Today the House of Commons is discussing the genocide amendment to the Trade Bill.
There are some appalling atrocities happening around the world – for example, against the Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, the human rights abuses in Kashmir, and there are continuing concerns in Sri Lanka.
But the UN has found itself incapable of responding. We certainly need change.
First, Government should bring in a new UK human rights policy to ensure we can respond unilaterally and multilaterally when gross human rights abuses and genocides are being perpetrated. We should seek to reform the UN.
And second, we must strengthen the rule of law amongst nations, so that they are emboldened to speak out together when they see what almost certainly amounts to genocide occurring, and our fellow human beings suffering at the hands of corrupt and vile governments.
Today’s debate is, I am sorry to say, a distraction. We need to find a better way to stop genocide than UK courts ruling on trade deals.
The amendment being proposed would have no practical effect in stopping genocide and human rights abuses, nor would it have any impact on our trade policy.
And you don’t strengthen the rule of law between nations by handing over what should be a decision for the elected UK Government – held to account by our elected Parliament. You do not strengthen international law by asking a national court to make a ruling.
That would be an abdication of our duty as elected representatives, one which would expose our courts to unfair criticism. Our Courts are rightly respected across the globe and that is because we leave them out of politics.
After careful examination, sadly I cannot support the amendment today.
The international community needs institutions which are effective in confronting the reality of what is happening around the world with coordinated international responses.
That’s why I am calling on the Government to deliver real change working with our allies across the world.