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UK House of Commons holds Democracy and Human Rights Debate

14 October 2008

The following is an unofficial transcript taken from footage of the UK House of Commons Debate on Democracy and Human Rights, which can be found at

Tony Baldry, chairman of the International Development select committee on the Darfur situation:

"Before we move on from Sudan, let me point out that Darfur shows the fragility of the international communitys ability to support the emerging norm of the () responsibility to protect. The matter is not just about the failure of the Security Council to enforce that; the international community does not have the military lift capacity to do so either. We are hoping that things in Darfur will not get worse and that something will turn up. There is no UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, effectively, and there is no real process in Darfur. The responsibility to protect is just being forgotten." ()

Former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm on intervention:

"I declare my position in a simple and straightforward fashion: I have always believed that almost without exception it is a gross and foolish mistake to intervene in a military way in the internal affairs of another state. I argue that case not on some theoretical ground of national sovereigntyt is often alleged that people who take the view that I take have an objection to breaching national sovereignty even when there is the most serious abuse of human rights. That is not my position. It is the position of the Russian Government and of the Chinese Government, but it is not my view, which is simple: almost without exception, intervention in the internal affairs of another country, using military might, creates more harm than good. It ends up creating more problems than it solves and people will live to regret that fact.
The issue is not about humanitarian intervention. When the Conservative Government were in power, I was responsible as Defence Secretary for the humanitarian intervention in Bosnia. We sent many thousands of British troops to help to provide food supplies and aid for people who would otherwise have starved. What we refused to do was intervene on one side or another, in a military sense, in the war being conducted at the time. We were criticised for that, but in light of the present Governments experience, both in Kosovo and in Bosnia, the arguments are profound." ()



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