Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100
TUESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2000
HAIN, MP, MR
100. You will write?
(Mr Hain) Yes.
Sir David Madel
101. Will we raise it with the Swedish Presidency
and get the policy redefined? I think it is important in view
of what has been said this morning.
(Mr Hain) I will write to you when I am properly informed
and answer those questions.
102. It is one of the biggest human rights things
you can have.
(Mr Hain) I think Tony Brenton may have something
(Mr Brenton) Would it be helpful for me to say this.
The former Yugoslavia Tribunal was established by a resolution
of the Security Council and, therefore, it binds all members of
the United Nations. It is that Tribunal which has issued the indictment
on Milosevic and we are all committed to supporting the actions
of that Tribunal. It is not a matter for the EU or anyone else.
(Mr Hain) It is a matter of law.
(Mr Brenton) It is a matter of international law.
103. In what circumstances can that resolution
be overridden, or at least set aside, if there are deemed to be
adequate domestic processes?
(Mr Brenton) My instinctive answer is it would require
a further resolution of the Security Council or withdrawal of
the indictment or action within the Tribunal.
Sir David Madel
104. Which France could propose as a Permanent
Member of the Security Council?
(Mr Brenton) Yesas the Minister has said we
will writebut I have not been aware of any proposal by
anyone to set the resolution aside. The international community
is firmly in support of the Tribunal in taking these actions.
105. Does the new regime recognise the Tribunal?
Milosevic never did. He is now making comments that he does not
recognise the Tribunal.
(Mr Hain) I think it is a fair point, but I think
Milosevic recognised virtually nothing by way of international
law or United Nations Security Council Resolution.
Mr Illsley: I just wondered whether any statement
had been made by Kostunica in relation to that, that he does not
106. Will you write to us on that general point?
(Mr Hain) I will. I am not aware of that statement,
but equally President Kostunica has made it clear that he wants
to recognise international law and bring Serbia within its framework.
Sir Peter Emery
107. I just wanted to return to a reply that
you gave to my colleague, John Maples. I cannot believe it is
all you meant to say but you actually said you do not like what
Mr Mugabe is doing. Surely we condemn absolutely what Mr Mugabe
is doing and we ought to be saying so loud and clear in the Commonwealth
because if we cannot speak in those terms in the Commonwealth
where we may have some influence, where the devil can we speak
in those terms?
(Mr Hain) I did not want to suggest that this was
just a matter of like or dislike. I am very happy to condemn the
108. Good, because you did say "we do not
(Mr Hain) Yes, but it was in the context of a very
complicated question about where Mugabe fitted in with the President
of China and
109. You are willing to condemn absolutely?
(Mr Hain) Well, I think, Sir Peter, to be perfectly
fair to be myself, I have been doing that consistently for most
of the past year.
110. That is enough.
(Mr Hain) Indeed, some people think that the criticisms
have been too condemnatory.
Sir Peter Emery: That is enough. Thank you very
111. I think President Mugabe has said some
rather strong things about you personally as well.
(Mr Hain) I think he has and some inaccurate things
112. Can I bring up two completely separate
issues. The first one is in relation to our opposition to the
death penalty internationally and in particular in relation to
the United States. The report actually mentions representations
made to George W Bush when he was Governor of Texas by the European
Parliament about the death penalty and, indeed, by the EU Presidency.
Did those representations have any effect whatsoever on him as
Governor of Texas and do you think he might listen a teeny bit
more now he is President of the United States?
(Mr Hain) I am not aware of them having any impact
on Texan practice and wait with some anticipation to see whether,
on assuming the Presidency, that might change.
113. I am tempted to ask whether you have got
any human rights agreements with the United States on that but
I had better leave that one. Has there been any impact then on
representations made to the United States about the execution
of minors and what representation or other action is the Government
planning for the future?
(Mr Hain) Of course, we have joined, Phyllis, our
EU partners on regular démarches over the last 18 months
with the US Administration both at State and Federal level and
we make those public. Also, we have raised specific cases, including
the execution of minors both in terms of federal executions and
there are some problems in the US judicial system in their respect.
This is something that we are on the case about. As on other matters
of diplomacy, including ones you have mentioned earlier in this
hearing, you cannot always achieve immediate success. Therefore,
it may look like a failure but actually you just keep trying to
114. The other issue I want to raise is actually
relating to this country and not the direct responsibility of
your Department but this Human Rights Report, of course, does
report across Government. Citizenship education is going to be
introduced by the Department for Education and Employment very
shortly. This might be my one success this morning. Could you
agree that in next year's report there will be a description of
how citizenship education is promoting human rights awareness
amongst UK pupils?
(Mr Hain) Yes.
115. Excellent. I shall build on that in future
(Mr Hain) Just ask me questions I can say yes to.
Dr Starkey: You could have said yes to some
of the others.
Sir John Stanley
116. Minister, starting on page 79 of the report
there is a section headed "Slavery and Bonded Labour".
I am glad to see the detail which you have given as to what the
British Government is doing to try to combat the evil of bonded
labour in both India and Nepal. However, I am struck by the fact
that the third country in which bonded labour is conspicuously
present is not mentioned, namely Pakistan. I should be grateful
if you could tell us why Pakistan is omitted? Is this for some
reason a no-go area between the British Government and the Government
of Pakistan? I do find this a most inexplicable omission from
(Mr Hain) I cannot myself account for the omission,
Chairman, butand this may be the explanationwe have
very close relations with the Governments of both Nepal and India.
We do not enjoy the same proximity diplomatically with Pakistan
and, therefore, we have been unable to raise bonded labour
117. You have been unable to?
(Mr Hain) No, as I say, we have been able to raise
that because of that diplomatic proximity as actively as we can.
In the case of Pakistan, we have obviously continued to urge on
the Pakistani authorities to implement fully its legislation abolishing
bonded labour and the Department for International Development
are funding a project to protect the rights of working children
by tackling child labour, in particular the football stitching
and carpet making industry and Sialkot. So it is not something
that we are silent upon. On the contrary, it is a matter with
our ambassador and in a number of ways we continue to raise this
with the Pakistanis. I do not quite know why Pakistan was not
mentioned there. I will have a look at that, certainly. Is there
(Dr Browne) They are illustrative, not exhaustive.
(Mr Hain) Illustrative, not exhaustive. Thank you
for giving me the opportunity.
118. I just put the point to you, Minster, as
there are three countries where this great human rights evil is
practised, you may agree that in this case the illustration should
be comprehensive and cover all three countries rather than just
two in future years?
(Mr Hain) I think I can say yes to that as well.
119. Thank you. The second point I would like
to ask you is this. Next year in June there is going to be the
ILO meeting at which this issue will certainly feature and, Minister,
can you tell us what the British Government will be trying to
achieve at the ILO meeting in June in terms of getting greater
international action, particularly in the three countries to which
I have referred, to try to eradicate this really gross evil in
the 21st century, this basic form of human slavery?
(Mr Hain) I agree with you, Sir John, and at that
meeting we will be taking forward that agenda. In fact, such has
been the strength of our commitment, and mine to this whole area,
that I received and had hearings on reports in the Foreign Office
on a "Children's Select Committee" of young people who
made strong recommendations on this and on a number of other issues
as a result of their own investigations internationally and their
contact with young people abroad as well.