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Column 1154of the monitors will be easier in conditions of peace, which is what their presence was designed for, than it would be if a bush war were raging.
Only when the withdrawal process has operated properly in Namibia can the United Nations special representative and the
Administrator-General carry out their original tasks as set out in the United Nations plan. They will then be able to decide on the repeal of discriminatory legislation, which is vital, and on an agreed electoral system. It is crucial that there should be no more breaches of the United Nations plan by anyone. We will be monitoring implementation very closely and giving our full support to the United Nations. We also hope to work closely with other missions on the ground. The front-line states have a particular role to play and we welcome their decision to establish an office in Windhoek and will be working with them.
The hon. Member for Brent, South raised three other general points of genuine concern. On the first, refugee reception is a priority and we are anxious that it should go smoothly. I have already mentioned the £500,000 for UNHCR and we shall look into what the hon. Gentleman said about the RRR committee. We urge all the parties involved to agree to a system to assist the return of refugees efficiently and humanely.
The hon. Member for Brent, South also referred to the importance of political prisoners being freed. I agree. Political prisoners on both sides must be freed. Let us not forget that SWAPO has admitted holding over 100 political prisoners in Angola. We are concerned not only about those who have been prisoners of the South Africans ; we look to SWAPO too to implement this important part of the agreement. On human rights, we understand that the United Nations is already planning to talk to human rights groups. We are concerned that the United Nations special representative should have access to information from a wide range of sources, including SWAPO, and we have already raised this point in the Security Council. I am confident that the United Nations will have thorough discussions to meet all the concerns that the hon. Member for Brent, South mentioned and that others, including myself, will mention.
The hon. Member for Brent, South was in Namibia during the first days of the process. In the next seven months, there is a three-month period for the repeal of discriminatory legislation and for agreement on the electoral system. A four-month election campaign will start at the end of June. Under the agreed plan, the South Africans were under no obligation to negotiate on the legislation or on the electoral system before 1 April. However, that must happen now and those are the things that we want the Administrator- General and the special representative to get on with.
We have been giving aid to Namibia since 1976 and we shall be giving further aid. We hope that as peace is established, we shall be able to give further economic assistance both bilaterally and through the European Community.
We shall be watching most carefully to see that there is maximum freedom of information during the electoral process and minimum intimidation. We must be realistic. It is impossible to rule out all intimidation and I think that the hon. Member for Brent, South accepts that. We know that there will be problems and that there will have to be maximum restraint. However, the first priority must be for
Column 1155us and all other nations that want peace in Namibia to support the authority of the United Nations and help it to get on with its job. Yes, we want to put an end to violence and intimidation and we want to make sure that the political parties can put their case over. I spoke only this morning about the media, and especially the radio, becoming involved in the process.
It is true that the process started badly--indeed, it started very badly with the insurgency from the north--but provided that the Mount Etjo decision and agreement is speedily and completely implemented, I believe that the process of peace will not only be put on the track but kept on the track. It goes without saying that a successful move
Column 1156to independence is vital for Namibians of all parties and all ages, from the Oshikati boy to the oldest Namibian who wants to see his country free.
However, I believe that the implications go even wider than that. A successful transition to independence for Namibia will have a major impact on the prospects of peace in Angola and on the stability of the region as a whole--
The motion having been made at Ten o'clock and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Speaker-- adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.
Adjourned at half past Ten o'clock.
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