Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Campaign Letters #4: Amnesty International and Human Rights.

Thank you for your email concerning support for Amnesty International, the Human Rights Act, and supporting victims of torture and injustice around the world.

Please be reassured: I have already met with Edinburgh Amnesty, signed the pledges and tweeted my support.  The Liberal Democrats stand for human rights and stand up for them in the face of power, so have no problem giving this wonderful organisation our wholehearted endorsement.

I could end my letter to you here.  I shall not.

While in office, Lynn Featherstone worked tirelessly on a campaign to end female genital mutilation within a generation.  Liberal Democrats thwarted Theresa May's attempts to leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights: a body created by Winston Churchill with the view of unifying Europe under a code of universal decency.

I could again end my letter here. Again I shall not.

I have spent now twenty years travelling the world's continents.  In Kazakhstan one could not discuss the president unless to praise him.  The same in Baku.  In Equatorial Guinea, I was in the capital Malabo when the entire population were summoned to the football stadium to hear the president's speech.  One had to be in the hospital in order to be exempted.  In Russia a few years back, I was there when the Duma passed the law that made it a criminal offence to accuse state officials of corruption, owing to the distress it brought upon individuals so accused and their families.  In Israel, I was waiting for a technician to to flown to the rig in order to fix the air conditioning.  He was refused permission to travel by the young security staff at Haifa airport, owing to him being an Israeli Arab.  In Qatar, I attended a health and safety seminar: only to hear that on the construction sites for the 2020 World Cup, an average of ten workers a week are dying owing to the lax standards there.

I really could go on at length: believe me.  It is one thing to voice support, quite another to know why it is so vitally important to do so.

When I hold up this sign, I know exactly why I am doing it.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Veart
Scottish Liberal Democrats
Edinburgh North and Leith.

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