Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis. As he said, it is the few who create an enormous problem for the country in which they seek refuge—so they say—and for the country from which they come, whose way of life they seek to change by violent non-democratic means. We wish to encourage and help to achieve the democratic path in those countries. While we shall give refuge to people who are threatened by their former governments, far too many people come here and abuse that. They let down the real dissidents and natural opposers of the government with which they cannot have a dialogue at the present time.

All that having been said, in recent years Bahrain has made considerable progress on human rights. We acknowledge and welcome that process but there is still room for improvement, as I said on 15th May. It is true that the recent disturbances did not help and that the cases cited by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, in his letters and in today's debate give us real cause for worry. As I have said to him, we are taking those up but, unlike some other countries, Bahrain is showing a genuine willingness to make improvements and to listen. We intend to be, as good friends, a spur to better human rights and to a better life for the people of Bahrain. We also intend to encourage the promotion of sensible and fair laws, which is what every Member of your Lordships' House would want.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page