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Ethiopia

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criticism the United Kingdom's representative at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva made about the human rights record of the Government of Ethiopia.

My hon. Friend the Paliamentary Under-Secretary of State drew attention in his statement at the Commission on 18 February to the particular problem of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia. In a subsequent statement under the agenda item dealing with human rights violations in any part of the world, the United Kingdom representative again expressed our concern about the continued detention of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia, some of whom have been held without trial since 1974.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why Her Majesty's Government made no attempt to have Ethiopia included on the agenda of the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission recently convened in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.

In 1986 the United Kingdom supported a draft resolution on Ethiopia tabled at the Commission by the United States which would formally have put the situation in Ethiopia on the Commission's agenda for its 1987 session. This resolution was defeated on a procedural motion. We have continued to raise the matter of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia in our statements at the Commission.