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Allister again raises questions of persecution

19 January 2006

During Question Time to the Council of Ministers in the European Parliament, DUP MEP Jim Allister raised the issue of the persecution of Christians in countries with which the EU has trade and other agreements.

The Minister having said the EU constantly raised issues of persecution with offending countries, Mr Allister responded by making the case for more robust and effective action:-

"Minister, raising these issues with the countries is all well and good, but surely we need an ethical policy that produces results.  Is it not time to make a very direct link between trade with these countries and respect for human rights?  When we liberalise trade with such countries who persecute Christians and others, should we not make it conditional upon them liberalising their human rights regime so that minorities within those countries have the rights that we take for granted?"

Commenting later Mr Allister said in fairness to the EU, it does regularly protest about incidents of persecution and on various occasions has done so at my request, but we really need to act with more effect.  Why should we facilitate trade without insisting on the quid pro quo of freedom of worship and respect for basic human rights?


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