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Chile

Volume 127: debated on Thursday 11 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 18 November 1987, Official Report, column 592, what assessment he has made of the extent to which the judicial system in Chile conforms with international accords on human rights; and if he will make a statement.

The answer given to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 18 November did not imply that in our opinion the Chilean judicial system conforms with international accords on human rights. We take every opportunity to make clear to the Chilean Government our view that their judicial system reflects serious shortcomings. We have also made clear our view that they should publish in their official Gazette their ratification of the international covenant on civil and political rights, so as to give full effect to that covenant in domestic courts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply of 18 November 1987, Official Report, column 593, what assessment he has made of the extent to which the forthcoming plebiscite in Chile represents a transition to democracy.

We remain concerned to see an early return to democracy in Chile. The Chilean people themselves will have the chance to decide who will be their future president when they go to the polls in the forthcoming plebiscite. We hope that the campaign and poll will be freely and fairly conducted, with full opposition access to the media.