, the better locus we have to put across our anxiety on human rights and the rule of law, and the more influence we can bring to bear. That is most important. Of course, I agree with the noble and learned Lord about the persecution of lawyers—and not just persecution but even the killing of some lawyers.

Lord Bruce of Donington: My Lords, will the Minister agree that it is unfortunate that the Turkish Government are able to quote in their own defence the outrageous breach of the Budapest Declaration by President Yeltsin against Grozny which happened seven days later?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Indeed, my Lords; not for the first time I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Bruce.

Lord Rea: My Lords, is the noble Baroness aware that on the recent inaugural broadcast of the Kurdish satellite television programme in which I took part, I was able to hold a broadcast telephone conversation with Mr. Ocalan, the leader of the PKK, the so-called separatist terrorist organisation? He stated that he was willing to lay down his arms at any time if the Turkish Government would do the same, in order to start talks with an open agenda. Can we persuade the Turkish authorities—to use an old adage—that jaw-jaw is better than war-war?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I did not know that the noble Lord, Lord Rea, had appeared on that programme with Mr. Ocalan. I agree that if that were all that Mr. Ocalan said or did—that is, jaw-jaw rather than war-war—it would be better. However, the PKK leader has undoubtedly been involved in things that are a long way from jaw-jaw and much more like war-war. That is why there is objection to him. It is also why there is great anxiety that any broadcasts made with people like him should be made in the interests of restoring human rights and the rule of law and getting away from the terrible fighting that we have seen in Turkey.

Lord Stallard: My Lords, the noble Baroness mentioned the ideal approach being to bring the Turks into the western arena. Does she accept that since 1974 that has failed? What has resulted is an intransigence on the part of the Turkish authorities and the Turkish

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Government, preventing any real attempt at a solution. Is it not time that the United Kingdom Government changed their mind about their own approach?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Stallard. What I said some moments ago is important. We need to have Turkey within the sphere of western influence if we are to put across our concerns and if we are to achieve change. I have no doubt that the best approach to Turkey is dialogue. That dialogue needs to be carried on at all levels. It may not succeed and we may have grave problems with it; but I see a situation in Turkey with a government with a narrow power base where it is sometimes difficult to achieve the kind of democracy that we in this country are used to.

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I accept the desirability of trying to keep Turkey within the sphere of western influence, and of course the desirability of dialogue. Nevertheless, will the Minister agree that until Turkey complies with international law—which it has certainly failed to do with respect to its invasion of northern Iraq—and until it improves its human rights record, in particular regarding the Kurds, it is premature for Turkey to enter a customs union with other member countries of the European Union?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I have a great deal of sympathy with what the noble Baroness said. We know that the incursion into northern Iraq was aimed at destroying the PKK capability to mount attacks against Turkey. But there is no doubt that the non-combatants in the region should not have been affected. It seems that they certainly have been. However, troops are withdrawing and that is a substantial step in the right direction—not before time. We look to the Turks to abide by their undertaking to withdraw fully at the earliest opportunity. Until that happens, and until there is an improvement in the way in which the Turkish Government operate the rule of law, I do not believe that the customs union will come about. That is important for us and is certainly important in influencing that government's better relationships with their own people.

Baroness Gould of Potternewton: My Lords, the Minister quoted from the decision of the Council of Europe last week. Are the Government fully in accord with that decision and all the clauses of the resolution?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I would be foolish to say that the Government agreed with every single word; but certainly as to the general tenor of it, I can assure the noble Baroness that the answer is yes.

Road Traffic (New Drivers) Bill

3.8 p.m.

Brought from the Commons; read a first time, and to be printed.

Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Bill

Read a third time, and passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.

1 May 1995 : Column 1208

Mental Health (Patients in the Community) Bill [H.L.]

3.9 p.m.

Report received.

Clause 1 [After-care under supervision]:

Lord Jenkin of Roding moved Amendment No. 1:


Page 1, line 10, leave out ("is liable to be") and insert ("has been").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 1 and I believe it would be convenient to take with it Amendment No. 2, also in my name. Those and the several other amendments to which I have put my name on the Marshalled List have been put forward by the Federation of National Health Service Trusts, of which the trust of which I have the honour to be chairman is a member.

I begin by apologising to my noble friend on the Front Bench and to the House for tabling amendments so late in the day. I am warmly in support of this piece of legislation and had every confidence in my noble friend's ability to steer it through the House. It did not seem that it required any assistance from me in the earlier stages.

I approach the Bill from the point of view of those who will have to operate the new provisions in Forest Health Care Trust. I insisted that the Christopher Clunis report should be read by every single member of the staff who had anything to do with the care of mentally ill patients, whether in hospital or in the community. There is no doubt that many of the lessons from that report have been learnt. Based on that case and a number of others, we have the provision for a supervised community care order which forms the heart of the Bill. Therefore I have no quarrel with the substance.

The amendments that I tabled last week have only one purpose; namely, to address what those who are out in the field and who have to operate the legislation see as difficulties, indeed anomalies, in the wording of the Bill. It is my hope that simpler and clearer wording will ensure that the responsibilities, in some cases quite heavy, imposed by the Bill on the statutory agencies and the individual professionals involved are more easily understood and therefore better fulfilled.

Like other noble Lords, I found the Notes on Clauses which the Government made available to the House extremely helpful. Perhaps I may draw the attention of the House to the first two paragraphs. The first, under the heading "Summary", states:


    "Clause 1 introduces eight new sections to follow section 25 of the Mental Health Act 1983 ... These provide a new legal framework for supervising the after-care in the community of certain patients"—

and I draw attention to the next few words—


    "who have previously been detained in hospital for treatment under the 1983 Act, and who are considered to need this form of supervision to help to ensure that they receive the necessary care and support".

Paragraph 2 states:


    "Clause 1 introduces into the 1983 Act a new concept of after-care under supervision to be available for people with a mental disorder who have left hospital after being detained under the 1983 Act".

I therefore find it very puzzling that, in referring to this matter at the outset, the Bill refers to patients who are,


    "liable to be detained in a hospital in pursuance of an application for admission for treatment".

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That is why the amendment that I have tabled reflects, I believe, more accurately the intention of the Bill; namely, it relates to patients who have been detained. Instead of having an "application" for admission, the Bill could simply refer to an "order" for treatment. For the life of me I cannot understand why one has to go into all this hypothetical business about dealing with patients who are liable to be detained.

It is clear, is it not, that the provisions of this Bill apply only to aftercare under supervision for those who have been detained. If that is the case, why should not Clause 1(1) of the Bill actually say so?


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