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Ussr

Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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34.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he received from Soviet human rights groups on his recent visit to Moscow.

My right hon. and learned Friend met a number of refuseniks and former prisoners of conscience during his visit and accepted representations from them. The Soviet authorities have been left in no doubt of our views on the human rights issues raised and the individual cases concerned.

38.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will be making representations to the Soviet Union about human rights in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

We regularly raise with the Soviet authorities the issue of human rights in the Soviet Union as a whole. Recent events in Armenia and Azerbaijan, particularly the violent clashes which have taken place, are clearly of major concern to the Soviet authorities. We are following closely their efforts to address grievances and defuse tensions in the area.

46.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will seek a further opportunity of raising with the Soviet Foreign Minister the plight of those long-term refuseniks such as Inna and Yuly Kosharovsky who are still waiting for exit visas.

Yuly Kosharovsky was among the refuseniks with whom my right hon. and learned Friend met during his recent visit to the Soviet Union. Inna and Yuly Kosharovsky are among the cases about which we have repeatedly expressed our concern to the Soviet authorities. We shall continue to take every possible opportunity to raise with them the plight of the refuseniks.

49.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes there have been in the Soviet Union, during the period of glasnost, in the numbers of dissidents obtaining exit visas.

During 1987 more than 8,000 Soviet Jews, 15,000 Germans and several thousand Armenians left the Soviet Union, a considerable increase over previous years. While we welcome these signs of greater freedom of movement, the fundamental change in Soviet policy towards freedom of emigration which we seek is still absent. We shall continue to press the Soviet authorities to respect the right to emigrate of all Soviet citizens who wish to do so.

54.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Soviet Union on the freedom of religion over the last year.

We regularly make representations to the Soviet Union on freedom of religion, both in bilateral contacts and at the CSCE review conference in Vienna. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pressed for greater freedom of religion during her talks in Moscow in March last year. My right hon. and learned Friend again raised this issue with the Soviet authorities during his recent visit to the Soviet Union.

60.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made by the Soviet Union, under pressure from Her Majesty's Government, to grant human rights to all its citizens.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale) on 2 March. We continue to press for further improvements in Soviet human rights performance both bilaterally and at the CSCE follow-up meeting in Vienna.

65.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further measures are being taken by Her Majesty's Government to persuade the Soviet Government to permit Michael Kremen to emigrate.

Michael Kremen's case is among those about which we have expressed concern to the Soviet authorities. My right hon. and learned Friend again raised the issue of Soviet citizens denied permission to emigrate with Mr. Shevardnadze during his talks in Moscow last month.