19/01/2017 House of Commons


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raise the matter. The honourable gentleman has many qualities, one of


which is his purse I beg to move the motion that stands


in my name and the names of several other members on the order paper. I


start by thanking my fellow members of the backbench business committee


for allowing me to briefly stand down from the committee to make the


application for this debate. And no further thank them for agreeing the


debate would take place today. I should also be clear I am the


current chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Kashmir. Can


I thank all those groups who have campaigned so steadfastly on this


issue for so many years, particularly the Kashmir


self-determination movement, working tirelessly to keep up the profile of


the issue of Kashmir with MPs. Also members from the British Muslim


Women's Network, the Kashmir liberation Council, and the Kashmir


Council for human rights. I will give way. I am grateful, and I


congratulate him on securing the debate. Can I ask him to put on


record thanks to all those ordinarily Kashmiris in this country


and back in Kashmir who fight time and again to get this high up on the


agenda so we take action. I am grateful to him for raising that,


and I put that on the record. Let me explain why this motion is being


brought before the House today. Essentially it is because this


matter really matters to my thousands of constituents who are of


Pakistani and Kashmiri Heritage. It matters to the constituents of many


members in the House today. Many of my constituents have family in


Kashmir, and in some cases they have lost loved ones or seen loved ones


scarred for life as a result of violence. For those not familiar


with Kashmir, it is a territory running across the border between


Pakistan and India. The root cause of the conflict can be traced back


to 1947, when the colony of India was granted independence by Britain


and was partitioned into two two separate entities, India and


Pakistan. There was a predominantly Muslim population but the Hindu


leader. The area has a long and complex history and it is not enough


time to go into all that history today, but suffice to say, the


argument over which nation would incorporate the state led to the


first India Pakistan war in 1947 - 48. There have been further upsurges


in the conflict since then and they are both known nuclear power is. To


complicate matters further, -- there are now nuclear powers. I am pleased


to see the Minister for Southeast Asia in his possession, and I am


grateful to him for taking the time to meet with members of the


all-party group on Kashmir recently. I know he will be aware that it is


the fact Britain was responsible for the partition which leads many in


the Kashmiri community to believe this country could and should be


doing more to try to help resolve this matter. The fact that the


petition was 70 years ago demonstrates the intransigence of


this problem, and I am under no illusion that they are easy


solutions. There are two areas I wish to cover today. Firstly the


recent increase in violence in human rights abuses, and secondly the


longer-term issue of trying to resolve this long-running conflict.


The most recent increase in violence began last year, when on the 8th of


July 22-year-old -- a 22-year-old was killed by the security forces.


Tens of thousands attended his funeral. Clashes broke out at it,


between security forces and protestors. Security forces fired


live ammunition into the crowd, killing several people, and a police


officer was also killed. Since then, the authorities have declared


curfews and close down mobile phone services and media outlets.


Attendance at mosques and adherence to religious practices has been


restricted. Protestors have organised a series of general


strikes and there have been regular public rallies. Schools, colleges


and universities have also been closed. The economy has been badly


hit. Funerals have also been hit by protests. Scores of Kashmiris have


been killed. Many civilians have been injured. -- many thousands. I


will give way. I thank him for securing this very important debate.


He quite rightly points out that recent escalation in human rights


violations, but will he accept that this is a longer term problem and


human rights violations have happened for decades? I am grateful


to the honourable member for raising this. As I said earlier, there is a


long and complex history to this. As the honourable member says, there


have been many upsurges in violence, and as he will be aware, there have


been many human rights abuses which have been catalogued and recorded


over the years. I will give way. Would he agree that it is imperative


that an international investigation into those human rights abuses is


carried out as soon as possible? Yes, I do agree. It is something I


will mention briefly later in my speech. The use of pellet guns has


left thousands of people, including children, injured and in many cases


blind. Armed militants have increased their attacks on the


security forces. In September 2016, an attack on an army base killed 19


soldiers, the Army's worst loss of life for more than a decade. There


has been a flaring up of tension. This has led to significant military


casualties. Both sides have ramped up the hostile rhetoric. I know the


government are concerned about any allegation of human rights abuses.


Ministers have said so many times in answers to both oral and written


questions, but I do ask the Minister to condemn these attacks and the use


of pellet guns. The fundamental human rights enshrined in the Indian


constitution must be adhered to. There must be an end to the use of


pellet guns on innocent civilians. The UNHCR and other interested


parties must be allowed free and complete access to allow them to


make an objective assessment. Let me now turn to the role of the United


Nations in securing a long-term settlement. After 70 years of


inaction since the original UN resolutions were passed, requiring


this conflict to be resolved by peaceful democratic means, it is


easy to see why so many in the Kashmiri community think the United


Nations has lost interest in their problem. I have often said this


dispute is all too frequently ignored by the media. It always


seems there is some other conflict elsewhere in the world which grabs


the headlines. As a member of the United Nations, I know the United


Kingdom supports all UN bodies and wants to help them fulfil their


mandate. But in the case of Kashmir, there has surely been feeling for


those resolutions to have gone unfulfilled for so long.


I PC at the government has took treader careful path. We wish to be


friends with both India and Pakistan. But a candid and true


friend is one who sometimes says things the other friend may find


unpalatable. I will give way. I'm very grateful. I support his motion.


Surely, it's not a question of supporting the Indian or Pakistan


government, it's about supporting the people of Kashmir. Just as he


and I campaigned for years for a referendum to decide whether our


country should be ruled by the European Union are not, surely the


people of Kashmir should have the same freedom to decide how they are


governed. There is absolutely right. I am about to mention that historic


decision that this country took last year. I will give way before I


proceed. I quite concur with the honourable member for Shipley in


saying this is an issue about Kashmir, but this is not just about


India and Pakistan, but also China. We have to work with all of them to


make sure civil rights and human rights of the Kashmiri people are


important in this debate. I am grateful to him for that


intervention. He's absolutely right, that this is a matter which involves


both nations, and it is crucially about the rights of the Kashmiri


people. I wish to make it clear that, in this case, we want both


India and Pakistan to know that we want to help them find a permanent


and peaceful solution to this conflict. Of course, this country


cannot impose its leadership, but I believe we can do more to bring the


parties closer together. I wish to make it clear that I do not see this


issue as being about taking sides and saying that if you had a friend


of Kashmir, you're not a friend of India. This problem must be resolved


by peaceful means. I want to see the people of Kashmir being given the


right to decide their own future, the right to self-determination, a


so historically exercised by the people of this country on the 23rd


of June last year, when the majority voted to leave the European Union.


No one believes there is an easy answer, but anything has to be


better than having a military controlled line of partition between


two neighbouring countries. I suspect there will always be rivalry


between India and Pakistan, but that rivalry should be contained to the


field of sport. In conclusion, when the Minister responds to this


debate, I would ask my honourable friend not only to set out what the


government position is on Kashmir, but also what more this country


could do... Yes, I will give way one more time. He has been extremely


generous with his time on this issue. Just before he concludes,


does he agree that, while I agree with him that we need a long-term


solution that is in the hands of the Kashmiri people, there is that


important step beforehand, which is where the Foreign Office can play an


active role, in getting both sides round the table to negotiate a


peace, a stability, a calming of that situation, so that people,


children's lives are not lost in the meantime. Let's get that summit


going, to have peace, and then think of a longer term solution. I


entirely agree and perhaps I should have finished my sentence, because


that was exactly what I was saying. Because what I was saying is that,


when Minister responds to this debate, I will ask my honourable


friend not all to set out what the government position is on Kashmir,


but also what more this country could do, either through the United


Nations, or working directly with India and Pakistan to bring these


two nations together to find a lasting and peaceful solution to


this conflict. Mr Deputy Speaker, I commend the motion to the House. The


question is as on the order paper. I wish to declare that I am of


Kashmiri heritage and I am privileged to be the first member of


Parliament in this place of Kashmiri heritage. I also have a significant


Kashmiri constituency, which has a significant interest in this issue,


and back many other members in this place, who will have their


constituents with an interest. This issue is, of course, about Kashmir,


the key issue of Kashmiri geography and the issue of Kashmiri


self-determination. Many people are very concerned about that. But for


me, this issue is about violations of Kashmiri people and the human


rights and civil liberties. That is the most important thing. Also the


violation of the Geneva Convention by the Indian armed forces. This


issue today is about Kashmir. People say Kashmiri people are under


violation of human rights abuses. But this has gone on for at least


six decades, when the Indian forces unlawfully invaded Kashmir in 1948,


when it was an independent state. It also has the look at an issue of the


fact that in 1953 and 1954, there was a resolution presented to the


United Nations by the then Prime Minister, to allow the Kashmiri


people the right to self-determination. And to date, to


the shame of the United Nations, those resolutions haven't found


their way to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Kashmiri people


are still wondering whether their plight is worth the heating in the


United Nations by the General Assembly. And it's very significant.


I know there are numerous members who wish to speak, so I will try to


be brief. In this house today, I want to recognise the work of the


shadow Foreign Office team, particularly the Minister on the


front bench from the shadow team, who is responsible for south-east


Asia and also the shadow Secretary of State, who have made significant


policy issues for the party in terms of recognising the issue of human


rights and civil liberties. To the extent that the shadow Secretary of


State has also written to the Secretary of State on his visit to


India, asking him to raise the issue of a second visit being made, about


the issue of human rights and civil liberties in Kashmir, by the


Secretary of State. I hope that on his return, the shadow Secretary of


State will report to the house that he has actually raise those issues


with the Indian government. Also, there is currently over half a


million of the Indian troops in Kashmir. They are protected, the


Indian troops are protected by the special armed Forces act of 1993,


which allows them complete free range, and knows them to be able to


abuse people, to be able to torture people. When people go missing,


there is no accountability. And there is no' that can take them to


account, hold them to account in India. So this is a clear violation


of the genie that convention -- the Geneva Convention for any military


to be able to do this. I am surprised that we do not read this


and I hope the Minister takes notice of this and reasons it with the


Indian government. I thank him for giving way and I congratulate the


member who secured this debate. Does he agree with me that that is a


particular concern about the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, and does he


agree with me and Amnesty International that there should be a


ban on the use of pellet guns, which are causing such serious injuries to


so many people? I thank her for that. This is an issue will come in


my speech, but at the moment, I agree with what she is saying. I am


talking about the half a million soldiers in Kashmir, who currently


have no control over how they behave, how they abuse the people.


There are serious concerns in Kashmir, particularly in terms of


the civilian population. We are concerned about when a woman leaves


the house, whether she is a mother or daughter or wife, that she leaves


the house, and not knowing what state should return in comic even if


she returns. There are issues of gang rapes by the military. And


absolutely atrocious act by any individual. I am sorry to interrupt


such a passionate speech. One of the things I think the government failed


to recognise is the passion and worry and fear that our


constituents, or Jewish citizens of Kashmiri and non-Kashmiri


extraction, feel about this issue. Would you agree that the Minister


and government need to listen and start paying attention to the needs


and demands of their citizens? She makes a very valid point,


particularly in relation to the issue of abuse of women. We don't


allow and accept this in any other country at all. And why should we


allow this to go unchecked by the Indian forces, by the Indian Army,


in India, in Kashmir. I find this absolutely absurd that the we should


be making far stronger representation, and I would urge the


Minister to do that. When a man goes out of the house, whether he is a


father or husband or son, there is absolutely no guarantee he is going


to come back and what state he will come back. What acts, we have seen


beatings, we have seen videos on YouTube and Facebook. In those,


people are summary eaten up in the streets, I held by military


personnel and beaten literally to within an inch of their life. They


are tortured, they are taken away, people go missing. In some


instances, when they go missing, nobody comes back. That is a serious


issue. Children in Kashmir have no stake in the normal community or


society. We expect our children to have a proper education in normal


society, but Kashmiri children don't have an ounce of that protection to


be able to have that. Then they go out into the streets, as my


honourable friend from Nottingham said earlier on, they are treated


and greeted with pellets and suchlike. They have no problem


education facilities, they have no health care, they have no real stake


in the society they are part of, this is the sixth generation of


Kashmiri people who are growing under the tyranny and they have no


protection whatsoever. The issues I want to come to, it is an absolutely


horrendous act by the military. Where they have specifically


targeted, not just for of parts, but specifically aiming at upper parts


of the body, the face, the eyes. Where is the number of people who


have lost their eyesight? Those people are not even allowed medical


treatment once they have done that, because you will know when a body is


scanned, it is magnets that are used. And when those bullets are


inside, the medical group will not use those cans on them, because


Apple further assist the movement of those metallic pellets that is


inside them, which would lead possibly to further injury, whether


it is an airhead or eyes are upper body, including the heart arteries


and everything else that goes along with that. So that would cause a


significant issue for most people. These are the issues of the using of


pellet guns. Also, when somebody is penetrated with these pellets, when


they go through security barrier, it will be easy for people to be able


to see when they are going through, to assess that that person has been


involved in those sort of abuses. So the pool that person out and they


are again held accountable, and that is torture of a community and the


whole society. We have had a report on the buried evidence, unmarked


mass graves, produced by the international people's Tribunal on


human rights. Again, a human rights activist who has produced a whole


report of significant numbers of mass graves, that she has found


through her organisation. Unfortunately, not to note is taken


by anybody. No notice is taken by any government, and particularly our


government. We are, if this was to happen anywhere else, there would be


a huge outcry and there would be people crying for international war


crimes tribunal is to be held and to be dealt with. So I do see that is


an urgent debate after this as well and there is a significant number of


colleagues who wish to speak. I would like to conclude just purely


on the basis of the fact that this is an issue of human rights,


contravention of the human rights Convention and are likely to take


notice of these three things. I'd like to see what he's going to do


about it and how he will have an interaction with the Indian


government, to hold them to account. If anyone wants to be a serious


partner with United Kingdom, these are the responsibilities they must


carry and these are the issues very important to my constituents and all


others in this place, and to make sure that is considered an taken


forward. To give everyone equal time, can we


take up to eight minutes to make sure we all get a fair crack of the


whip. I would like to congratulate my honourable friend for securing


the debate and being a strong advocate for Kashmir and Kashmiris


within the chamber. India and With over 40 million refugees


crossing the new Pakistan India border for safety. A small piece of


land today is an unstable home for 12 million Kashmiris. On the 24th of


January 1949, the first group of United Nations military observers


arrived to oversee a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. Almost


70 years later, India and Pakistan have evolved but Kashmiris still a


region beset by political disagreement, violence and human


rights violations. -- Kashmir is stellar region. The conflict has


left more than 47,000 people left, which also include 7000 police


personnel. The death toll continues with India and Pakistan at an


impasse, denoted in a House of Commons recess paper which states


currently the two governments of India and Pakistan are engaged in a


process of re-approach when. This is not the first such process but has


given rise to optimism. That paper was written in 2004. India and


Pakistan still have nowhere. Optimism has run dry, and bloodshed


on bullets in Kashmir takeover. UN observations have taken place at


various times since 1949 at considerable cost but to what


effect? Resolutions have been passed, calling for a ceasefire is


for security forces to be withdrawn and the opportunity for Kashmiris to


determine their own future. The cornerstone of any civilised


democracy. Give way. The UN clearly has a pivotal role in Kashmir, but


does my honourable friend believe that the UN has a sufficient skills


and resources and political will to do what we are expecting that to


secure peace? He makes a very good point. Considerable skill, I would


say yes, considerable resources, I would say yes. Political will, that


is where the UN is falling down. 70 years have been lost and Kashmir


pays the price was lost lives and livelihoods. Last year they saw an


unprecedented level of violence with 68 civilians killed and more than


9000 injured during months of violence, the bloodiest episode in


Kashmir's recent history. The shame of the international community for


failing to recognise the violence and lack of offered to support


Kashmiri civilians is a bloody stain on all the history books. And


impartial and international mission is crucial, with full free and


complete access. The UN continued to receive reports of Indian forces


using for administration, yet India has


to investigate allegations of human to investigate allegations of human


that not just India but also that not just India but also


Pakistan have to allow UN access to Kashmir to evaluate the damage the


conflict has caused before it becomes another footnote in


Kashmir's history. The UN has had 70 years to help Kashmiris but instead


has wilfully continued this line for too long. I ask the Minister, what


pressure does the UK -- can the UK put on the UN, taken advantage of


our privileged position on the security council? The UN have to


show humility and backbone to their statements. No resolution nor


conciliation can be given until there is acceptance of the light


damage. We have a real role to play with the hand of friendship and


partnership. Pakistan is one of our greatest recipients of aid funding


in tackling terrorism, and last year the Prime Minister visited India to


secure a substantial trade deal. What discussions took place on


Kashmir during the recent trip, and could he update the House on his


recent discussions with his counterparts in Pakistan and India?


The Prime Minister of India said if any -- any dialogue requires an


environment free from terrorism and violence. He is absolutely right.


The recent escalation of violence creates terror when no authority is


trusted, not even those in places meant to offer protection. Pallet


forces are being used by security forces. The Indian government has


advised the use of pellet guns should be rare and only in present


circumstances, but the Central of the badge reserve police force


continues to use them persistently. They cause life-threatening


injuries, and blinding people, and so fat over 9000 people have been


injured. By their nature, pellet guns are the antithesis of targeted


position, they spray and main to a 6-foot circle, it is impossible to


limit the number of casualties with a 6-foot fan of pellets. These are


not precision weapons or defensive weapons. When used in open public


places, they must constitute a human rights violation. Anyone and


everyone within that 6-foot circle is a target with a pellet gun, even


children sitting at home. A 12-year-old was in the courtyard of


his home not protesting, but in his home when his eyes were hit by


pellets. Both his eyes are injured, with little vision left. He is


recovering in a hospital where the department is stating they are


the demand is so high. Depressingly with surgeries


forced to tweak the Prime Minister forced to tweak the Prime Minister


be sent to help those with injuries. be sent to help those with injuries.


-- tweet. Seemingly the best way to get help is to send each week to.


This is how desperate the situation has come. -- at tweet. Does he agree


that this weapon constitutes a crime when used in public places? The


central reserve police force have refused to share the operating


procedure for this lethal weapon. Can he put pressure on India to


disclose their justification and perhaps the Indian authorities can


share with us which other liberal democracy uses such a weapon on its


own people? Can I also ask the Minister to share with the House


what medical support is being provided to Kashmiri hospitals?


These violations should be arguments enough for access the observations.


Violence will not disappear by observation, -- violations will not


disappear. This is not a regional issue. India and Pakistan both have


nuclear weapons. The stakes are high. Pakistan is disputed to have


the 11 strongest military in the world and is also ranked more


frighteningly as the 14th most fragile country. This regional


dispute is not so regional when two nuclear powers fail to resolve such


a volatile dispute. It has the potential to threaten us all.


Especially as the terror has taken a new violent form. The importance of


access to books and education is key to building a strong community and


for the first time schools and educators are no targets. Village


schools are being targeted for destruction and these -- 24 have


been burnt to the ground last year. I want to raise the issue of one


school, if I can. One particular school was built in 1948. The


principal rushed to the school as it was burning to the ground. He cried


out that the school was like his home was being burned. This is no


ordinary school, built in 1948 it held 3000 books. Schools on fire,


teachers worrying for their lives, and books burned, the future is


bleak. In conclusion it is in all of our interests that the crisis in


Kashmir is recognised and the force of the international community


supports the UN and all of our diplomatic relations are forced to


finding a resolution for Kashmir. Through, -- through you, let me pass


good wishes to the Speaker on his birthday. There was a long queue for


people wishing him happy birthday, and I think it is important as well.


2.5 years ago, this House last debated Kashmir. And this is only


the second debate in nearly 20 years. I must declare that I am the


chair of the British all-party parliamentary group, a person of


Indian origin, born in India, studied there, and I came here. I do


not know how many of you have visited Kashmir. I think in my own


life, from my school days until now, I have visited Kashmir 14 times. So


I am quite familiar with the economic, social and political


conditions of that place. I am not saying anything here say with any


vested interests, at the lump formed information. I am saying that


because -- or ill informed information. I am saying that


because I have seen what has happened, and the political


situation over there. After listening to previous speakers, I


feel sad that we are bringing the issues which are not linked at all,


not happening the way you're presenting it. Look at the political


situation. I strongly support... For the last 45 years I have canvassed,


campaigned on human rights issues. Where India has violated human


rights I have criticised. I have criticised India many times on many


other traditions happening, whether government or people failed. That is


where I feel strongly that the way we are debating Kashmir issues


are untrue and not relevant to the are untrue and not relevant to the


situation. Give way. Does he accept, he mentions he visited there are 14


times, but does he accept that the times, but does he accept that the


Indian authorities make it exceptionally difficult for British


members of parliament to visit that part of the world? I am sure that it


is happening. The reason is that when you wanted to go and visit a


prejudices before you go. If you prejudices before you go. If you


have declared beforehand what you think is happening there, publicly


me one example of a government that me one example of a government that


has allowed people to go to the country that you criticised. Give


way. I thank the honourable member who is well respected in this House


for his expertise, does he at least accept that by speaking up against


human rights violations in any country, one is not necessarily


against that country? The danger is we are taking time off someone else


by interventions. I do not mind having the debate, but I want to


Thank you. I am not saying that is treat everyone equally.


Thank you. I am not saying that is the way you present the argument is


right, no government, no authority will allow you to do when you are


not free of your own will... I think I carry on. I am sure you will be


speaking later on. I am very grateful. My honourable friend, I am


chair of the justice for Columbia group, I criticised the Colombian


government time and time again and they let me into the country where I


criticised them again. If we look at the history, what is happening since


1947, after 1948, when the line of control was declared, when it was


ceasefire, India and Pakistan, which we on one side are advocating should


be part and parcel of that negotiations, have attacked India in


1965, 1971, to change that line of control. Again, in 1999, Pakistan


tried to seize an opportunity to redraw the internationally accepted


line of control. Three times, 1965, 1971, 1999. Having been unsuccessful


in full-scale military manoeuvres to take control of more of Kashmir,


since... They have turned towards terrorism to further their aims. In


2004, Pakistan made a public commitment to prevent terrorist


groups using their territory to plan, prepare or launch attacks


against India. Since then, the Pakistani spy agency have been


indicated in India's most notorious terrorist incidents, most notably,


the 2008 Mumbai attacks which left nearly 200 bed. This behaviour... I


will come onto Kashmir as well, but I'm giving the background. This


behaviour is readily seen across Kashmir. Fighters from Pakistan...


These terrorists are there to destabilise the region, they do not


help the people of Kashmir, they do not make anyone stronger, they only


further the misery of millions. Since the 1948 riots, there have


been attempts to cleanse the region of native people opposed to Pakistan


interventions. In the 1990s, we saw the most sustained activity aimed at


driving Kashmiris from the Kashmir valley. Whereas a quarter of a meal


-- million lived in Kashmir in 1947, there are now only around 20,000.


The majority now live in camps, desperate to return to their


homeland, unwilling to settle elsewhere. The threat of communal


violence looms large, and ever present threat for millions. This is


why we see images of shoulders across Kashmir, they are there to


protect citizens of all stripes, people who want to go to work,


school or University are only allowed to do so under the


protection of the Indian Army. Without the protection of Indian


troops, we can see to easily what happens. Horrifying stories of


brutality from Peshawar school attacks, it left 132 schoolchildren


died, assassination attempts... Very few members of this house would have


done anything but a firm that actions of the British Army in


trying to maintain the status quo in Northern Ireland. The Army is there


to ensure to protect the border, and just like they did in Belfast, to


make sure that young boys and girls, from catholic and Protestant


families, can continue to live the lives they want to. The national


Human Rights Commission of India have been free to criticise and call


for punishment whether all of law has not been upheld to rigorous


standard -- where the rule of law. This is not a level of freedom


allowed to these residents and Pakistan, recognised as the world's


leading sponsor of terrorism. Following the State elections in


2014, I will give way soon... We are now on 11 minutes, we are well over,


it is a very important matter, but I want to make sure everyone gets a


say. By working everyday for a safer, more prosperous Kashmir, the


Indian government is fulfilling its remit, people desire a life


unblemished by random acts of terror, where they are free to


pursue education, employment and peaceful lives. Why must we again


listen to hyped media accusations rather than looking at the evidence


of peaceful elections? I rise to support the motion and in


congratulating my honourable friend on security in the debate and also


congratulating him on the spirit with which he moved the motion. I am


very proud we are having this, the second debate, in the time since I


was elected, and I'm very proud to be in a position in which I stood on


the 15th of September, 2011. I am very proud of the UK and Wycombe's


Kashmiris for the dignity and determination with which they


presume this issue. Despite the difficulty of doing so. And in the


context of the seriousness of the issues involved. I wish to make


three points to the Minister. The first, about the intractability of


the issue. The second about some lessons from our own referendum. The


third about how we might make progress. It is the long-standing


position of the Government that this is a matter for the two independent


nations of India and Pakistan to resolve. I have found a reliably,


that within the Foreign Office, this issue is known with some graveyard


humour, sorry, gallows humour, as the graveyard of Foreign Secretary


's and that is a matter of very considerable regret. The issue of


self-determination as we have seen in the UK is not one to be thought


of as impossible to meet, we have just met it and I think this is a


moment when the Foreign Office should know self-determination is


not an issue on which no progress can be made in the 21st-century. I


think it is not good enough to adopt this policy and I do not mean that


as a criticism of this government because I am acutely aware, as


everyone here will know, that this is a long-standing policy which


governments of all colours have taken. I mean no criticism of this


government and its minister but I do wish to say that it is not good


enough to continue this policy. It is not good enough for two reasons.


First, it is incumbent on all of us in this House to represent the many


thousands of people in our constituencies whose origins, family


origins, will be either Indian or Pakistani or Kashmiri, they deserve


to have their voices heard in this place and internationally. I will.


Just briefly. I think he is making a very important point. What Kashmiris


say to me, particularly in Nottingham and across the country,


it is almost there is a sense in which there needs to be a much


greater urgency from everyone to actually tackle this problem. It has


been going on for decades and people worry about that in ten years, 20,


30, people will stubbly discussing the same issue. That is why I begin


with this point about intractability because the other reason it is not


good enough to adopt the current position is that it is a legacy of


the British Empire and we should acknowledge our historic


responsibility. There is a conversation to be had here about


world views and willingness of individuals to accept ancestral


response will it be but that is perhaps for another day. What I'm


saying is that just because it is difficult to make a stand on this


issue, it does not mean it is not the right thing to do. It is the


right thing to do, to make a stand, as the British Government, on this


question. I would just like to pose some questions about lessons which


we might learn from our own referendum because I think those of


us who are asking for a referendum for the fulfilment of United Nations


mandates, we have to ask ourselves, what if we win, what if we make


progress, what if a referendum were held? I want to make two points. The


first is, on what collective basis could such a referendum be held?


What would be the day must assume who would vote? -- what would be


that day mosque? Who would vote? We know there are those who do not wish


to accept a national referendum result. We know the Scottish


National Party upon the point of how Scotland voted. These will all be


live issues in the event of the referendum being held in Kashmir. I


would appeal to the Kashmiris who work on this issue to give very


serious thought to what the demos would be and on what basis the


result will be considered legitimate by all parties. The other issue


which is an issue of the first seriousness is we saw in our own


country, in the UK, where politics generally precedes no further than


harsh language, that passions ran extremely high. In a region of the


world where life complex amongst major powers, nuclear armed powers,


it is a risk, I think we have to ask ourselves, how would a referendum in


Kashmir proceed peacefully, not just during the course of the campaign,


but afterwards as well? I would also make finally on this point something


about unity. I know there are British Kashmiris in Whickham who


voted remain and many who did not vote at all but they supported this


fundamental principle that we should have had a referendum and I'm very


used to stand with them united that as we go forwards which have a


referendum for Kashmir. The third point is perhaps the most


contentious. How should we make progress as Jim at the honourable


gentleman who preceded me described as untrue some of the things which


this House has already heard in the course of this debate. This is a


very important point. We have heard at different times Pakistan accused


of state-sponsored terrorism, we have heard India accused of using


inappropriate weapons, of gang rape, of murder. I do not wish to see the


wrath these nations slandered. Of course, the crucial difference


between a valid charge and a slander is the issue of truth. -- I do not


wish to see either of these nations slandered. I want a relentless focus


on objective fact. I know what I have seen with my own eyes of the


video shown to me, I have seen what purports to be Indian soldiers


beating confessions from a man and I have seen a video of what purports


to be Indian soldiers killing a man in the rubble of his own home in


Kashmir. They are images which I would prefer I had never seen and


which I would never wish to see again. The crucial question is, are


they a set up? Are they propaganda? Are they true question they are


true, the issue of Kashmir is a matter for the whole world. -- are


they true? If they are true. The overwhelming consensus is that we


should stay out of Indian affairs. But I would say that if these


allegations are true, the whole world cannot stay out of Kashmir and


India and Pakistan's affairs. I will not give way. I am being encouraged


to wrap up. I would say to the Government, I understand the Foreign


Office thinks the issue is intractable but we have seen in our


own country, it need not be. There are lessons to be learned, the


Government can facilitate them. For goodness sake, let us recognise that


if even a fraction of the allegations being made are true,


this is an urgent and pressing issue for the whole world. Thank you. The


House will know of my very long-standing interest in the issue


of Kashmir. In my consistency, there are many thousands of British


citizens of Kashmiri extraction who have made their home in my


constituency and I take an interest on their behalf and also a more


personal interest because my own family originate from Kashmir, or


four of my grandparents were born in Kashmir and before my family moved


to this country, so this debate has very personal resonance for me,


former constituency, myself my own family. The number has already set


out the background to the very long-standing dispute. -- the


member. I pay tribute to those who led the charge to get the debate


today. We have heard already that it is a very long-standing dispute


between two nuclear armed powers in one of the world's most heavily


militarised regions and it does not receive enough attention anywhere


outside of that region around the world and certainly not in our own


country, given the size of our British Kashmiri bop elation. It has


a lot of attention from that population but not enough from those


outside of that. I pay tribute to all of the campaign is on this issue


for, from all sides of the House, who have been taking every


opportunity available to raise this very serious matter in the House of


Commons and to press our government, both the current government and


previous governments, to do more to up to build a resolution to the


long-standing crisis. The further push for debate


regarding Kashmir has come in particular as a result of the


upsurge in violence that we have seen in India-administered Kashmir


from last summer. What we see there is the unacceptable failure of the


whole world and the denial to give effect to UN resolutions, to


represent the self determination of the Kashmiri people. The people have


lost hope and are rising against that loss of hope to try and force


their rights to be respected. That upsurge in violence had illicited a


brutal response from the Indian authorities. I disagree with my


honourable friend, I do not believe it is possible to minimise the


extent to which the Indian authorities have acted in a


disproportionate manner that has created great tragedy for the


Kashmiri people in that region. This is the biggest uprising in two


decades and the brutality of the Security Services cannot be ignored.


And that is seen by human rights organisations across the world,


including human rights watch, who found that the police and security


forces have acted with impunity and there have been killings and mass


rape and I concur with the comments made in the speech by the member for


High Wycombe that of course there will be questions about the voracity


of the videos we see on social media, but there should be an open


investigation to prove the voracity of the videos and if they are true,


which I I believe they will be found to be true, then there are big


questions for India to answer. A and there is a difference between the


Indian Government and the other Governments that commit human rights


abuses is that India is the largest democracy in the world and as a


democracy it is not simply giving a vote to your people, it includes


more, that is about respect for the rule of law and basic human rights


which have to be protected and sit alongside the ability of a people to


elect their own Government. Due to time I would be doing other members


out of time. The use of pellet gun has also been raised by members


already. But I think this is a significant issue for the Indian


Government eight is something on which our Government must press them


more. The Indian defence for the use of pellet guns to seal off


protesters who they say are throwing stones that is pellet guns are


non-lethal. A pellet gun is probably not going to kill you, but I defy


anybody to see pictures of victims to say that is a proportionate use


to use against civilians in a democracy. It is not and nobody I


believe in this House of Commons will stand up and say that it is.


Often when we have debated Kashmir, people who speak more in favour of


Indian Government stance on this will say, well, the position for


those that live in Kashmir is better, because they can vote and


they can take part in the democratic process and that they are basically


free so that self-determination is not necessary, because these are a


free people electing their own leaders with a significant


devolution of power. Well, nobody, not one person, in Kashmir has voted


to be hurt, to be injured, to be beaten up, to be raped to be blinded


or killed and pellet wounds are a brutal response and send a brutal


message to people and leave brutal scars. They are not just carried by


the individuals physically, but by the whole community, both in the


region and around the world for those of us of Kashmiri descent. It


is a sign of desire to resist repression. That cry to be heard is


falling on deaf ears in the largest democracy in the world, which wants


to do more business with the rest of the world and play a greater role in


world affairs. I'm afraid to say that current position is simply not


acceptable and our government must not shy away from making that plain.


Especially in relation to the use of pellet guns. Tremendous appalling,


sustained and deliberate misery has been visited upon the people of


Kashmir for too long. The stories of disappearances of the discovery of


mass graves that has brought no feshl UN -- initial UN-led


information and the impunity of security forces and the special


powers act. If a people are humiliated, abused and offered only


despair and no answers and no rights, then there will be uprising.


It is inevitable and none of us as responsible legislators also working


in a democracy can sit back and watch those events unfold and sit on


our hands. We can do more. The legacy of empire demands we do more.


We have a duty to speak out more regularly and challenge and


encourage both the Indian and the Pakistani authorities, I have to say


to the minister, the written answers to the questions that have been


tabled, particularly last summer, are so bland it is as if these


matters are something that is just a daily occurrence that can be


ignored. There are other disputes that gain more responses. There has


been no answer on whether the Prime Minister raised the issue of human


rights abuses with the Indian Government. It is not enough to tell


us the issue of Kashmir was raised, we need to know whether human rights


were raised. I believe it is now incumbent upon the British


Government to make a clear call at the UN to raise this issue at the


united nations to ask for an independent investigation and review


so we can demonstrate that while some parts of this world see this as


a foregopt conflict -- forgotten conflict, we will never forget it


and we will keep fighting. Thank you and a pleasure to follow the


honourable lady for Birmingham. I would also like to commend my


honourable friend the member for Bury North in the calm manner which


he introduced the debachlt bate. So far in this debate no one has yet


mentioned that the 19th January 1990 was an evil day in the history of


Kashmir. This was the day when 65,000 Hindus were forcibly expelled


from the Kashmir valley by Islamic Jihadist, under the slogan - die,


convert or leave. And they only forced the men out, they said, leave


your women, we will convert them, we will rape them and make them all


Muslim. The reality is that one of sad facts of this very largely


foregont area of -- forgotten area of conflict has been that we have a


religious element to this as well an aspect of where people wish to live.


I had the opportunity last year in February of visiting Kashmir and I


went to the area and I was able to meet people of all walks of life.


But in particular the people of Chamber of Commerce, who came with a


series of opportunities, not only opportunities for trade, Hydro


Electric power, for the opportunities of agriculture, of


canning goods to be sold across the world, of using the beauty of the


Kashmir valley to attract tourists to this area, an area we would all


love to visit and our people from across the world to be able to


visit. But the one fundamental issue they all raised was that of safety


and security. And the reality is Wen when is when we talk about the


suffering that has taken place in the region, we have to concentrate


on the human rights abuses and violations that have taken place on


the Hindus, on the Sikhs, and also the minority Muslims. The sad fact


is that this has been used as a means of literally ethnically


cleansing this part of world. We should remember as part of back


ground and I hope when the minister replays to this debate that he will


-- replies to this debate, when he will mention what the authorities


have identified as terrorism being one of major causes of concern to


the European Union and to India. They jointly in their communique


condemned the terror attacks in Brussels, Paris, and recalled the


November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. And called for the


perpetrators to be brought to justice. Leaders called for decisive


and united actions to be taken against Isil and other international


active terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda. The reality is these


terrorist groups all operate from Pakistan. They are along the


international line of control. And the reality is they are infiltrating


terrorists into the sovereign state of Kashmir. Before I go on, we have


had contributions from colleagues, we should remember that the


fundamental elements of this is when Britain ceased to be the colonial


power, the decision on where states decided to opt for Pakistan or


Indian control was left to each state and the Mara ja signed the


instrument of accession to India, bringing the state under India on


26th October 1947. So we should be clear under international law, the


whole of Kashmir is an integral part of India. It is the crowning glory


of India. As such, every other aspect has gone on after that has


been violations of international law. The UN resolution which has


been alluded to by several members, of course we must remember the very


detail of this. It was Prime Minister Nehru that took the issue


to the UN in the first place, seeking very importantly the


Pakistani forces that illegally occupy part of the sovereign state


of Kashmir to leave. And the United Nations resolutions called on, the


first element is the illegally occupying forces of Pakistan to


leave cash mish and then for -- Kashmir and then for the Indian


forces to reduce to what is required for security and only then for a


decision to be made on a plebiscite of, for the people as to what should


be their destiny. Pakistan has never accepted that and never complied


with that resolution and that is one of reasons why we have this


challenge and problem today. I will give way. He is making a very


articulate case, does he think there is any chance of India engaging in


confidence-building measures on this point with Pakistan, so that that


element of the resolution might ever be fulfilled. Is India willing to


give appropriate assurances? Thank you. I can't speak for the


Government of India. And the role of the UK now is we ceased to be a


colonial power. We are not the power going to tell India or Pakistan what


to do. One reason I'm concerned it is could be misinterpreted in other


parts of world in this respect. I know the Deputy Speaker will hold


me to account. There have been numerous violations of the ceasefire


along the line of control and the recent upsurge in violence which was


mentioned by my honourable friend for Bury North, there have been


studies with the Indian troops were killed and murdered, the shells, the


GPS units, everything else, it came from Pakistan, they are Pakistani


military use. It is quite clear that Pakistan was behind that particular


conflict. I would also mention that the number of violations across the


line of control have been frequent, well-documented and need to be


understood and the recent upsurge in violence, of course, came about as a


result of the Indian forces eliminating the Jihadi John poster


boy of jihad. What I would just say in my final remarks, the use of


pellet guns and the other human rights abuses have been taken up by


the state government of Kashmir, they have had four debates on the


subject and the human rights abuses subject and the human rights abuses


fully investigated and any have been called to account, will


fully investigated and any perpetrators will be punished. I


state is looking after those aspects state is looking after those aspects


and what we want to see is a peaceful resolution to this position


and the people of Kashmir and Ladakh being able to live in peace and


harmony. Can I take this opportunity to congratulate the honourable


member for Bury North in securing this very important debate today? As


vice-chair of the old -- all-party parliament regroup, I want to put


that on the record. I am privileged to be able to take part in this


extremely important debate, one that I know matters deeply to many of my


constituents and also matters deeply to me personally. I also... My


family also originate from the state of Kashmir and I know the region


very well. Whilst the seriousness of this issue means that I could talk


at great length, time not permitting, I will try to keep my


contributions to several key areas. The first key area which I wish to


cover and the one I believe is the most pressing is the long-standing


and ongoing human rights abuses taking place in that region. It has


been mentioned last summer and long after, we saw the devastating


deployment of pellet guns resulting in the indiscriminate maiming and


blinding of hundreds and hundreds of Kashmiris. We also saw the horrific


photos of the aftermath of the use of pellets, the bloodied faces of


demonstrators and children, images that we would all like to forget.


But security forces did not stop there. We saw thousands injured and


internet cut and phone lines were strained and the region placed under


strict curfew, moves we would expect under a repressive regime and not


one which has the hallmarks of a free, open and liberal society. The


abuse then turned deadly with the illegal use of live ammunition, by


security forces, on unarmed demonstrators, resulting in their


deaths. Unfortunately, however, this is nothing new. The reality is that


human rights abuses have gone on largely unchecked for decades in


that region. Something well-documented by many


well-respected human rights organisations. Unaccountability for


these crimes is rife and if we are to address the abuses, Mr Deputy


Speaker, we must first look at the draconian Indian Armed Forces


special Powers act, an instrument which allows the security forces to


escape justice and accountability. Only ever intended to be invoked on


a temporary basis of the special Powers act has continued in force


since 1990. It has been widely criticised by well-respected human


rights organisations with numerous calls for it to be repealed, calls


which I repeat here today. It grants security forces in the region


heavy-handed powers to kill, arrest and search and it is because of this


act we have seen near unspeakable horrors and abuses of human rights,


extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, tortures, mass


rapes, children orphaned, and according to recent figures


published in the Journal of conflict resolution, between 1989 and 2010,


there were almost 7000 killings, 118 civilians arrested, almost 10,000


women rate or molested and as many as 10,000 Kashmiri use forcefully


disappeared -- women raped. If we are in any doubt that it is taking


place, and I must say that I do disagree with my honourable friend


from Ealing South, I think these abuses are well documented and to


deny that is to go against many well-respected human rights


organisations and to also go against the evidence and footage, both


photographic and video, that we have seen with our own eyes. I do


think... I'm a comeback. Time is limited. -- I may come back. It has


been mentioned in the House today, we must not turn a blind eye to


abuses taking place. We must not ignore them. We must not stand by.


We must send a clear message today that wherever it takes place,


injustice is injustice and will never be tolerated. The second


issue, Mr Deputy Speaker, is the issue around self-determination,


specifically the rights of the sons of daughters -- sons and daughters


of Kashmir. Determination and the urgent need for them to be able to


exercise this right. A lot has been said around the United Nations


resolution 47, calling for a plebiscite on the future of the


region and it is this resolution but I feel is crucial to the story of


Kashmir, past and present. It is a non-binding resolution, that is why


we have not seen the plebiscite take place in that region. However, I


call here today again, we need to see the implementation of that


resolution, whether it is called the UN resolution 47, a free and fair


plebiscite, whatever we want to name it, the ultimate choice must be for


the sons and daughters of Kashmir to determine their own destiny. For


over 70 years of the sons and daughters of Kashmir have waited for


their voice to be heard, they have been waiting to make their decision


on their future determine their lives. For over 70 years, they have


been denied their birthright to self-determination and the


international community must today allow what is fair, proper and allow


the sons and daughters of Kashmir the birthright. In concluding, time


not permitting, of course this is an area I am very passionate about and


I could go on, but in concluding, I want to again give the Minister, and


the Minister knows in this very House, I have asked him to use the


opportunity to condemn the abuses in human rights in that region and I


ask him again today, please use this opportunity on behalf of the


Government to condemn those abuses and at the very least, Minister,


please accept that the abuses taking place. Secondly, please assure us


they are doing everything they can to allow for a peaceful resolution


on the basis of the sons and daughters of Kashmir determining


their own destiny, something which is very much overdue. Thank you. And


I first congratulate the honourable member for securing this timely and


important debate? It is said that in war there are no winners, only


losers. If so, the people of the Kashmir region have paid too great a


price. Since the UN resolution in 1948, almost 70 years, we have been


no closer to self-determination. Many will speak today about the last


six month and backward steps. Curfews, censorship, the death of


military personnel on both sides and military personnel on both sides and


food shortages, refugee crisis civilians, the economy


food shortages, refugee crisis caused by displaced civilians and


community... Geek divisions on both control. We ask


community... Geek divisions on both sides of the line of control and


progress is well and truly in reverse -- deep divisions. It has


been the position of this government and successive governments that the


issue of Kashmir is for India and Pakistan to resolve at a pace that


they see fit in a way they see fit. It is not for this government to


intervene. But then what is it that this House and this country stands


for? We have lost of life, widely reported human rights abuses and


United Nations that cannot gain genuine access to the Kashmir


valley. To our shame, we raised this issue with both sides, but every


time any member of this government had been challenged to raise this


issue directly at the when, as far as we can tell, it has been politely


declined, deflected and ignored. Those that live in the region and


those of us that followed the events in Kashmir closely will know that it


is a deep underlying tension that has scarred one of the most


beautiful places in the world. We have all seen the pictures and


reports of the aggressive tactics used to silence dissent and squash


civil unrest. The people are restless. And rightly so. It has


been nearly 70 years since partition and we are no closer to being in


control of their own destiny. The reports that have come out of the


region have been tragic and disturbing. Estimates put the


civilian deaths somewhere between 85-120. The civilian casualties is


estimated to be over 13,000 because of action by security services. We


have thinking indication restricted, internet and telephone services, and


an attack on the free press, in particular the Kashmir Reader who


are banned for publishing for months. Many have talked about use


of pellets. The question of how... The pellets have a six metre


dispersal. It is by any definitive and indiscriminate use of force when


used in a crowd. Reports have shown that many civilians have lost their


eyesight because of this modern form of crowd control. One of the widely


reported stories I heard that struck me was that of a 14-year-old girl


who died of respiratory illness. She died as a result of inhaling chile


gas. For six days, she lived with burns to her throat and lungs and


eventually passed away in hospital on a ventilator. The motion itself,


in relation to the motion, it raises a number of issues that need


consideration by the House, the consideration


Government needs to do more at the Government needs to do more at the


tension, to encourage both sides to tension, to encourage both sides to


give the UN access to the Kashmir valley and assess reports of human


rights violations. Does she agree that one of the more constructive


things this government could do is press for an independent inquiry


into human rights abuses conducted by the UN which has helped in other


situations of around the world? I thank her for intervening and I


absolutely agree, we need to push for an independent inquiry. We are


not asking the Government to prescribe how Pakistan and India can


resolve the entrenched issue of peace in Kashmir but everyone here


would recognise that with the situation as it is on the ground,


with civilians being killed and impoverished, there can be no


progress towards peace and resolution. We have an obligation to


do everything in our power to help the region return to a level of


normality. I use that term loosely. Before any progress can be made


towards peace. What this motion also recognises is that for any meaning


of lasting peace in the region, the people of Kashmir have to have the


freedom and security to make that decision for themselves. We don't


talk about self-determination of the Kashmir people but under current


occupation, without lasting local representation, can we truly expect


to reach a position where the will and wishes of a people in this


region would be heard and truly listen to? Prizes like this are met


with excessive force, only further entrenching differences. -- up


roses. This has played out many times since the 1990s. The bodies of


swellings are counted and the people who survive and struggle to live in


the region become further embittered.


It is in the interest of Pakistan and India to improve the relations


for the safety and security of prosperity of people who live in the


region. The situation requires strong international leadership, not


to force them into a solution, but to invest in the foundation that can


lead to peace and the self-determination of the Kashmir


people and I call on this Government to take the lead. We have a


responsibility, 70 years in the making, we have as a nation have an


interest invested -- vested interested in both countries. We are


linked to both countries, we have had a major impact on their history


and we must help them create that future for them. We have signed a


massive trade deal with India, the China/Pakistani economic corridor


will impact on the wider world. There is an international


perspective and it is in our benefit. I spent my teenage years in


what is known as Kashmir. The area's name means free - free to go to the


shops, free to play and to go into the street, free to visit, and go


where I want to go and my family do. And my family continue to be in the


area and enjoy the freedoms. But the children in occupied Kashmir do not


have them freedoms. A son might not be returning with his eye sight,


that is 70% of his abilities as a human being. I know that from my


experience in working in disabilities, a young girl may not


return, but if he does, has she been raped? And we cannot and must not


abdicate our responsibility. It is shameful for this Government if it


continues in its inaction. I would ask members to support this motion


and call on the Government to use its climate to help much Pakistan


and India in a more prosperous relationship. Our lives begin to end


the day we become sigh sent about things that -- silent about things


that matter. This House cannot remain silent on the the issue any


more. It is a tragedy that we are still here debating this issue,


although grateful to members for securing the debate. Here we are are


again. It is a couple of years since we had a substantive discussion, as


we have been hearing, 70 years on since that petitioning --


partitioning of this region, where of course the UK, Britain, had an


integral responsibility and had a role. It is for that reason that we


can't wash our hands of this problem and ignore it. The UK does have a


long-standing duty and responsibility to take an interest


and to be involved in this particular issue. And we have heard


of course about the United Nations resolution and the call for a


plebiscite to give that opportunity to solve the issue and yet nothing


really moves forward. The frustration is palpable, I know from


many of my honourable friends in the chamber, we don't relish having to


come here and talk about this issue time and time again and yet it is


something we find ourselves having to raise and so you know decades on


we find ourselves talking about some of the tragedies that are occurring.


Yes, there are occasionally brief spells of calm that are then broken


by rising tensions, by conflict, by the flare up of issues, often


because there are funerals which breach curfews that are put in place


and those in turn escalate conflict in a heavily militarised part of the


world and on and on the cycle goes. We have heard very much from members


opposite about the effect of pellet guns, which is something I'm glad


many members have raised and the need for us to ensure that the UK


Government makes it clear that there are appropriate and inappropriate


ways to address civil issues when they arise on the streets. There are


a lot of different organisations, parts of community, that have a role


to play. I believe that the UK does have a role to play here. The United


Nations clearly has a role here and it can't and it shouldn't be parked


away, often because there is little media coverage. There is not much


information about what is happening in this part of world. And clearly


India and Pakistan don't just have a role, they have a responsibility to


do more to move away from the heat and the conflict in this situation


and find a better path to the future. And I also believe, because


we can see this in other conflicts zones around the world, that perhaps


a wider regional approach to finding peaceful solutions is also something


that should be explored. Often where there are bilateral disa agreements


between two countries in one region, trying to finds ways of saving face


on either side is incredibly difficult, as we have seen in the


middle east. There are arguments about involving other parties and


nations in that part of world to think about ways of breaking this


particular deadlock. I also think the Kashmiri community want to have


a role and do have a role, their a very vocal community in our country


and I think it is, as I have said to many groups that exist to press or


the attention to human rights and press for self-determination, it


would help if they can all co-ordinate, work together and also


communicate with members of Parliament in the new ways that we


need to operate. We are not getting information about what is happening


in that part of world. I think there is much more that could be done,


even on social media to make sure the wider community, policy makers


are aware of some of the issues. And I do think that effective


co-ordination would make a difference. So I would say we need


to start to think laterally about how to crack through this problem,


so we are not here again in two years time. What are the mechanisms


that could be open to try and find peaceful solutions? Well, I I think


that you the UK also has a role and should think about promoting


peace-keeping, encouraging governments to demilitarise and stop


the attacks and they should promote peace-building, which means


reversing some of the destructive steps that have been taking and they


should searching for negotiated solutions. Leaders Leaders in


Pakistan and India have to dial back on aggression and not be provoked by


individual attacks. Although there is difficult if they feel


governmental forces are alleged to be behind certain attacks. That


normalisation of situation in Kashmir is essential, so we can open


the routes and the channels for dialogue. We have to, as my


honourable friend for Bradford east and Birmingham said, go back to the


rule of law as a matter of urgency. To have accountability for the


police and the armed forces, where that has been lacking in many ways.


So I would call on the minister and the UK Government. I know there is a


long-standing position in terms of Foreign Office's policy on this. But


to think about ways of promoting conflict resolution, promoting


confidence-building measures between the different sides. For example, a


summit to learn the lessons of peace-making tactics that have been,


where the UK have been involved in times past. We know in Northern


Ireland it was a long-standing conflict and took a long time to get


people around the same table. There is expertise the UK Government has


and should find ways of applying it. I also think it is worth thinking


about economic development. And the role that economic development and


regeneration could have in reciprocation for dialogue we might


want to have. That has worked in other situations as well. So there


are many people who want the take part in the debate and I would want


to thank those from the Pakistani Kashmiri community who have made


strong representations to me. I'm going to be hosting on Friday 24th


February a Nottingham round table on the issue and try to bring together


as independently as I can, all those with an interest in the issue to try


and drill down into what the community is looking for and the


solutions that might be viable and to make those representations to the


Government. But I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to make that


point to the minister today. Thank you and it is a pleasure to follow


my honourable friend for Nottingham East. Particularly because I thought


it was a very solution-focussed speech. I would like to thank the


member for Bury North for securing and leading in terms of securing the


debate. I first visited Kashmir in 2011 after I was elected to serve


Rochdale. Kashmir was just as beautiful and the people as


welcoming as I told. But I knew this part of this world was fraught with


fear and tension. I heard from people on the ground about the human


rights abuses regularly carried out by the Indian army and since I have


kept a close eye on the situation. The brutality of the Indian army was


seen in full force last summer when unrest broke out in the region. The


use of live ammunition and pellet guns again public sector crowds was


entirely disproportionate and has been described by a number of


speakers today. I thank hi colleagues particularly for having


already raised those issues with our government. Tensions are still


simmering, manifesting in small clashes that could in the future


escalate. In such circumstances, Britain does have to step up to the


mark. We all know the old pottery barn rule, you break it, with well


then you have to fibgts. Thanks to -- you have to fibgts. Thanks to


imperial history there are plenty of broken pots across the world. It is


not acceptable for the British Government to wash their hands,


something I believe they're doing. And while I accept Pakistan and


India must at the front of striking a deal, there is no reason why


Britain can't play a more active role in bringing people around the


table and monitoring the human rights situation. It is my


understanding that during the British Prime Minister's meeting


with Indian premier, the issue of human rights abuses was not even


raised. Would the minister be able to confirm this when he wraps up? If


it's true what does it say about Britain's place in the world?


Earlier this week, the Prime Minister outlined her vision for a


global Britain. A Britain which was confident across the world. I


welcome this ambitious vision for our country. But I have my


reservations. I believe that this new outlook cannot solely be without


forging trade links across the world. The promotion of human rights


and liberal democratic values must be at the heart of British foreign


policy. If we are truly to wish to be a positive global player. I worry


in the coming years human rights will be pushed further down the


agenda as the Government seeks to secure Britain's economic future. We


have a expanded team working op international trade, who I'm sure


will be keen to strike some sort of free trade deal with India. I wonder


what this will mean for the people of Kashmir. It is perfectly


reasonable for a Prime Minister to raise sensitive issues like human


rights behind closed doors, as many Prime Ministers have done with their


counter parts in India previously. However, I'm not confident that


going forward this will happen. I would like the Government to provide


me and Britain's Kashmirry population with reassurances that


settling Kashmir will remain a part of the UK's dialogue with India and


Pakistan. Lastly, I would like too add that this not just about India


and Pakistan finding a solution, Kashmiries must also be part of any


future dialogue. Britain should promote their voice, a voice which


is too often shut out. And while we talk about human rights today. It is


important to remember the most important right for a peoples is the


right to self-determination. Therefore, I believe that it is


incumbent on the British Government to help the people of Kashmir


determine their own future. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for for


the member for Bury East for bringing the debate today. The


political situation in Kashmir continues to be a long-drawn-out


conflict, ranging back to 1947. Since then there there have been


surges in violence leading to the deaths of hundreds of civilians in


the area. Attempts a dialogue have been made by the Pakistani and


Indian Governments, ultimately these have amounted to nothing substantial


for the people of Kashmir and their calls for self-determination.


brutal 2010 has now been overshadowed by the summer of 2016


when we witnessed a tragic series of events which appeared to constitute


a violation of human rights. The killing of a rebel leader in


Kashmir, revered by the Pakistani population and known as a terrorist


by the Indian state, saw hundreds of Kashmiri citizens flood to the


streets in protest against the killing, such events are triggers


undoubtably in this long-standing conflict, often perpetrated by a


feeling of frustration and anger by the Kashmiri community who have


often found themselves restricted by curfews, limits to their freedom of


speech and at times humiliated at the hands of Indian officials. The


protesters threw stones when confronted by the Indian military.


The retaliation by the Indian military was staggering, they used


pellet guns in an attempt to disperse the crowds, although the


use of live bullets and CS gas also were noticeably present. By the end


of August, after six weeks of violence, 6000 civilians were


injured, almost 1000 of those suffered injuries to their eyes.


Pellet guns are seen as non-lethal crowd control weapons. But they have


devastating and long-lasting consequences. In a report, the


international network of civil liberties organisations and doctors


for human rights made clear, I quote, pellet rounds cause and


indiscriminate spray of an emission spreading widely and cannot be aimed


and are likely to be legal at close range and likely to be inaccurate


and indiscriminate at longer ranges. Most countries prohibit the use of


metal shots as excessively dangerous but several countries, such as


Bahrain and Egypt, use it regularly. It appears we should add India to


this list of states too. India is the largest democracy in the world


with a thriving economy and increasingly educated population. I


am therefore appalled by their attitude to the use of such methods


which are causing such damaging and at times life-threatening effects.


In the long term, such methods increase feelings of anger and


resentment within the Kashmiri community that no doubt will spring


over when something is triggers a reaction. I understand from an


answer by the baroness in the other House on the 23rd of December, in


response a question put forward on the 14th of December, that she


assures us the government of India is reviewing the use of pellet guns


in Kashmir. In a recent report it is suggested India will in future swap


this non-lethal method for alternative mechanisms. Whilst this


is welcomed, India must make a click it not used pellet guns in the


future and that any alternative crowd control mechanisms must be as


proportionately -- must be used proportionately and be in line with


human rights laws. India and Pakistan are both friends of the UK


but we should use this friendship to drive forward a policy of dialogue


between them on the issue of Kashmir. Respect for human rights,


freedom of speech and freedom of expression also. I strongly condemn


the violence in Kashmir, in particular the use of pellet guns,


and whilst we welcome the review into the review of that, it may fall


short of a clear commitment. As a member of the UN Security Council, I


really urge the Government to raise the matter of the human rights


abuses at the UN and to call for an investigation into the abuses.


Certainly, the contribution by my honourable friend, a wider look at


the human rights throughout the world, a review of that, that would


be welcome. It is in everybody pulls in interest that dialogue continues


on the issue of Kashmir said that a long sustainable solution is found


for the conflict that has already gone on for too long -- it is in


everybody's interests. The number of members we have got to want to catch


my eye for this debate and the following debate it means we will


drop the unofficial limit, there is no official limit, to 5-6 minutes,


and then we will come in on time. If members can keep to that, it would


be great. Thank you. I rise to support the motion to congratulate


the honourable member for Bury North for securing this debate. Like many


members, I represent a richly diverse constituency whose people


and that origins, more than 120 countries. Those whose family roots


are in Kashmir on one of the largest groups and one of the very many


advantages of having so many diaspora communities within my


constituency is that when we see issues around the world, we feel


them back home. For example, when the devastating earthquake hit


northern Pakistan in 2005, killing 90,000 people, leaving 3.5 million


homeless and destroying infrastructure, we felt the pain in


Sheffield. Through friends and neighbours whose families were in


the region. The city responded. As well as offering immediate support,


we set about raising funds for rebuilding infrastructure and


through those efforts, seven years later, Sheffield College opened on a


wooded hill overlooking the city above, a community at the heart of


the earthquake that had lost 10% of its population. I pay tribute to my


constituents and all of those who led the fundraising. Just as the


link through the diaspora community gives us a special responsibility


for natural disasters beyond our control, so it gives us a special


responsibility for those which we have shaped and which we can


influence. The UK clearly has a special responsibility dating back


to our occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and the terms of our


withdrawal after independence in 1947. When we see the sort of events


that have taken place since last July, it should focus us all once


more on seeking a settlement to one of the most long-standing post-war


grievances. The basis for the settlement should be, as others have


mentioned, UN Security Council resolution 47, agreed almost 70


years ago, in April, 1948, calling for a plebiscite for the people of


Kashmir to determine their own future. The wave of protests and


their suppression in the Kashmir valley following the killing have


been a tragedy for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir and should


have prompted a concerted effort by the international community for a


political solution. In response to a wave of strikes and rallies,


protests and demonstrations, the Indian authorities have responded


and many members have made this point with what looks to all the


world like disproportionate repression. In November, last year,


the BBC estimated that over 85 protesters had been killed.


Thousands more had been injured. As many members have cited, particular


concern has been the use of pellet guns by the Indian authorities.


These are guns firing shrapnel directly at protesters. As the BBC


reported, despite Indian soldiers supposedly being required by their


own standard operating procedure to target only the legs and only in


extremely volatile conditions, honourable members have described


the nature of these weapons, and 90% of those injured received injuries


above the waist, horrifying injuries, and again, as the BBC


reported, many children blinded. This simply cannot go on. I hope the


Government will make the strongest possible representations to the


Indian authorities and support that Amnesty International called for a


ban on the use of pellet guns. We need to go further. We need to


actively seek a political solution. When I tabled questions to the


Minister, and I have high regard for the Minister, back in September, he


confirmed a Government position and I quote, the long-standing position


of the UK is for India and Pakistan to find a solution in Kashmir. And


of course, that is right. But it is not enough. In other situations


around the world, where we see the sort of injustice we see in Kashmir,


and we see it exploding in the way it has recently, the international


community seeks to bring pressure to bear on the protagonists to seek a


solution and to engage with all the key stakeholders in making that


solution real. That is why my questions in September were asking,


what the UK Government was doing within the United Nations and indeed


within the Commonwealth to seek action. Frankly, the replies from


the Minister, that he had had no discussions and, and I quote again,


that the UK does not intend to support an international conference


or a plebiscite, in line with UN Security Council resolution 47, it


is simply unacceptable. In conclusion, I would ask him to think


again and just as the UK had played its part in creating this problem,


let us play our part in finding a solution. Madam Deputy Speaker,


thank you for calling me in this debate, I would also like to thank


the honourable gentleman for Bury North for bringing this debate to


the House. I would like to congratulate my honourable friend


for her detailed and passionate speech and my honourable friend from


Birmingham West for the determination and clarity with which


she gave her speech. Like many others in this place, I have been


horrified by the ongoing violence in Kashmir and I know that trying to


get peace for the region is of enormous importance to a great


number of my constituents. I remember when the honourable member


for Islington South came to speak to a packed out hole in our Pakistani


Kashmiri welfare Association centre, -- Hall. We heard heartbreaking


stories from my constituents, and anxiety intensified by frustration


at the seeming lack of political will to resolve the crisis. If the


Minister had been in the hall that afternoon, he would have been left


in no doubt at all about the urgency of the situation. I have also had a


number of constituents contact me in the lead up to this debate,


stressing their desire that peace be agreed in the short-term and


self-determination for the people of Kashmir be negotiated in the long


term. As we know, the long-standing position of the UK on Kashmir is


that it is for India and Pakistan to find a genuine political solution,


whilst respecting the wishes of the Kashmiri people. The Prime Minister


has previously stated it is not for the UK to prescribe solutions or act


as mediator. That said, we cannot ignore the urgency of the situation,


there are two nuclear powers with a volatile history of mistrust. As the


Minister will be aware under the partition plan of the Indian


independence act 1947, Kashmir was free to see seat either India or


Pakistan. Time does not permit me to give the full history but we cannot


avoid the fact there is a very clear link back to the complex and the


decision made here. We have a moral duty to encourage Pakistan and India


to commence peaceful negotiations to establish a long-term solution on


the future governance of Kashmir, based on the rights of the Kashmiri


people to determine their own future in accordance with the provisions of


the UN security resolutions. So far, we have not done enough. The Prime


Minister had the unique opportunity to raise human rights abuses in


Kashmir when she met with Prime Minister Modi in November. We have


have heard stated in the house the Parliamentary question that the


Prime Minister discussed Kashmir with the Indian Prime Minister but


sadly we have no information about what was said or agreed. We know


that the Prime Minister engaged in a charm offensive to secure a


lucrative trade deal with India. My concern, Madam Deputy Speaker, is


the Prime Minister's anxiety to secure a trade deal may have


diverted for comments on Kashmir. With that in mind, I would be very


raised with her counterparts and the expand on what the Prime Minister


raised with her counterparts and the responses she received. Did the


Prime Minister, for instance, raised the issue of arbitrary and excessive


force carried out by the Indian security forces? Can the British


Kashmiri people be assured their Prime Minister took meaningful steps


to leave Prime Minister Modi in no doubt that the conflict is


completely unacceptable? Amnesty International have stated this


excessive use of violence has violated international standards and


worsened existing human rights crisis in the region. The world has


witnessed in this flare-up of violence since July, 2016, it has


left us shocked. A devastating loss of civilian life and injuries


counted in their thousands, closures of universities and schools, general


strikes, curfews, the closure of media outlets and mobile phone


services. As we have discussed in this House, the use of pellet guns


by the authorities has left people blind with severe injuries and lives


have been lost. I wholeheartedly support Amnesty International's call


for a ban on pellet guns being used against stonethrowing protesters.


The injuries pellet guns believe are devastating.


A girl who had dreams of being a doctor was hit by a bullet. She


wants to know what she did wrong. A constituent told me of the state of


anxiety his family live in. Some are lucky enough to have made it out to


Pakistan. Others are left living in fear. The women and girls in his


family don't leave the house for fear they will be raped or attacked.


The men folk have to tell family where they are going, in case they


don't return. According to Asia Watch rape by police and the armed


militia is commonplace in Kashmir and the victims are generally poor


women and those who are vulnerable and low caste. Vicious acts that go


unpunished the British Kashmiri community have been at pains to


stress they want a peaceful solution. The lives of their friends


and family rely on it. Going forward from this debate, we must continue


to call on all parties to encage in meaning -- engage in meaningful


dialogue to break the cycle of violence on the breach of human


rights and seek a lasting solution to the issue. The wishes of Kashmiri


people must be at the forefront of those negotiations, because the


world is watching. It is a pleasure to speak in this important debate.


Can I congratulate my honourable friend for Batley on a fine speech


and I think she is a great addition to this House. So much has been said


which I could have said and doesn't need to be repeated. I commend so


many of these serious, important speeches that have been made. As


with many members, I represent several thousand Kashmir


constituents. Many came long ago, but they have not forgotten the


painful experience that continue. These experiences have become worse


and we must stand against the violence. The government must be


pressed to do more in international forums to secure an end to this. I


have spoken before on this and have in the past been with other members


to the Foreign Office making representations to ministers to


press them to use their influence to help eliminate the human rights


violations as a first step to restol ving the -- resolving the dispute. I


have visited Kashmir to a town where many of my constituents come from. I


have been too the region myself and it is not just a distant continent.


Both inds and Pakistan are nuclear powers and Kashmir is the prime


source of tension between the country and it is of the greatest


concern to the wider world that we find a solution to the Kashmir


dispute to make the world a safer place. I have had many meetings in


Luton with local Kashmiri constituents, while all want freedom


for the people there, there is a range of views about the future of


Kashmir. Some believe it should become part of Pakistan. No doubt


others will want it to remain part of India. Others want Kashmir to be


an independent state. The concept that unites all is that they should


decide their future for themselves. They should have self-determine


nation. I support the Kashmiris in that aspiration. They should


determine their own future and we should support them. Thank you.


According to Reuters at least 80 citizens were killed by Indian


forces between July and December last year. Many were in protests.


The protest began on the 8th July after the death of Burhan Wani, the


leader of the Kashmiri independence group. The authorities imposed a


curfew, disabled the internet access and mobile phone networks, but this


didn't prevent an escalation. Tear gas and live ammunition was used to


disperse crowds. There has been expensive contributions about the


use of pellet guns to disperse protesters which have the effect of


blinding those they hit. And at close range, but hundreds of


projectiles the, these weapons fire, can carry enough energy to penetrate


skin and organs and can therefore be fatal if they are fired at much of


the body. A very large number of the pellet injuries have been to the


face, with 570 people seeking treatment for eye injuries as a


result of pellet shootings at the main hospital in the area by 8th


November. According to figures from the hospital, more eye injuries,


more eye surgeries were performed in three days in July than throughout


the whole of the previous three years. That cannot be right. Many


children were among those who have lost their sight as a result of such


tactics. In the case of a 13-year-old, the pellets penetrated


deeply enough to be embedded in his lungs and heart. In that another


person also 13, the pellet injurives to his head and chest were severe


enough to kill him. At a minimum, this evidence that, this is evidence


that insufficient care is being taken to ensure that civilians are


not seriously injured by security force tactics. But it is also


suggestive of something more serious, that the security forces


are intentionally using tactics that in effect blind civilians to


discourage protests against civilian rule, against Indian rule. According


to a spokesperson for the state government the use of pellet guns is


a necessary evil. But it is not. And it will never be necessary for


security forces to blind children to ensure the restoration of order.


Both India and Pakistan have been responsible for deaths from army


shelling and military raids across the line of control in recent months


in a cycle of retribution that claims civil lives and those of


soldiers. There are accusations that Pakistan has used the unrest of


ordinary people as a cover for renewed attempts by proxy groups to


enter and further destabilise the bored regions under -- border


regions under Indian control. I'm sure the minister is troubled by


recent reports of like these. But equally disturbing is what goes on


behind the scenes. Amnesty cites the example of a prominent Kashmiri


human rights defender who was arrested repeatedly and held without


process for 75 days last year. Eventually, his detention was ruled


to barbitrary and his release was secured after international pressure


in November. I'm pleased that the minister's in his place and I beg


him to hear the international pressure does have effect. This is


part of a pattern that human rights organisations have been detailing


for years, plainly in amnesty's 2015 publication. Their view is the


situation this report describes remains largely unchanged. Due


process is still frequently denied both to those accused of militant


activity or support and to those victims of state security abuses and


their family and communities who never see any progress towards


justice and peace. As we continue to work on these issues, we must ensure


that humanitarian concerns remain at the forefront of our minds. It is


clear this conflict has gone on too long and many individual stories


that we have heard are nothing new. Much of the conflict goes on away


from the eyes of western world. But I'm hoping that this debate will


begin to change things and I hope the government will renew efforts to


create opportunities for dialogue between India and Pakistan to


discourage escalation and to facilitate where it can a permanent


settlement that gives Kashmiris a genuine voice. To quote Nelson


Mandela, it is easy to break down and destroy, the real heroes are


those that make peace and build. Thank you, can I welcome this debate


and I hope that on the subject of Kashmir our Government, which is now


in post Brexit world an outward-looking Government, which


wants to develop its foreign policy may want to use Kashmir as a good


example, where it can use the new clout it has got in a way perhaps


that it has failed to do I'm afraid to say in relation to Israel and


Palestine, where I had assurances from the Foreign Secretary last week


that the Government was involved in all fora for seeking a solution.


What members when they heard the Foreign Secretary state that didn't


realise, was he meant the government was not going to send any ministers


to the Paris conference. I think this is going to be a subject of a


future debate and it would be inappropriate to focus on in this


debate. But we have heard many contributions from members with


significant Kashmiri communities and have run through the history and set


out some distressing the descriptions of injuries and deaths


that have occurred in Kashmir and the human rights abuses they have


suffered. I'm not go to repeat those. What I want to do in the few


minutes available is to put some questions to the minister and hope


he will be able to either off his own bat or through inspiration from


people who assist him, provide answers. Firstly the first question


is does the minister accept that this is an international conflict,


which requires the international community to assist in its


resolution and particularly the United Kingdom. Does he support the


idea of an international investigation into the human rights


abuses committed by the Indian army or any other alleged perpetrators.


Does he accept that as long as the Indian army presence is on the scale


that it is at, in terms of representation throughout towns in


Kashmir that these allegations are going to resurface regularly. Does


the UK Government challenge the Indian Government on the immunity


that is granted to its army, does his Government challenge the use of


pellets that many members have referred to in the debate? And also


does the UK Government regularly raise the issue of human rights in


Kashmir? My friend Lord Hussein in the House of Lords in December asked


whether the Prime Minister had specifically raised the issue of


human rights abuses in Kashmir in her discussions with Prime Minister


Modi, but he did not receive an answer to that question. Finally in


terms of questions, what exactly is the role of China? We haven't heard


much about China I think raised by other members. Clearly they are one


of occupying powers, albeit in the more sparsely occupied area. What is


their role in this conflict? In relation to solutions, I think the


member for Rochdale suggested that the member for Nottingham east had


put forward a solution-focussed speech. I hope to put to the


minister a possible way forward, that is first that the line of


control needs to be open so that family ties can be re-established as


well as cultural ties. Perhaps follow bed I the formation of a


Kashmir forum to negotiate the powers that could be ceded by


Pakistan and India Government and perhaps a treaty on power provision


and water and for the defence needs of the countries. That might be a


way forward. I hope the minister can set out what the government's


approach will be. Because as other members have stated, Kashmir is


another long-standing dispute in which the UK played a central role


in creating the conditions which led to the conflict and must now play an


equally critical role in resolving it. We hust hear from the minister


in his response how he sees our role developing, what our role in the


peace process will be and how peace in Kashmir will be secured.


Thank you. It is a pleasure to follow the speech from the


honourable member and I too want to congratulate the honourable member


for Bury North for securing the debate. I am proud to have been a


member of the all-party group for 12 years and to have been a secretary


of the group in the past. I want to pay tribute in particular to the


speech as we have heard from my honourable friends from Birmingham


and Bradford who I thought spoke with particular power. When I look


back at the 12 years in which I have campaigned on this issue in this


House, I'm afraid it is the lack of progress I have to mark on, not the


progress I think we can celebrate. Of course there has been some


advances when it comes to controls at the border, the matter of trade,


the issue of transport, but the truth is that today we are not a


step closer to honouring the basic requirement set out in the UN


mandate all those years ago. To grant the right, not the privilege,


the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. Over the last


12 years, there have been calls for free movement of human rights


observers and the media in the area of Kashmir and my goodness, the


events of the last six months have underlined why we were so right to


call for that. The abuses perpetrated, pellet guns, rape,


chilli powder, they have maimed, scarred and destroyed lives. Not


just this generation, but the memories of the abuse will cascade


down generations to come, not making the solution or the arrival of peace


any faster, it will make it tougher and slower. We have to ask ourselves


why it is that we learnt so much about the abuse is not from the


mainstream media but from social media. I want to pay to do to those


who had the courage to post news about the atrocities so that the


world and those in this House could not look away. We could see it on


our phones, on our screens. The BBC has at least started to produce some


coverage but it is of no comparison to the kind of coverage we used to


see from South Africa when I was a teenager or Israel and Palestine


week in, week out. We have to call on our media organisations to give


us the benefit of transparency so that the world is forced to look at


what is happening. I think the moral arguments for a solution are pretty


clear and we heard them well articulated this afternoon. My


honourable friend began to allude to some of the geopolitical demands for


a solution too. China's new Silk Road strategy will see 4-6 trillion


dollars of investment poured into the business of integrating the


landmass. Yesterday we celebrated in Dagenham the arrival of the first


train direct from China. This great continent is changing. Relations


between China and Pakistan are changing. If we get this right,


there is a tremendous economic prize ahead. The principal beneficiaries


of the prize could be India and Pakistan. But not if they continued


to pour money and arms and troops into the most heavily defended and


dangerous border on earth. That is why both sides now surely have an


interest in a solution and why we have a moral obligation in this


House to help push the solution forward. I have been part of a group


of people in this House, we have argued for change for 12 years. It


is time to have some honesty and candour about whether that political


strategy will produce any more change, any further advance in the


12 years ahead. I have to say, I do not think it will. I think we now


have to look in this House to other Parliaments around the world, in


Europe, in the developing world, in the US, and begin to think


international alliance of how can we construct an


We know about the limitations of the We know about the limitations of the


UN, it has not made progress in the UN, it has not made progress in the


last 50, 60 years, do we believe it last 50, 60 years, do we believe it


will make more progress in the years ahead? Let us take direct action


now, not on our own but in alliance with others who believe in the same


some basic changes that all of us some basic changes that all of us


want to see, the repeal of the special forces act which is in clear


breach of the UN obligation that India has signed up to, a ban on


pellet guns, like many have called for this afternoon, free movement of


human rights groups through Kashmir, an investigation into the 2200 mass


graves that we know of and self-determination for the people of


Kashmir. We have to make a choice in this House, about whether we stand


on the sidelines of this debate as impotent bystanders or whether we


are going to be protagonists for change, just as we were in the case


of South Africa, just as we were in the case of Burma. One of my


constituents put it to me like this. The people of Jammu and Kashmir seek


a peaceful resolution, they want their country to be a bridge of


peace and not a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. We


should support this motion and support that basic instinct. Thank


you. It is a real privilege to follow that incredibly articulate


speech from my honourable friend. I think this has been a really


excellent debate this afternoon, can I pay tribute to all the


contributions? Particularly my colleagues from neighbouring


constituencies, we will have significant Kashmiri communities in


our constituencies and we share those communities and I thank them


for their contributions today as well. I want to congratulate the


honourable member for Bury North on securing this debate but also for


the broader contribution of the Kashmir all-party Parliamentary


group which has sought to keep Kashmir on the political agenda in


the UK. Often with varying degrees of success. That is despite its best


efforts. In preparation for this debate today, I watched the


recording of the last debate on Kashmir which was secured by the


then Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East, David ward, in 2014.


That was also a backbench business debate and it is testament to the


committee that they are able to find time to debate the issues that are


so often overlooked in the day-to-day business of this House. I


want to thank them again for allowing time for this debate. Many


of my constituents in Halifax are of Kashmiri heritage and Halifax will


always keep a close eye on what is happening in that part of the world.


Before Christmas I met with a number of local residents at the mosque in


my constituency for a constructive discussion about the deterioration


in the situation in Kashmir and also to consider what practical steps we


honourable member has just made this honourable member has just made this


point but I raised one of the challenges for me having access to


the latest information directly from the region. We know this is both a


consequence of the restrictions in place on the ground and I also


worried that because it is a conflict that has gone unresolved


for so long, it is overshadowed and overlooked and unreported by the


mainstream media and that is a challenge for all of us to try to


get it back on the media platforms. Given the Foreign Office in a


written response to my honourable friend said we currently have


limited access to the Kashmir valley and this makes it challenging to


obtain accurate information on the situation. You will appreciate that.


The families in Halifax and other communities in the UK, the problem


for them is not that they cannot access information, as information


comes directly from their and friends still in Kashmir, their


challenge is the sense of helplessness on hearing just how


desperate the situation has become, feeling unable to protect loved ones


and unable to bring about the civil protection and stability we need to


keep people safe and to work towards our long-term sustainable solution


to the conflict. We discussed a number of things at that meeting in


Halifax and one of the things we discussed was the role constituents


might be able to play in securing a debate in the future. Whilst we are


all frustrated with how long this has gone unresolved, it is just the


little bit of progress we are able to have this debate in the main


Chamber today. In the debate in 2014, in the opening speech, it was


outlined the conflict is long-standing and complex will stop


one of the longest-running territorial disputes in the world


between two nuclear powers. It is astonishing to think the world does


not pay more attention to this issue. We have failed to make


progress as the debate in 2014 and we know that the situation has


deteriorated. As the motion outlines, we have grown increasingly


alarmed at the recent escalation in violence on the Indian side on the


line of control and depressingly it has gone backwards, I would say. I


could spend a long time going through the incident room and


timeline as to how we have got to where we are today but a number of


members have done that -- through the incidents. I am fairly confident


the Minister will tell us it is the UK's long-standing position it is


for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation


taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people and it is not


for the UK to prescribe a solution or act as a media, which I have


heard one of occasions in responses to both written and oral questions.


-- act as a mediator. I appreciate the complexity and I do not believe


anyone is asking the Government to prescribe this illusion. Must I


believe that -- what I believe in self-determination for Kashmir, that


is the only way to bring about a long-term solution. We do have a


responsibility to seek to put a stop to the human rights abuses and that


is the work I am asking the Government to undertake today. When


tensions dramatically escalated last summer, we saw a sharp rise in the


use of pellet firing shotguns by the Indian forces to control crowds. I


will not go through the arguments for that particular horror in the


damaged the pellet guns have done as honourable members have already done


it so articulately. I would like to refer to a report produced by


Doctors Without Borders, MSF, published back in 2008. The research


was undertaken a number of years ago but it is the most comprehensive


attempt I can find of mapping the health requirements of Kashmiri


people living in close proximity to the line of control in terms of


physical and mental well-being. I found it a harrowing read and given


that the situation has only deteriorated since 2008, I thought


it was worth sharing some of the findings. The research conducted


involved household surveys in person in two districts in the Indian


controlled region of Kashmir. 510 interviews were completed and of


those staggering 86% reported frequent confrontations with


violence including exposure to crossfire. 67% said they had


witnessed torture with 34% saying they had self experience of forced


labour. The report found violence affects nearly everybody living in


Kashmir. 40% said they had witnessed somebody being killed with


horrifying 13% saying they had witnessed rape. Inevitably, MSF


concluded that not only were the requirements of the region high in


terms of physical injuries but the prevalence of insecurity and


violence inevitably had substantial implications for mental health. A


third of those interviewed had contemplated suicide. A third of the


Beeb are interviewed as part of the study. Over a third had symptoms of


psychological distress. Amongst women, it was higher. The prospects


of any economic generation are hopeless in no circumstances in the


face of such conflict. 53% of those interviewed in the study had no


schooling and 24% had high or total dependence on charities. The


sustainable development goal high on the world's agenda, can I ask the


Minister to work with his colleagues to explore all of the ways we can


improve the situation? We cannot make progress for education, health,


to alleviate poverty or support economic recovery unless the


violence stops. Pakistan and India are world players and have


obligations under the sustainable development goals. How can we ensure


Kashmir does not get left behind? As one of the current chairs for fair


trade, one of the things we discussed about meeting in Halifax


is the role fair trade might be able to play in terms of the direct link


my local town can have in supporting little independent businesses in


Kashmir that might support economic recovery. I can see it -- I can see


I am being encouraged to wind-up. It is always a pleasure to speak on any


issue in relation to human rights. Can I congratulate the honourable


gentleman for setting the scene so very well? Some of the most


incredible speeches made on the half of all of the right honourable


members here on an issue that clearly fires of them in relation to


what they want to speak about and I will add my contribution, if I can.


It is well known in the House but I am a passionate speaker about human


rights. Human rights in India provide fundamental rights which


should include freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Very clearly


on many occasions they fall short. Despite every individual having this


right in India, Kashmir often experiences violence with the Indian


Army and various separatist militant groups have been accused and held


accountable for severe human rights abuses against civilians. They have


not been held accountable enough in relation to some of the things they


have carried out and that worries us considerably. I believe we have a


role to play in this and we should use any diplomatic influence we have


to bring about change and ask for change and that is part of the role


we have in this place. Human rights are often defined as principles that


any human is entitled to, individuals targeted with


violence... As, the targets are early charged and that has to be


addressed as well. That's the Minister can give us an idea of how


that can be addressed. How can we make those carrying out the attacks


accountable? It shows the government have little


interest in speaking out on atrocities. They have a Nelson's eye


and don't see what is happening. Certain minorities are often exposed


to d to human rights issues and groups such as Christians are often


targeted. In India Christian minorities assert that the


authorities don't do enough to stop the violence against them, which is


often perpetrated by Hindu nationals. They harass Christians to


stop conversions which they see as a threat to the Hindu faith and those


things have concerned me. I have spoken about that before I and I do


likewise today. The human rights policy does state the freedom of


religion and asked Christians if they feel free to share their faith.


They don't and we have to make that clear. When asked that question they


feel threatened and fearle and they need help. In 2016 the BBC reported


violent actions against civilians. That included the arson of churches,


forced re-conversions and the rape of Nunns and Christian young girls.


Others have referred to the attacks on women and girls. As well as


murder, murder takes place against Christian priests and other key


figures. I believe we cannot sit by and watch and not at least attempt


within this House and the democratic process and within our areas of


influence to see that murders carried out with no redress, there


must be an and there has to be investigations, accountability for


the atrocities to the murders to the genocidal Compiegne against --


campaign against Christians in Kashmir. In 2008 the anti-Christian


riots killed at least 50 Christian people. And some 730 houses and 95


Christian churches. These are not just stats. These are the facts of


life for many people and what they have been subjected to. Stones have


been thrown but people's window and nothing was done. The police turned


a blind eye as if they didn't see it. Violent attacks to minority


groups have been an ongoing issue. We must play in a part in this, and


it is often said but it does make it less an important one, evil triumphs


with good people do nothing and we must do something. We can influence


that through our common wealth ties and we must speak up for those who


can't speak for themselves and we must be a voice for those who look


to us to speak on their behalf and these innocent people have faced


murder and forced d disappearance. India and Pakistan have called


curfews to refrain from violence and without any success. Senior figures


are encountered an escalation of tension and that is a fear we have


that things could get worse. The steps that have been taken are not


enough and I believe we must do more. We must I believe speak for


all those whose cries ring today in our ears and we are bound to respond


in this democratic process, in the greatest seat of democracy, we have


the greatest opportunity to speak for those people and let's make the


voice clear as it has been from all parties, we look to our minister


today for him to respond and to outline action that will bring about


change and change now and we can change and we have to change the


policies that are taking place in Kashmir. Those people need us to


speak for them and we are duty bound I believe to answer. Thank you.


Thank you. Can I congratulate the member for Bury North for securing


this important debate and we have heard some magnificent


contributions. Some from those of us who have roots in the area and from


a personal view and others who are speaking strongly and with


determination and passion on behalf of our constituents. I hope that the


feeling in the chamber is instructive to the minister in terms


of direction that the members of the chamber would like the Foreign


Office to take in terms of future relations with India and Pakistan.


The SNP support this motion, which calls on the Government to encourage


Pakistan and India to commerce peace negotiations to establish a


long-term solution to Kashmir. It is vital that we use the influence we


have as friends of both nations to encourage people in authorities to


work together to calm tensions and reduce violence. In particular, the


Indian authorities the should be encouraged to engage in genuine and


constructive dialogue with moderate factions in Indian-administered


Kashmir and help such groups over armed militants. We support the


right of people to secure their own future and call on all parties to


recognise that right that exists and we urge the UK Government and


international community to support the UN Secretary General in his


efforts at mediation and serving as an honest broker between inds and


Pakistan. We understand this is a difficult and long-lasting issue and


Kashmir has been a disputed territory since 1947. In the last


year we have seen a significant and regrettable escalation in violence.


There was considerable unrest in Kashmir throughout 2016,


particularly in Indian administered area when a militant was killed. In


the violence over a hundred people were killed and 11,000 injured. A


great many sustaining serious eye injuries when fired upon by the


police with pellet guns. Human rights Watch have called for Indian


authorities to launch an impartial investigation into the use of lethal


force and pellet guns and on the 6th December physicians issues a report


accusing Indian police and paramilitary forces of using


excessive force against protesters and block medical care. The member


for Bradford made an excellent point about human rights. Wherever human


rights abuse occurs, we must call it out. But it must feel to many that


we prioritise the human rights of others. This must not and will not


continue. We urge the Indian forces to exert greater caution and


restraint in their methods of crowd control, including by discontinuing


the practice of firing pellet dpuns. The authorities must allow full and


unrestricted access to people so medical care can be administered and


above all facilitate treatment by specialised eye doctors to the many


people injured by these guns. At the same time, we urge organisers of


protest to deter supports from engaging in violence. Although the


violence has reduced, local leaders have promised that there is more to


come. Of concern are the continuing clashes between Indian and Pakistani


forces that have been ongoing for some time and there have been


exchanges of fire along the line of control, including the Indian


artillery shelling that reportedly hit a school bus, killing the driver


and wounding several children and in January, India security forces


killed three militants in an operation described as a continued


act of state terrorism. This escalation in military action is of


great concern and it would be wise for both governments, both


governments to reflect on the actions and tone down the


increasingly violent rhetoric. There have been increasing suggestions


that the Indian Government is considering using water as a means


of applying pressure on Pakistan. Tension should not affect other


aspects of the relationship. Pakistan depends on the six rivers


of the area, which flow through India before reaching Pakistan. The


rivers provide water and livelihoods to three quarters of Pakistan's


population. More than 95% of the irrigated land is in the area and


farming amounts to a quarter of Pakistan's GDP. In 1960 the


countries signed a treaty to guarantee Pakistan's access to water


and provided for inspections and arbitration processes. The treaty is


regarded as the most successful example of an international


agreement on water and has survived three wars. However, India's


threatening to revise the treaty or moderate the access to water. This


is a deeply regrettable affect which could have dangerous implications


for the region. The India Prime Minister held a review of the treaty


in September, outlining provisions which India could use to apply


pressure on Pakistan and stated, blood and water cannot flow


simultaneously. So the foreign policy advisor responded, stating


that the revocation of the treaty would be considered an act of war.


On 12th December the world bank halted two arbitration processes,


citing concerns that current tension could endanger the treaty. We urge


all parties to uphold the water treaty in letter and in spirit. And


not to use vital access to water as a means of diplomatic leverage. That


is just full wrong. Within the scope of the treaty, any changes should be


agreed through the proper channels and only after very careful


consideration of the humanitarian and economic consequences to the


people in the area. We encourage the UK Government and the international


community to provide all necessary support to the world bank in


itarbitration of treaty and encourage the countries to continue


to implement the treaty provisions, regardless of the tensions caused by


other developments. In conclusion, the SNP supports the motion and the


hugely constructive debate. The Government must continue to


encourage Pakistan and India to start peace negotiations, the


Kashmiry people should be able to determine their own future in


accordance with the provisions of the UN solution. It is in even's


interest that long-term solution can be found on the future governance of


the beautiful place that is Kashmir. Thank you. I would like to start by


thanking the member for Bury North for securing this important debate.


And to the backbench business committee for granting it. The


member for Bury North spoke on behalf of his constituents of


Pakistani and Kashmiri origin. I would like to thank all members from


across the House for contributing to an excellent debate which has


highlighted many serious matters of human rights abuses, the


intensification of violence, while advocating the need for conflict


resolution instead of mill Friday escalation and the ability --


instead of military escalation. And we have heard some powerful speeches


on human rights abuses and civil liberties. Notably from the members


for Birmingham, Harrow east and Sheffield and West Ham, and Halifax


and Strang fords. And the member for Wealden called, questioned the


political will of UN for a peaceful resolution. The right to


self-determine nation was mentioned by among others the members for


Bradford east and calls for the Government to work to settle the


situation were made by the members for Bradford West, Nottingham east,


Rochdale and Batley and Spen. Our historic responsibility to


Kashmir was highlighted by the honourable members for Wycombe and


Sheffield Central. The role of China which has not been referred to a


great deal in this debate was highlighted at its chilly by the


honourable members for Carshalton and four Chilcot highlighted


particularly. The Kashmiri people have seen conflict perpetually on


the rise over the last year. It is the worst spate of violence in the


region since 2010 one 110 people lost their lives. And inside and


outside of this house, I and alongside many others, have already


called for a ban on pellet guns alongside tear gas and live


ammunition in civilian areas. Could the Minister update us on the


current situation in the Jammu region, in particular that of the


police and the Muslim community? 400 people have been detained while


Indian security forces under the regressive public safety act which


allows preventative detention and violates international jury process


standards in Kashmir. Human rights watch and in Amnesty International


have called it a lawless law and they have called for the Indian


authorities to end the use of the public safety act. People should be


properly charged and given further aisles. Does the Minister agree with


the NGOs' assessment of the public safety act? The region have seen the


introduction and implementation of numerous curfews over this


disruptive period, the longest of which lasted 53 days. Mobile phone


services have been down and media blackouts have been imposed leading


to numerous protests, including a series of general strikes, the


closure of schools and universities, and regular public rallies against


Indian rule. This of course is not a one-sided affair. We would also


encourage Prime Minister Sharif and his government to condemn and begin


immediately to take action against abusive militant groups operating in


Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of India. This would be an important


move to help extinguish the conflict in the region. With the UK


Government also take a look at its future military aid and sales,


programmes of military cooperation with Pakistan, on the condition that


it begins to take significant steps to address attacks by militant


groups in the region? Another matter of concern is the nuclear weapons


arms race going on between the two countries which has escalated in the


past 12 months. This is also intertwined with the relationship


either side with China or the new United States administration. Could


the Government update the House if it has raised any issue with by the


government on the nuclear arsenal investment in testing? The unrest


has led to the tragic loss of over 80 lives in violent clashes since


the beginning of July, including the life of a police officer and 19


soldiers killed in a militant attack on a security base. Sadly, the


violence continues to this day with approximately 4000 people wounded in


this seven-month period. The line of control is at the heart of the


divisional tension, with both countries cranking up the levels of


rhetoric and military action on the border. I would like to ask the


Government what specifically it is doing to counter this ongoing


retaliation, given the history of the line of control. Even as


recently as 2015, it has seen disastrous costs were Indian and


Pakistani border guards traded gunfire leaving nine civilians dead


and another 62 injured. As a symbolic destination for her fast


first trip abroad as Prime Minister, we welcomed the visit to India,


given our country's historic ties. But I would like to ask the


honourable members today, what honourable members today, what


discussions has she had with Prime discussions has she had with Prime


Minister Modi? The visit was at the height of the current troubles.


Could the Minister tell us what progress has come through such


diplomatic talks? I think the Minister would find support for such


a question among his own backbenchers, particularly notably


the honourable member. Could he inform us whether the Foreign


Secretary ever discussed the letter sent to him just prior to the Prime


Minister's visit by my right honourable friend the Shadow Foreign


Secretary, raising the issues of human rights and civil liberties in


Kashmir? On the issue of Kashmir, it should be stated for the record that


Labour party policy on this matter has not changed, it is the same as


it was in government. We must allow all parties who are directly


involved to determine the future through peaceful dialogue and


cooperation. We also acknowledge the importance of the work of


international organisations, particularly the UN, and their


efforts to negotiate with all parties and member states involved


to bring India and Pakistan to the negotiating table. We continue to in


courage both India and Pakistan to seek a lasting resolution in


accordance with the provision of the UN Security Council resolutions


which take into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We believe


their wishes are a fundamental aspect of the success of the process


and to obtaining peace in the region. While in government, Labour,


through the conflict prevention programme, funded a number of


projects designed to support efforts to facilitate dialogue which


addressed the causes and impact of conflict and propose to create


improvements in the quality of life experienced by Kashmiris. In 2010,


the first opinion poll to be conducted on both sides of the line


of control since the UN brokered ceasefire in 1949 was taken. It was


found that despite the complexity of the political situation, there are


other clear concerns for the Kashmiri people, namely, 81% say


unemployment is the most significant problem facing Kashmiris. Love and


corruption, poor economic element and human rights abuses all polled


highly on a list of concerns that require government corruption.


Kashmiri citizens wish for an end to the indecision, the dispute, the


division, so that they can have access to economic prosperity, good


education and vital health care. These should be the main points of


consideration of the dialogue and action is going forward in 2017. The


need for a rapid response to the situation in Kashmir is now upon us.


I hope that the whole house and the Minister will agree with me that we


must ensure that the UN are involved at every stage of the process. The


new UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutierrez, on his first day in


office alleged to make 2017 the year of peace. I hope these words can


lead to a rapprochement and then reach a long-term resolution between


the two countries step-by-step. The first step forward must be accepting


the role of humanitarian law and that the starting point for


negotiations between the bordering nations must be to uphold the UN


universal declaration of human rights, ensuring equal and in a


viewable rights took all Kashmiri people -- equal and inalienable


rights. We have had a long debate, a very detailed discussion and some


extremely powerful speeches from both sides and I'm very grateful to


all members who have contributed today. I also congratulate my


honourable friend, the member for Bury North, for securing this debate


and I would like to thank the members of the Kashmir all-party


Parliamentary group for their commitment to the issue and for


welcoming me to their meeting in December. As the member for Bury


North stated in his speech, this is a region with a long and complex


history. Of course, the situation in Kashmir continues to attract


significant public attention and Parliamentary interest in the UK, as


we have seen in this debate. Not least because of the thousands of


British nationals with connections to Kashmir. It has been estimated


that two thirds of British Pakistanis hail from Pakistan


administered Kashmir. Before I respond to the very many points


raised by members, I would like to set out briefly the Government's


position on Kashmir and on India - Pakistan relations. A number of


members set out what they believe to be the Government's position and I


can confirm that it is indeed consistent, it has been the


long-standing position of successive governments of all hues and the


honourable lady has also stated that the opposition's position on this


issue has not changed. India and Pakistan are both long-standing and


important friends of the UK. We have significant links to both countries


through Indian and Pakistani desperate communities. I have many


in my own constituency who live in the UK. -- diaspora communities. We


have strong bilateral links which we hope to make stronger. The


long-standing position of the UK is that it can either prescribe a


solution to the situation in Kashmir nor act as a mediator will stop it


is for the governments of India and Pakistan to find a lasting


resolution, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people -- act


as a mediator. We encourage both sides to maintain a positive


dialogue in the discussions we have with both India and Pakistan but the


pace and scope of this is for them to determine. Let me take the issues


as they have come up in this debate. Firstly, the discussion on the


violence across the line of control. I agree, in order to maintain


regional stability and prosperity, a strong relationship between India


and Pakistan is absolutely crucial and I am pleased that the escalation


of incidents along the line of control have shown some signs of


decreasing in the run-up to Christmas, but I know there have


been recent reports of renewed activity this year. A number of


members talked about the issue of combating terrorism. Following the


attack on the Indian military base last September, the Foreign


Secretary Mariah -- my right honourable friend, condemned all


forms of terrorism in the region, stating UK stands shoulder to


shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism and in bringing


the perpetrators to justice. He reiterated that message during a


visit to Pakistan shortly before Christmas. Following her visit to


India last November, the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi


released a joint statement in which they reiterated their strong


commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.


They also stressed there can be no justification for acts of terror on


any grounds. The UK and Pakistan are of course also committed to working


together to combat the terrorist threat and extremism that sustains


it in line with human rights. The UK readily highlights to Pakistan at


the highest level the importance of taking effective action against all


terrorist groups operating in Pakistan, as Pakistan has committed


to do. The UK will continue to encourage both India and Pakistan to


ensure channels of dialogue remain open as a means of resolving


differences. There was a discussion on the use of pellet guns. Very many


members raised that issue. Let me just address that straightaway. I


have said on a number of occasions in this House that I am very


concerned by the violence in Indian administered Kashmir and I extend my


condolences to the victims of violence and their families. I have


also is discussed with representatives from the Indian


government the use of pellet guns and alternative methods of crowd


control. The use of pellet guns has come under review by the government


of India and the results of the review have not yet been shared


publicly. I understand that alternative methods are now being


used. I believe that since last September, pellet guns were replaced


with chilli powder shells as a preferred non-lethal crowd control


device. From media reporting, it appears the number of fraternities


and injuries have seen a decline since then. I am sure the whole


House would welcome this and we will continue to monitor the situation --


the number of fatalities and injuries. The Public safety act was


raised by a number of members and we are aware of the concerns regarding


allegations of immunity from prosecution by Indian Armed Forces


personnel in Indian administered Kashmir under the Public safety act.


The Indian public has put in place then this is -- the Indian public


has put in place a mechanism by which this can be investigated.


Domestic laws must be in line with international standards. Any


allegations of human rights abuse must be investigated thoroughly,


promptly and transparently. I also understand that on the 11th of


January of this year, the chief minister told the state assembly


that the Indian government has ordered the establishment of special


investigating teams into the deaths of civilians and also looking at the


involvement of police personnel during the unrest of the past.


There was a discussion around confidence-building measures. Would


he allow me. Of course. On the the face of it is encouraging that the


investigations have been launched, will the Government take steps to


make sure there is confidence that the investigations can be relied on


to determine what is true? Of course, I thank my honourable friend


for that intervention. Of course we continue to monitor the whole


situation in the region and let me come on to talking about the UN and


other such mat Feres he will allow me. -- and other such matters if he


will allow me. And the UK supports a number of existing initiatives to


encourage open dialogue between Pakistan and India on the basis they


can share their views in confidence and we hope those opportunities will


continue. Now, we come to the discussion and the issue around the


motion itself. And my my honourable friend has put forward and he calls


for the British Government to raise the situation in Kashmir at the UN.


As I have said set out the British Government believes it is for India


and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to Kashmir, taking into


account the wishes of the Kashmiri people and we stand ready to support


both countries in this goal. But it is not for the UK to proscribe a


solution. I would just say that in if debate that took place in


Westminster Hall in 2014, the member for Bury North made a very powerful


speech and in that he himself said, the governance of India and Pakistan


are the principal parties who can bring about a resolution. I think


that is the case. May I talk about the UN and the high commissioner for


human rights, that was raised by members. Of course, as permanent


five member of the UN any member of the UN human rights consill, I am


ware aware the commissioner has asked for access to Kashmir and we


urge all states to visit. It is right the UN high commissioner has


extended that invitation, but Pakistan has sent a letter staying


that they would accept if India would accept and India has not got


back. What will he do to encourage India to allow them to accept that


offer? Let me just reiterate the point I made to the honourable


gentleman that we encourage all states to consider visits by the UN


high commissioner and we have had this discussion previously as well.


There was a discussion about the Prime Minister's visit to India in


November and of course she, as members would expect, discussed a


range of issues, including on Kashmir and I hope this should be a


source of reassurance to members. A number of members made... Of course.


I thank him or the giving way, I would like him to be more specific


to confirm that a range of issues includes human rights abuses? I


thank the honourable gentleman for giving way. What I would say to him


is he should take comfort from the fact that Kashmir as a subject was


discussed between the two Prime Ministers. Having said that, it was


a bilateral discussion and he himself as someone who has been in


Government will know we can't comment on private discussions.


There was a discussion about the visit of the... Of the Foreign


Secretary to India and of course he is also discussing a range of


issues, including regional security. Let me say that the UK Government


will continue to encourage and support both India and Pakistan to


find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir in line with


the wishes of the people of Kashmir. We cannot mediate in the process.


I'm aware of the strength of feeling about Kashmir among many people in


Britain and this House and I'm glad this debate has given me the


opportunity to set out the Government's position. I thank


members for raising the Esh use they have today -- issues they have.


Thank you. This has been an historic debate, comprehensively covering the


extremely important matters which relate to Kashmir and can I thank


all the 19 members who have taken part in the debate and those who


have made interventions. Particularly I want to thank today


the Hawkhill speaking for the SNP and the shadow minister for their


contributions. I do hope that in the light of this debate my honourable


friend the minister will reflect on the many positive suggestions which


have been made. I formally move the motion and commend it to the House.


As many of the opinion say aye. Of contray no. Trino. The ayes have it.


Now we come to the motion on holocaust day. We are limited on


time. So I'm going to impose a limit of 15 minutes, including


interventions on the opening speaker and suggest a limit of five minutes


for backbenchers. If that is not adhered to, I will have to drop it


to four or five minutes. Thank you. I will try not to rush my speaking


after that introduction. Could I thank the members who supported me


in this application to the backbench chitee for allowing -- committee for


allowing the debate and all members who are participating. The Holocaust


Memorial Day was established in 2001 as a result of a private member's


bill. And we owe him gratitude for allowing the nation an opportunity


to pause and reflect on the holocaust. It is necessary to pause,


because of the impact on millions of people, on family and on humanity as


a whole. It is not something we can consider lightly. I thank my


honourable friend for giving way, last year I visited Auschwitz with


students from Newcastle, it was a challenging and moving visit, but it


was made powerful by the presence of so many young people from the


Reening. Region, does my honourable friend agree we owe a debt to those


at the holocaust educational trust that make this visit possible for so


many people to ensure we never forget and never repeat? I'm


grateful for the intervention and in a few minutes I will echo her


sentiments and I will carry on with the speech and not take any more


interventions, you can see the ferocity with which the deputy madam


speaker is encouraging us to make progress! The theme of the Holocaust


Memorial Day is how can life go on? It invites us to consider how our


generation can comprehend the holocaust when so few of those who


survived are still us with. We are entering an age where the lived in


experience of war and the horrors is being replaced by one in which we


experience is through stories handed down or the media or books or film.


Because so few survivors remain, it is easy I to trivialise the events


and it is not uncommon to hear people who call people concentration


camp commanders for disagreeing with them. These comments are


extraordinarily irresponsible, they casually draw a line between those


with a deliberate attempt by state murder to murder every single member


of a religious group. The only time this has happened in history to. .


To do this not only trivialised the events of past, it makes the job of


those with a malicious path of holocaust denial easier. So I agree


with the words used last night by the Secretary of State for


communities, the member for Bromsgrove at a holocaust


educational event, he said, I urge people to push back when people


search for comparisons that belittle this. We have to do that, the most


un-British of things, we have to make a scene. Maybe in private,


maybe in the media, maybe on twitser. But if we don't speak out


against hatred and anti-Semitism, it will become normalised and part of


every day life and once that happens the consequences will be tragic. He


was speaking as a minister and a Conservative MP. I see we have his


predecessor in his place, the member for Brentwood and I look forward to


his comments. I stand here as a Labour MP, yet share his sentiments.


I look to myself and my own political party for how I and we can


strive harder to avoid language and actions that are or are perceived to


be anti-semitic. We should do more to prevent this in the first place.


Because the points of offence is the point at at which we know we have


failed. The events we remember today are hard to imagine, due to the


scale of human suffering it involves. Approximately 6 million


Jewish people were murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. It


was the defining element of Nazi ideology. Persecution of Jews


started after Hitler's accession to power. The intensity and brutality


of the policies escalated throughout Nazi rule, resulting in mass murder


and genocide. It is understandable why the holocaust plays such a


painful and pow perful role within the modern Jewish culture. I'm


fortunate to have a large and thriving Jewish community in my


constituency of Hove. We are home to four well attended and very active


synagogues. They play an active role in all aspects of our life in the


beautiful city on the south coast and take part in festivals and host


remembrance day event to remember Jews who fell in the war. It has


welcomed me to events and helped me understand the impact of the


holocaust on modern Jewish life. The Rabbis there have helped answer my


questions and discussion the history and the modern face of Judaism and


the great thing about the group that is so welcomed and integrated into


the community is it inspires others to share and to join in. That is why


next week I proudly joined students at a local school which is holding


an event where people from the still reflect on the meaning of the


holocaust. As we approach Holocaust Memorial Day it is appropriate that


we in this is House remember these events. The memorial date was chose


on the respect the liberation of Auschwitz by allied forces on 27th


January 1945. The death camp has become symbolic of the holocaust,


due to the scale of the murder that happened there. 1. 1 million lives


were ended in at this place. In November last year, I visited


Auschwitz with 200 students from Sussex and another colleague. It was


under the auspices of the holocaust trust. I cannot emphasise the


thoughtsful and powerful way the trust guides students through the


process of learning and experiencing Auschwitz. Before the visit students


get together in seminars to learn the history and the facts behind the


holocaust. Even meeting a holocaust survivor. They visit. And finally


after their return they meet again to talk about the lesson and what it


means for them as individual and us as a society. The past, the presents


and the future. These fortunate young people were carry the burden


of knowing the horror meted out to Jews and and the wisdom that


experience bestows. Two students were from Brighton and Hove, they


showed the depth of thinking and sensitivity and thoughtsfulness that


makes me so proud of young people today.


We saw the cells from which people tried to escape. The wall against


which so many people were shot dead at the ground beneath could no


longer soak up the blood. The desperately cold caverns where


people slept. The train tracks that brought people to their deaths in


cattle trucks. The sidings where doctors, the people trained to save


and enhance life, doctors used their training to decide who was strong


enough to work and all the others that should be put to death that


very day. For those of us who celebrate the good that humanity is


capable of, it is a shattering place to visit. At the end of the tour,


guided by the extraordinary staff of the Auschwitz Museum, we gathered at


the top of the Railtrack 's. We stood directly beneath the remains


of two former gas chambers were tens of thousands of people lost their


lives. In the darkness we listened to poetry read by students. Then a


Rabbi sang prayer is in the still remains of hearts, gas chambers and


forests. The beauty pierced the horror of the location. Jewish prey


are being sung in that place was lost on nobody. Then, as we left,


leaving behind us lighted candles on the tracks, which looked like a


blazing path of light into the terrible darkness which still hangs


over that place. This is the image that remains most strong in my mind


because a blazing pathway of light is what has to be needs from our


generation and goes into the future. It will come in the form of


remembering, learning, and of being brave enough to confront hatred. For


those of us in public life, it will mean using the power we have to


unite and temper and never to exploit. These are some of the many


lessons I have learned from listening and discussing the


Holocaust and its role in shaping modern Jewish life across Britain.


It is also moments of reflection like this in the House of Commons


through to community schools and living rooms across the country that


are so desperately important. Thank you. The question is that this House


considered Holocaust Memorial Day 2017. Thank you. It has been a great


honour to follow the honourable gentleman. I thought it was a very


thoughtful speech, and I agree entirely with what he has said. In


April last year I visited the former Nazi death camp which the people of


Poland have preserved in testimony of man's inhumanity to man and,


Treblinka. The world is grateful to the ways in which Poland has acted


as a custodian for these terrible places. Treblinka is unambiguously a


death camp. Most victims survive from the a few hours, and those who


were too frail to make it to the gas chambers were escorted to hospital,


which was a facade, it wasn't open pit and they were shot and there are


some things still living bodies were thrown into the pet.


The best estimate is somewhere between 700 and 900,000 dues were


killed in Treblinka's gas chambers. Moore one were killed in Treblinka


than any other Nazi extermination camp, apart from Auschwitz. It is a


grim place. Elizabeth in the five monument and a carefully laid --


carefully laid stones remembering the different communities. I laid a


wreath, and following the visit I tweeted my observations. Within


minutes I received a tweet that said no one died in Treblinka, it was a


transit camp. There were no gas chambers, no crematorium and now


mass graves. I have no idea whether the person who sent me that actually


believed it or not. I think it is all too easy to dismiss this as yet


another example of our post-truth world fake news that is prevalent on


social media. But I think there is something more sinister going on.


Members will recall the ten stages of Holocaust, of genocide, starting


with classification, working through to persecution and extermination.


But the tenth stage is the final stage, and that is Holocaust denial,


it did not happen, the numbers were exaggerated, there were not many


dues in the first place. They brought it on themselves. The dues


and using it to justify their actions. To forget and belittle...


-- if you looked at the trailer and beneath at the comments made by


people, there are thousands of abuse of comments. , perpetrating the


claim that the Holocaust was fake. Only a few days ago, David Irving


claimed he was inspiring a new generation of Holocaust sceptic 's.


That is a fancy way of dressing up Holocaust denial.


Along with the right honourable member I am proud to be a member of


the Association, which is going to establish the memorial in a


massively important place. And international design competition was


launched last year, with 92 teams expressing an interest. Ten were


short listed and we will load pretty soon that when the competition ends


Monday, I think it will be a lasting monument, something we are immensely


year... Others want to speak, so I year... Others want to speak, so I


want to finish with a quote which explains why we're doing this. In a


Nobel prize acceptance speech, now that they are not alone, that when


there are voices is stifled, we shall lend them as. But while their


freedom depends on hours, the quality of our freedom depends on


there as. Thank you. I welcome this debate and the fact that it was a


decision of this Parliament on an all-party basis that has led to as


having Holocaust Memorial Day this is an opportunity


to reflect on current anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is indeed a virus. It


spans different religions, different political parties, and it changes


its form overtime. I very much welcome the government's acceptance


of the International Holocaust Alliance's definition of


anti-Semitism because it is important that we focus on what


anti-Semitism means in this era, as well as historically. Indeed, the


figures from the Community Security Trust show as shockingly that there


has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic


discourse. It is important not to exaggerate this, and most British


Jewish people will go through the lights without experiencing


anti-Semitism. But there is a profound unease across the Jewish


community in the UK with the increase of anti-Semitic incidents


and comments. As the Community Security Trust report on


anti-Semitic discourse shows, reflect sometimes insinuations and


allusions, if not direct anti-Semitism. It is always


important to remember that anti-Semitism does not lie solely in


one religion. Historically, Christianity was often the source of


anti-Semitism. But it is also found in extreme Islamist sources as well.


We only have to look at a charter to see clear, explicit anti-Semitism


references to Jewish people. Anti-Semitism is not only just found


on the right. I think conventionally people think it is confined to the


right of politics, and that is not the case, and has never been the


case. This is a fact that people who declare themselves to be


anti-racialist and not necessarily opposed to anti-Semitism or even


understand what it is. Shocking that I find this as a person of the left


and as a Labour Party member, I recognise there is a fightback,


which is being led by non-Jewish people as well as by Jewish people.


This week there has been a showing of the film denial in parliament.


The film showing, as the right honourable member mentioned, the


trial of David Irving, the Holocaust denier. It is indeed truly shocking


that today, as the film is being shown, and as he was defeated soap


conclusively, it is reported that there are more supporters for the


lie of Holocaust denial, more online supporters, and this appears to be


gathering in force. This is a reminder of the importance of


Holocaust memorial day of this debate, and the support of combating


modern-day manifestations of anti-Semitism. It is an honour to


respond to this debate. Last November the honourable member for


Hove and I stood with young people from across the south-east of


England on the train tracks at Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jewish


men, women and children were murdered by the Nazis. I travelled


to Poland as part of the lesson run by the Holocaust educational trust.


The train tracks run right into the tracks. Ahead of the watchtowers


at all times. At the end of the at all times. At the end of the


tracks are the remains of gas chambers. To the left and right, as


far as the eye can see, if the barracks where those selected to


work were held. As we stood on the train tracks, our educator read an


extract from a young boy who stood extract from a young boy who stood


on those same train tracks 34 years earlier. The extract has shared with


me and I want to share it. Men to the left, women to the right. Eight


words were spoken quietly, indifferently without emotion. Eight


short words. That was when I departed from my mother. I had not


had time to think but already I felt the pressure of my father's hand. We


were alone. Were part of a second I saw my mother and sister moving to


the right. I saw them disappeared into the distance holding hands. My


mother was stroking my sister's fair hair is pulled to protect, as I


walked on with my father and other men. I know -- I did not know that I


was parting with my mother for ever. I went on walking, my father held


onto my hand. These are the memories of a professor, Nobel laureate. He


spent the rest of his life in shooting the Holocaust was not


forgotten. He passed away in July 2016, just a few months before my


visit aged 87. So today in Parliament we debate this horror, we


speak in honour of him and those who perished in the camps or survived


against all odds. Many of those who lived dedicated the rest of their


lives to make sure the experiences would never be repeated. The stories


act as a reminder of the evil which mankind can deliver on itself when


hatred and violence is left unchecked. Yesterday in Parliament I


spoke with six young people who made the same trip to Auschwitz over the


last few They have deviced imaginative idea


ideas to ensure that the horrors of the holocaust act as a flame to


guard gents the darkness of hatred and division. Time doesn't permit to


mention all their stories, the final young ambassador was dharlt Herd.


She had been keen to develop her knowledge of the holocaust having,


as she did, a great grandmother who had been in a concentration camp in


the last year of the war. Little was spoken about this experience and


Charlotte lost her great grandmother in 2015. This motivated Charlotte to


complete her lessons in Auschwitz project in April last year. On her


return from Auschwitz Charlotte and her attendee from her school created


a memorial which would inspire others. This is how she described


her work to me. We wanted to involve the students within our school as a


way of uniting them. We have a school that has 40 plus different


languages. We thought this was very poignant as many cultures and races


were victims of persecution, but of course in particular the Jews.


Therefore the hands represent the many different students within our


school. Although they may be different in appearance, language or


traditions, their hands are something that unite them and join


them together. The word I've painted on one of the panel reads as


follows, "I believe in the sun, even when it is not chieng. I believe in


love, even when I cannot feel it. I believe in God even when he is


silent." These words were written inside a cell in the concentration


camp and we chose it because it showed the struggle the Jews had


faced. D the. The prisoner never lost his faith in God. As am balls


dors these ares key words can inspire all the students in our


school." These young ambassadors are doing an outstanding job at


reminding their peers what happened during the Second World War. The


importance could never be greater. First-hand experiences deliver the


power. 75 years on, these voices are being losts. We therefore have to


find imaginative ways to appeal to others. We live in a society where


negativity and casual insults are never far from the surface. We


should never assume that the horrors of the Third Reich can never be


repeated in Europe. . The Germany of 1930s had culture, history and


people of differing creeds living side by side but hate turned a


country where sending people toll their graves was accepted by


millions of people who had previously worked amongst them. The


noise of hatred in 2017 may be low but a civilised society must learn


to switch it off before it deafens us. Can I thank you the Holocaust


Educational Trust for ensuring this country remembers the unspeakable


evil that created the holocaust. Can I thank the Trust for delivering the


new voices, the young and not so young who will ensure we never


forget what occurred and we do all we can to stop the under currents


which, left unchecked, could make it occur again. Thank you. Holocaust


Memorial Day is a crime we must never forget. We must never forget


the genocide committed by Nazi Germany. We must remind you are


Selves of the horrors that anti-Semitism can produce. Holocaust


Memorial Day itself, the Holocaust Educational Trust is hosting a live


webcast with holocaust survivor. This will be live streamed to


schools all across the UK over 600 schools have signed up so far. This


live streaming, this filming, will take place at Kings immediate School


in my constituency of Enfield North. I'm very proud this is happening


there. I commend the school for posting the event -- Kingsmead. I


know the event is very important and will have a significant impact. We


thank her for being willing to share her terrible experiences and give


her testimony and educate our young people we thank the Holocaust


Educational Trust for organising this event. Even when it makes for


difficult hearing, we have a moral duty to listen to holocaust


testimony. Survivors speak not only for themselves, but also for those


who did not survive to tell their story.


One survivor who taken to an SS camp. After 18 months, he was one of


only 11 of the original 2,500 men left alive. He escaped transfer to


the gas chambers twice before being transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau.


He was selected by death. But when healthier and fitter people were in


the other line he ran across when the guards were distracted. He was a


slave labourer in austerity before being put on a death march. He was


transferred to another camp where he was liberated by the Russian army.


He describes life in Auschwitz and the death march. I quote, "we were


choosen to work on agriculture for the SS. First with two horses, they


ploughed the field. For fertilisation they would bring us


ashes from the crematorium and we put it on the ground. You could feel


18th January 1 # 45. We walked with 18th January 1 # 45. We walked with


three days without any food in the striped pyjamas. We were loaded on


the station. We were taken to a place, the camp was eight kilometers


in a forest. We were more dead than alive when we arrived. " He lives in


Leeds, he is 88 years old. His testimony reminds us of the


brutality of Nazi anti-Semitism. His testimony is a powerful rebuttal to


those today who continue the awful practice of holocaust denial. Those


who minimise, trivialise, distort or deny the horrors of the holocaust do


so in order to legit mice the anti-Semitism that fuelled it. We


must recognise when people claim the gas chambers a myth, argue that the


holocaust is Jewish propaganda, distort Nazi history, imm my the


number of holocaust victims or attacking Holocaust Memorial Days


they do not do so out of historical interest or a desire for debate.


They do so from nothing but prejudice, bigotry and naked


anti-Semitism. Will you you give way. Of course. The testimony she is


referring to show the continuing relevance and importance of


Holocaust Memorial Day. The vast majority of people in this country


are decent, we have seen a rise in hate crime. 41% between July 2015


and July 2016. It has gone down. It's still at that level. The


continuing relevance of those testimonies speaks to us all? We


must never be a bystander. I totally agree. When he wrote his


autobiography he called his book A Detail of History he chose that


title as a riposte to Mr Le Penn who referred to the gas chambers in


those terms. Our words of remembrance would mean nothing if we


do not commit ourselves to action preserving the memory of the


murderser is not a theoretical exercise. -- murders. As he said,


"what hurts the most is not the actions of the oppressor, but the


silence of the bystander." We must support the brilliant work done by


Hope Not Hate to counter racism and fascism in our society. We must


support the fantastic work done by the Holocaust Educational Trust. The


only way to truly eradicate Raissiism, anti-Semitism and


holocaust denial in our society is through educating people. This is


what Mr Hersch devoted his life to for the past 20 years, "if you talk


about the holocaust to people, people learn and if anything like


that could come up again, they would stand up against it. So that's why I


talk about it all the time." In his words we must follow. We must


remember. We must mourn and, above all, we must educate so that racism


and anti-Semitism can never flourish again.


Thank you. A pleasure to follow the honourable member for Enfield North.


I would commend the honourable member for Hove for the way he


introduced this particular debate. Jewish people have suffered


anti-Semitism throughout the centuries. There is nothing new in


that. As the honourable member reminded us, anti-Semitism is still


rife, not only all over the world, but in this country as well. We can


never forget that fact. It did reach its peak with the systematic attempt


by the Nazis to wipe out Jews from across the world. I grew up in an


area where he were educated amongst Jewish people, Indian people,


Muslims, people of all religions, but the holocaust was never talked


about. I, my first visit to Israel, in 1992, I saw not the wonderful


museum, but the original museum. It brought home to me what life was


like in Germany that the Jewish people in Germany and beyond


suffered through that time and the systematic attempts to wipe them


out. It brought home to me then the need to actually educate young


people across this country on the need to remember what happened


because it's very hard to contemplate the systematic attempt


to wipe out people. It's very easy to think this was just a small


number of mad people. It wasn't. There were large numbers of people


involved in this. It was a systematic attempt. Therefore, we


must remember that it's not just good enough to pinpoint the evil


people that did this, but also those that stood by while recognising it


was going on. I also remember - my visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau. It is


seared in my consciousness. I think the reality is that when you go


there and see at first-hand what happened, it brings home to me the


importance of the testimonal of those that survived the death camps,


to prove that it happened. I was privileged to welcome to this House,


together with honourable member for Dudley North who is not able to be


with us today a woman who was forced to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau at the


point of a gun aged 16. She survived to tell the tale. She survived to


come to this country, to give her life as a nurse, to build a family,


to build a life in this area. Yet when she went to Birmingham, when


she was there with the Jewish community, on her arrival they


wanted to ignore the fact of the holocaust. They wanted to forget


about it. It was a terrible thing, but they wanted to turn literally a


blind eye to what happened. I think that's important to recognise, that


in in country, way back then, there was almost an attempt to - not to


belittle the holocaust, but to try and forget about it. Just imagine


then, she went back to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1978, a long,


long time ago, before Holocaust Memorial Day was ever thought of,


and to do a documentary on Return to Auschwitz. She wrote a brilliant


book. It's almost the forerunner of what we now see in the Holocaust


Educational Trust. I think that's... She's a very brave lady. She is very


outspoken and quite rightly too on the work that she's done and what we


have to do to combat. We have three major feature films now. Schindler's


List, Sophie's Choice and now Denial. Two will be well-known to


members across the House. Denial will be released next Friday on the


general release on Holocaust Memorial Day. It is, interesting


enough, the trial of Irvine, it was him who brought the case. He was


eventually put on trial and proven to be a holocaust denier and he was


shown to be the fool that he was. I think that's a systematic. It is a


brilliant film. I would recommend colleagues from across the House to


see it. I also pay tribute to an honourable lady in my constituency.


She was born in 1923, the youngest of nine children. When the Nazis


bombed her home city on 1st September 1939 on the outbreak of


the Second World War she then moved and they planned, the family planned


to move to the United States, but unfortunately she moved too late.


They moved just outside Krakow. In 1941 she was in the Ghetto. She


entered the Ghetto carrying a sack of potatoes, flour and a few other


belongings. She stayed there with her mother and siblings. Her brother


was shot by the SS. A second brother fled and was never seen again. She


and her surviving family were eventually sent to a labour camp on


the edge of Krakow. Her consider and her husband who married in the


Ghetto had been shot after the Nazis found her bringing food into the


camp. In the winter of 44-45 the camp was liquidated. . They. They


had to walk to Auschwitz-Birkenau as part of the forced death march.


In January 1945 she was sent with her family on a death march, leaving


behind her sister. They never saw her again. After several days, they


came to Germany. They were forced into trucks. They travelled under


terrible conditions for three to four macro weeks, eventually rising


in a concentration camp. Then she was sent to Bergen-Belsen, and she


worked in a hospital for the next two months trying to support her


mother the best she could. On the 15th of April, the British Army


liberated Bergen-Belsen. Among the liberators was a man who later


became her husband half a year later. Today, she lives in Stanmore


and is in close touch with her children and grandchildren. She


wrote a book recently called highlight a candle, and at the age


of 93 goes to schools up and down the country to inform people of what


happened. Madam Deputy Speaker, could I commend this in my name and


a cross-party basis commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. It has been


so far signed by 44 honourable members. I would hope that many more


could do so later. Indeed, the book of commitment from the Holocaust


educational trust is available for members to sign. It has been


available this week, it will be available next week in the member is


cornered, and I would encourage members from across the House to


sign the book of commitment and demonstrate that we commemorate


those victims and make sure that we all honour that life will go on.


I declared an interest as a member of the Holocaust Memorial foundation


along with the right honourable member for Brentwood and


Ongar. It is possibly the first time we have ever agreed!


He said about man's inhumanity to man. That is a quote from Robert


Burns, and it finishes with, makes countless thousands more are --


mourn. It is more fitting perhaps because next Wednesday is Robert


Burns Day, and national Holocaust a. Although the Holocaust was the


greatest crime of the 20th century, one of the greatest crime is perhaps


the greatest crime in human history, the greatest example of man's


inhumanity to man, anti-Semitism is not something restricted to the 20th


century or indeed restricted to Islam.


years ago I was privileged as First Minister to write the introduction


to a book called the Jews in Scotland, and I claim no virtue for


the Scottish nation in this sense, that Scotland is one of only two


nations in the whole of the continent who have never had


anti-Semitic legislation on the statute book. Scotland 's


declaration of Independence has an appeal to respect the rights of


Jews, all of whom are equal in the eyes of God. It stands alone among


medieval documents in making that call. So we should remember that


anti-Semitism and the consequences of it have been something with as --


that have been with us through the greater part of recorded human


history. I want to say a word about the work of the foundation and


indeed the work of the Auschwitz project because it cuts straight to


the heart of what many members have spoken about. The Auschwitz project


takes Scottish schoolchildren to Auschwitz. It has had 358 post-16


establishments have taken part in the project since it was inaugurated


in 2013, that is over two thirds of schools in Scotland. Is privileged


-- I was privileged as First Minister to hear from these pupils


after their visit, and not one of those pupils will ever forget the


experience or have any truck with a Holocaust denier. I know that some


members of the House even yesterday expressed some doubt about the


memorial in Victoria Park, but it is a highly appropriate place for that


memorial to be built. Regardless of where the memorial was built, it


should be said that... Over the last few days in the antiques Road show


that took place from this Palace of Westminster, it included many


stories. One man from Dumfries was arrested in Budapest which was --


one women from Dumfries was arrested and


Not everyone stood aside as these atrocities were taking place. The


film is exemplified this. Many people rallied to the cause of their


fellow human beings. That educational project under learning


that goes with it is absolutely vital because the circumstances are


now that sadly few of the survivors of the Holocaust are still with us,


and our number goes fewer by the day. There for the teaching and


personal experience that can be imbued from family connections and


visits to the concentration camps is all the more vital. There will not


be any voices of dissent from the benches today, but I want to argue


one final point which I think is of fundamental importance. Recognising


and commemorating the significance of the Holocaust, of man's


inhumanity to man, is not something restricted to any religious grouping


at any point of view. It is something that should be


commemorated by those who take a pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli or


pro-peace aspect view of the Middle East. Last year on the Holocaust


Memorial day, I commemorated outside the Strasbourg assembly, and I was


led to make a point of order because the Israeli diplomat representing


the Israeli government at that service launched an attack on the


President of Iran, who was visiting France at the time. It was


particularly inappropriate because President -- President Rahane is not


a Holocaust denier. All of us, regardless of affiliation or point


of view or religion, all of us must recognise that there are those among


us who would seek to deny the terrible crimes of the past for


their own cynical motivation is. But those who do not deny it, those who


acknowledge it and face up to it, those who recognise it, which is the


first step in preventing it happening again, these people of


whatever point of view should be embraced by us as fellow human


beings. I would like to start by thanking the honourable member for


securing the debate. Not only is it very relevant at this time of year


but it is also very relevant to myself and my constituents. The last


speaker said there are fewer and fewer survivors, and he is correct.


But I have a significant number of those survivors, people involved in


the Holocaust, people whose families perished, and even those who escaped


the Holocaust by their relatives coming here. I even had a former


constituent, a reverend, who was one of those who witnessed what happened


after the Holocaust. He was indeed a chaplain who, along with the British


Army, entered Bergen-Belsen, and during the daytime he not only


engaged in the circumcision of babies, but later he would engage in


the burial and cremation of the bodies. So I think it is appropriate


that the theme for the Memorial Day is how can live go one? I want to


mention a centre in my constituency. There is many survivors who visit on


a regular basis and give each other support and receive pastoral care in


the later years of their life. I know that for many people I have


spoken to, it is very much a check list organisation serving the


community. But particularly I wanted to pay attention to one member who


lives above the survivors Centre, and she speaks to schools on behalf


of the Holocaust educational trust. She was born in Poland in 1929. She


lived with her parents and younger sister. But the Nazis marched into


her tone and decided to take over her flat because they liked it so


much. Her family were simply thrown out onto the street with no


possessions. So she went to live with baby relatives who looked after


her. But as the war continued, the Nazis established a ghetto in the


Tyne and Wear all the Jewish inhabitants had to live. Several


people lived -- inhabitants. In 1952 the Nazis announced everyone in the


ghetto was being moved, and believing they would soon be


returned... That was the last thing they saw their family. Her mother


decided she would hide her and her sister under a coat, but her sister


was found and taken. In 1944 the Nazis said the ghetto was going to


be liquidated than they should call to the train station. Renny and her


mother were transported to a warehouse in hamburg. In 1945 they


were moved again to Bergen-Belsen. Fortunately Renny and her mother


were liberated from Bergen-Belsen on the 15th of April in 1945 by the


same British Army I mentioned and the Reverend. Unfortunately 12 days


later, Renny's mother died. Like other members here, I visited


Auschwitz on several occasions. Seeing is really believing and


understanding, and I have to say, watching the faces of some pupils in


my constituency is not only very moving, but it is also very telling.


The last time I visited Auschwitz was on the 27th of January 2014,


when I attended the International Holocaust Memorial Day through the


international gathering at Auschwitz, alongside Lord Howard. On


that day, the temperature fell to -10, and never in my life have I


been that cold, and I still find it incredulous that people could manage


to survive those conditions. But serve if they did, and many people


then moved to the United Kingdom itself. On one occasion when I


visited Auschwitz I discovered e-book. -- a book. A man speaks


about the problems he faced in the camp. He says, the opposite of love


is not hate, it is indifference. And that is the reason we continued to


remember and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day. On Monday, I visited


Edgware district reform synagogue, where I heard someone tell a hundred


pupils about her time during the Holocaust. I pay great tribute to


those who do this work. In 2012, the England football team went to


Auschwitz, to show them what occurred and to hear first-hand


testimony of this woman's brother and his experience. As a result it


not only highlighted the issue but also brought to a new generation the


problems of the Holocaust. Some of my staff have asked me about


my experiences and visit to Auschwitz. I'm pleased to say, when


it gets warmer, in the spring, I will take my office staff from


Parliament to Auschwitz. I think I can probably give them a good


experience on the amount of occasions I've visit and the amount


of books I've read. I want to finish on a positive note. I want to thank


first of all my right honourable friend for Brentwood Ongar for the


work he has done. He has been a tireless campaigner on this issue


and has been a real friend to the Jewish community. I thank him for


that on behalf of my constituents. Finally, I want to thank every


single member who is here today, I have many Jewish constituents, as


I've said, so you would expect me to be here. I understand that. But I'm


grateful to each and every one. You who have come along today who


don't have either Jewish constituents or certainly don't have


constituents who experienced the Holocaust. I thank each and every


one. You for that. Thank you. One day in


November I had the unforgettable experience of visiting


Auschwitz-Birkenau with students from Ealing Independent College and


the Holocaust Educational Trust. It was a long and difficult day. We


flew out at Luton at 6.00am and back at 11.00pm. 200 from schools from


the London region that day will rest for us forever. Icy conditions,


minus four degrees the emotional demands of the day a harsh context


for bearing witness for the horror committed in the death camps. If a


one minute silence welcome back to be served for every victim who


perished there we would have been there for two years. 0 plus years on


since the liberation of Auschwitz it has contemporary relevance. With the


passage of time there are fewer and fewer survivors from the camps and


transport children and the people who liberated them. We owe a huge


debt to those people and organisations such as HET, HMD, head


up up bio live ya, who was I was at school with. The commemorations we


will see in the neck week, up-and-down the country, in


educating successive generation. We can only understand our present and


future if we understand our past. This is a debate about six million


Jewish victims of the Holocaust and it also extends to millions of


others that the Nazis exterminated, romany gypsies, communist,


socialist, trade unionists and gays and those slaughtered in origin


sides. Holocaust education campaigning evolves. We have already


had mention of the Antiques Road Show over the weekend that featured


memorabilia and the artefacts that we saw in Auschwitz are on display


in Israel. That brought it into the nation's living rooms over


prime-time TV. This year's Holocaust Memorial Day schools pack contains


recipe cards. Things like stew. It brings home - another way of


digesting information about cultures attacked in genocide. There are


other recipes from cad bode ya and Bosnia. Culture is transmitted


subtly. When there is no grandparents culinary tradition and


memory dies. All communities must learn lessons and be vigilant


against racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobiaened a all forms of


hatred in the contemporary world. Following the verdict of the EU


referendum and events across the Atlantic, prejudice and racism are


in danger of becoming acceptable and that holders of these abhorrent


views might in some way feel disinhibited from expressing them.


Holocaust Memorial Day this year has renewed significance. We live in a


time of post-truth politics and fake news. People have mentioned the film


Denial, I had the opportunity to see it earlier in the week on the trial


of the Nazi David Irvine against the American academic, Deborah Lipstadt.


I warmly recommend that as a fact packed treatment of the downfall of


the UK's most notorious rewriter of history. It's frightening to hear he


is making a resurgence, people have said. I think these views are


ridiculous as people who think the earth is flat. We need to call them


out. I attempted my first ever rabbi Friday night meal at the end of last


year at Ealing Liberal Synagogue. The guard on the door served as a


reminder that all communities deserve to worship in safety and


that is obviously not the case. I would say it's deplorable that


mosques in the UK have pigs heads left on their doorsteps. We hear of


the desecration of Jewish graveyards in Europe. It does feel a bit like


hate-fuelled political rhetoric has seen something of a resurgence.


Ditto the scapegoating and vilification of migrants and


refugees. We have earnest Simon who addressed us last year. He told us


of his train trip into the unknown as a child in 1939 from Austria. The


fist question was whether we should take Syrian refugee. He answer was


an emphatic - of course, we have a moral duty. All these debates


resonate with contemporary debates. We met with a cross-party delegation


of visiting MPs from Poland this week. They voiced concern about the


rising tide of hate crime. We reashursd them with have strong tie


that is bind between the nations. They asked me if I had been to


Poland. It wasn't a straight-forward, yes, yes we flew


into Krakow. We need to make sure that we never witness it again


anywhere. Madame Deputy Speaker. The diversity of my constituency is one


of the reasons why it's the best one in the whole world. Strength of many


communities. I have constituents of all faiths and none, multiple


churches. We have a liberal synagogue and a reform one. I'm


proud that next Friday we will have our annual remembrance to mark


Holocaust Memorial Day it's become an established event on this the


calendar, as has this debate. The much looked forward to parliamentary


fixture. We should mark this shameful period in history and


origin sides and never forget the Holocaust and ensure that such


events occur never again. Thank you. It's always a great privilege to


have an opportunity to speak in this debate. I want to add my thanks to


the amazing Holocaust Educational Trust for their much needed and


excellent work. Again in order to keep memories alive, but also to


remind us of what our future might hold if we choose to ignore the


plight of those in trouble in our world. The theme for Holocaust


Memorial Day is a question - how can life go on. Given what we heard


today and past debates, the force of that question is palpable.


Personally, I cannot imagine how I could go on in a situation, even a


fraction as bleak as those faced by so-so many Jewish people and others


during the Nazi genocide. For many survivors almost everything that


anchored them was lost. The loving family connections that had given


shape to their entire lives. The familiar places and supportive


communities that may have been all they ever knew. Frankly, their sense


of our world as a potential home for them. All of it. Gone. On top of


this, the sources of love and security had been taken away by an


unprecedented, unrelenting wave of organised arbitrary hatred.


Reflecting on this, I want to draw attention to testimony of one


survivor in particular. That is an artist Alicia. Her


paintings are in a booklet. It's a testament to a remarkable and tall


epted woman. The German army took control when she was only 13 years


old. They forced the Jewish population into a ghetto. Her family


was separated. Her beloved older brother disappeared without trace at


the age of 18 after being taken to to another camp. He was one of the


first to be taken in that area. During this time, she, 13 years old,


laboured for the gee it el -- under the threat of death. "At one time I


worked as a cleaner, he shot people in the wood with machine guns. About


2,000 at a time. He used to drink before hand and once he said to me,


"you are very nice. I will never kill you with the others." He showed


me a beautiful flowering tree and said, "I will kill you separately


and I will put you under that tree." I once painted a self portrait with


that tree. I sold the picture and called it Childhood Memories, I'm


certain the buyer never knew what memories they were." The entirety of


her other deal, as you will realise, Alicia was only a child. After the


war, Alicia met her now husband, Adam, also a survivor in western


Poland. I wanted to tell his or story, too. But we don't have time


in this debate. I would urge the House authorities to give us a


proper, you know, long debate so we can truly talk about the stories of


those people that we... That we want to. Anyway, Alicia and her husband,


Adam, also a survivor in western Poland, moved to London where they


have lived ever since. These events leave an mark. She paints a moving


picture. Would she agree with me that we sometimes think that this


stopped with the end of the war and this should not be forgotten? My


friend is right. I plead for more time so we can draw out the stories


and understand the lessons for us to do. After experiencing such intense


horror it's understandably so difficult to go on with life in a


new place, amongst strangers. Stories of Alicia and Adam's are


relevant I think to how we treat today's refugee survivors those for


whom the question of - how life goes on, must be so pressing. It's so


important we create an environment for them that offers genuine shelter


for body and mind. Genuinely raving out, not shying away when faced with


the troubling past experiences and their consequences. Something that


gives survivors a genuine chance to create a new life in this country.


Just as Alicia and Adam remarkably had the strength to do. I'm


delighted to tell the House that Alicia and Adam are with us today


and nestled within their family. I hope we as a House with recommit to


offering a careful and understanding hand to refugees today and tomorrow.


We must never let survivors of murderous horror feel so loss and


despair that might question how they might go on with life in our


country. Thank you. I would like to start by


thanking those who keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. Of course,


soon there will be no living memory of this event. But it will have been


past through to future generations. I'd like to thank in particular, as


other members have done, the Holocaust Educational Trust. I, like


a large number of members here, have been on a visit to


Auschwitz-Birkenau and I think, for me, what struck me most about that


was the industrial scale on which the camps had been planned and the


degree of planning that had gone into the camps to make them as


efficient as possible. I would also like to thank the Holocaust Memorial


Day Trust. I would like to thank in particular Eve Gill a Holocaust


survivor who I heard speak a couple of times. She speaks to a lot of


schools in my area and the Surrey area more widely. To listen to her


about her aspirations and ambitions as a teenager and hear how those


were blown apart by the Holocaust, I think was something that I know that


the pupils who have listened to her has had a real impact on them and


indeed on me. Extremism and nationalism is on the


march, it is an easier environment in which to whip up hatred of


people, whether it is phase, races or sexuality, such as gay people in


Russia. We should not think the UK is immune from this. Other members


quoted the figures of a rise in 40% of hate crimes in the last three


years, which is why it is essential we recall the Holocaust, out of


respect of the victims and subsequent genocide. But also to


debunk Holocaust deniers, as the Member for Brentwood said in his


opening remarks, who since the explosion of social media have an


outlet for their bile. We have seen genocides since the Holocaust. I


wanted to finish by mentioning South Sudan. I think there is evidence


from the chair of the commission on human rights that there is a


genocide underway in South Sudan. A process of ethnic cleansing is


underway in several areas. Many people have been displaced by civil


war. There is a very large humanitarian crisis in terms of


refugees and food, for instance. While it is essential that we do


recall the Holocaust, but there are significant events taking place, we


must also learn from the lessons of that and seek to apply them when we


try to identify genocide that is already underway in South Sudan, and


that is something that the government may seek to take action


on such a critical issue is that underway in South Sudan already. I


would like to start by thanking the backbench business committee and the


honourable member for Hove for enabling this extremely important


debate to be held in this House and across the country. I will declare


an interest as the member of the all-party parliamentary group


against anti-Semitism. Holocaust Memorial Day is vital. We must learn


from the past and educate for the future. There can be no excuses for


anti-Semitism or any form of racism or prejudice. I would like to


congratulate the Holocaust educational trust and the Holocaust


remembrance Alliance for the invaluable work supporting Holocaust


education, remembrance and research. Their work is both nationally and


internationally recognised. The House of Commons home affairs


committee recently produced a comprehensive report entitled


anti-Semitism in the UK. And I would urge the Minister and all parties in


the House to take appropriate cognizance of this report. Genocide


does not just happen out of the blue. There is a gradual process of


victimisation, discrimination, hatred, of words, actions,


influences and alignment. Looking the other way. This leads to


psychological distancing and then dehumanisation. That is the path to


genocide. I will never forget reading the diary of Anne Frank when


I was at school and then later visiting her home in Amsterdam,


where she and her family were heading for two Maggie years before


being discovered and arrested in 1944. I recall reading of her


childhood pain that she did not quite said, the lack of food, the


abject fear for herself and her family. Then visiting and seeing


these cramped conditions and wondering how my family could have


coped if they were placed in such danger and despair. Children could


not make a saint, could not go to the bathroom until the evening, lost


their formal education and friends. It was impossible to go outside for


fear of being shot. Such a burden on their young brains. Education and


remembrance is so important because out of tragedy and suffering, Anne


Frank, a 14-year-old girl, wrote some of the most inspiring words I


have ever read. The theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day, is


how can life go on? Anne Frank wrote, I keep my ideals because in


spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart. She


wrote, how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment


before starting to improve the world. Whomever is happy will make


others happy as well. Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates that it is


so important to pay tribute to all survivors and to never forget. For


those who were lost and for those who experienced such traumatic


circumstances. Anne Frank wrote, what is done cannot be undone. But


one can prevent it happening again. Can I also paid tribute to remember


for Hove, who is not in his seat. I thank him for his town, great


sensitivity and insight. This year marks the anniversary of the


The tragedy of the Holocaust affected so many directly and


indirectly. For so many victims, to the forces who liberated them in


1944 and 1945. The ripple effect casts its shadow five white. This


physical and emotional trauma was shared by the victims and those who


witnessed it. Even today, the scars have not healed. It raises deep and


profound questions for all of us today, which is why the theme of


this year's commemoration membered back -- mentioned by some any


members, how can wife go on, is so important today and everyday. In the


face such fundamental legal it would be human to feel a sense of


hopelessness, but this team challenges this. Even in the face of


unspeakable evil, we're not hopeless. This commemoration in this


important debate give is as all an opportunity to find a way of coming


to terms with the unthinkable. If we are to live beyond the tragedy of


the Holocaust and not just survive, we must resolve today to ensure the


conciliation and rebuilding take place wherever that is needed in


this world. We must continue to learn from these experiences and


remember taking care that our response to genocide in Cambodia is


guided to make sure those who make it through the darkness can


eventually emerge into the light. Most of all, if we are to guarantee


life goes on, we should not try to counteract hate with more hate of


our own, this week I listened -- of our own. This week I listened to the


words of John Lewis, who spoke so movingly about how we must speak


with love, it is a better way, he said. He went on to see the words of


Martin Luther King, saying hate is too big a burden to bear. Today


takes place at a time when we should be trying to learn lessons from the


past. We must understand that genocide is often the evil


culmination of a gradual process which begins with unchecked


discrimination, racism and hatred. In the wake of Donald Trump's


election victory and the Brexit vote in June, we have witnessed deeply


worrying increases intolerance across western democracy. So we must


be vigilant and continue to provide positive leadership. The SNP


Government in Scotland has long supported the remembrance and


importance of Holocaust education and the Scottish parliament will


play its part in remembrance. Next Tuesday Jessica Reed and Calum


Doherty, two students from Falkirk will deliver Scottish Parliament's


time for reflection. They took part in the Auschwitz Project, which


gives two post-16 students from every school in Scotland the


opportunity to visit Auschwitz. This is supported by a grant from the


Scottish Government. It has also set up a group on prejudice to engage


with minority ethnic stakeholders to see what more can be done to tackle


these issues. In 2016 the group set out ways to tackle this... The


Holocaust did not begin with the murder of millions. It began with


what we now know as hate speech, perpetuated by a small minority and


tolerated by the vast majority. We cannot make the same mistakes again.


this week, we must face this this week, we must face this


reaction with tolerance, respect and understanding. And we can and should


be very proud of the diversity of modern Scotland and the British


Isles, but we must never take this for granted. We want our Jewish


community to feel safe and welcome, so we condemn the anti-Semitism that


is growing, and they hate seeing more recently across Europe and the


Memorial Day, it is only through Memorial Day, it is only through


approach that we can ensure that approach that we


life will go on and that decent life will go on and that decent


humanity continues to prosper in the face of


As always it is good to make a contribution. First of all I would


like to thank the honourable gentleman for setting the scene so


well. There have been some powerful speeches from members of the House.


It encapsulates the energy, passion, fears, concerns of all of us, and it


has been -- they have been put in such a dignified manner. The pride


in getting the opportunity to speak on this unfortunate and catastrophic


event. We all know the facts, but the beer repeating. If we were to


read all of the names that were so brutally murdered, it would take 384


names leading names constantly day and night to go through them all.


Over one whole year to read those names. That is the magnitude of the


horror that took place. These facts need to be repeated to make sure


there is never a repetition of event similar to this. I learned in Sunday


school, I heard a verse that said we need to keep repeating


lessons and hope the importance of them sink in. There is a


responsibility as an elected member to learn the lesson well and do not


stand ringing our hands but saying nothing. We have said much today,


and it has all been well put over. It is our job to speak out for those


being persecuted. I work hard for my constituents to provide quality of


life. I also work under half of life. I also work under half of


those who cannot ask me to help. those who cannot ask me to help.


There is a responsibility that we all have, and we must take it so


seriously. We have to learn an important lesson


from the Holocaust of the continuation of the ideology of


hatred in many communities. My interest in this matter also goes


to the kinder children, and we all know the story about the children


who were smuggled out of Germany, and some of them ended up in my


constituency on a farm. The issues are very important. Following the


outbreak of World War II, a drastic change of attitudes happened...


Some of the stories that members have told. Personal stories of these


very things. The escalation of violence. Quite happy to give way.


Yes. Will he agree with me that we are immensely lucky that people who


survived those experiences that he is just talking about, that those


brave individuals are prepared to speak out about the horror they


experienced, like my constituent Marla, so we can hear at first-hand


what happened as a way to ensure that lessons are learnt and we can


all work to ensure that nothing like that ever happens again? I thank


Hercegovina for the intervention and for putting the point of view


everyone spoke today has said the same thing we have to remember those


people as well and what they went through. The escalation of violence


did not stop until the end of the war in 1945. The Nazi built upon an


area a race who eliminated any people who were classified as being


inferior. They had all rights removed from them. It seems


discriminative as we live in a different generation, time and race.


The Nazis intensified their scheme to labour. Thousands of individuals


were losing their lives due to strong leadership in Nazi Germany at


that time. It sounds so far fetched it can only be a film. If only that


was the case. Members have spoken of the films that recreated events of


that time. It happened during the lifetime of my mother. It shouldn't


happen again through the lifetime of my children and grandchildren. I


wonder what I would have done, would I have stood up? You like to think


you would. If the opportunity had been there, you certainly would. I


hope so. I just want to quote the poem, it's a good poem. Most in this


chamber will know it. It's very clear. "First they came for the


socialists who Detective Inspector speak out because I wasn't a


socialist. They came for the trade unionist, I didn't speak out because


I wasn't a trade unionists. They came for the Jews, I didn't speak


because I wasn't nt a Jew. They then came to me, no-one was left to speak


to me." That illustrates the issue. As we discuss this debate in my


office and the Secretary said she had been to Auschwitz she said


everyone should go. Others members referred to that well in clear


terms. They have been there and been changed. I believe we must be


changed, we should face this or rowing lesson and in our personal


lives and in this place we do all we can to stop anything that resembles


this taking place. I wasn't able to stand with my Jewish Brethren at


that time. We will never if for get the Holocaust and be sure that it


never happens again. Thank you. It's an honour to follow the honourable


member for Strangford and his excellent speech. It's an honour to


be a co-sponsor of this today. I would like to thank the Holocaust


Educational Trust for their help to all members and the work they do all


year. I must commend everyone who has made such excellent and


thought-provoking contributions to this debate. I was particularly


struck by the honourable member for Hove's comments on the importance of


language which I thought were particularly well made. Like him, I


think it's hugely important we don't ever normalise the language of hate


and always challenge it loudly and challenge those who would shamefully


deny something so well-spoken about by the member from Brentwood


Ongar. A member spoke about the lessons from the past and the


importance of learning them. Many people until my local area will have


heard these words and will focus on was said here today. I hope what is


said here today is heard by people around the UK and beyond. I think


it's vital and the honourable member for Ealing Central made this point,


more than many times in my life, we have to be steadfast in our desire


sure that the lessons of this what happens and that we


sure that the lessons of this terrible stain on history are


learned and understood as widely as possible. There is no place for


anti-Semitism here or anywhere else. Where it exists it's our


responsibility to challenge it vigorously and to challenge


discrimination in all its forms. The Holocaust saw more Jewish men women


and children perish in camps than the entire population of Scotland.


As the honourable member for Hove said, it's an unbelievable scale of


deliberate terror against ordinary people. That was because of their


identity as Jews. As time passes and memories fade we cannot lose our


focus on this or on making sure it can't happen again. I thought the


honourable member for Enfield North was right in saying how important


testimony and education are. There is no doubt of the impact upon the


honourable members who have visited camps. I'm very fortunate to


represent the majority of Scotland's Jewish community. I live in a


vibrant, diverse people where people from all religions, backgrounds and


cultures live together harmoniously. That ability to live together, to


appreciate the richness of our diversity and what it brings to


society, is hugely important. It was important too to the late Reverend


Levy from my constituency. He survived seven Nazi concentration


camps having been taken from his home in Budapest to Auschwitz, aged


19. Although it was understandably very hard for him to speak about his


terrible experiences, that is what he did. He made it his mission to


speak to young people in particular, to make sure they understood the


terrors that people had faced and the extraordinary level of cruelty


inflicted upon the Jewish community and others who incurred the wrath of


the Nazis. The things he experienced is beyond our comprehension in many


ways. His family forced their home in 1938 after being persecuted by


fascists. When we go home tonight feeling secure in our place in the


world, let's reflect upon that. The Levy family was no different from


the rest of us they found themselves in the eye of a hellish storm simply


because they were Jewish. That followed them. He and his family


were captured hitch was sent to Auschwitz which he described as, "a


world of evilness beyond description." He experience his


brothers being expelled to dig their own graves and sha stench tearing at


his lungs. I can empathise with how he must have felt when he tried to


return to normality after he was released from Belsen. He was


grateful to be alive. He was beset by a lost of trust in people, in God


and prayers. Who would be any different. It's a testament to his


great strength of character that he did find that trust again and he


dedicated his life to helping others. His belief in the light of


humanity is a lesson to us us all and the strength of the human spirit


and the needed to stand up and never let racism gain creedance in


society. That is the sentiment it that led me to make a trip this year


that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I was part of my party's


first official delegation to Israel and Palestine. The first place we


visited, the memorial to those who died in the Holocaust. That is a


quite remarkable place. The impact that it made on me, it must be the


same for anyone who visits, was immence m. To see it laid out so


plainly the stories of all those people, just ordinary people, like


you and me, the man down the road or the woman in the office, all of them


murdered so cruelly because they were different. The way that the


Nazis targeted people and created hostility to those groups who didn't


fit into their idea of society was particularly frightening because I


could see only too well why we do need always to be ready to stand up


against those who would Foster hate. It was a peaceful and


thought-provoking place for all the awful story it tells. It honours the


dead and remember each one of them individually as a human being. A


person to be valued and acknowledged. That focus on each


person as a human, one of us, can't be emphasised enough. In everything


I saw I was struck by that personal nature. There were individual


possessions, red shoes, there was a comb and a pair of broken glasses,


painstakingly laid out in a display case. They had belonged to someone's


mum and they were all that was left of her when the Nazis murdered her.


The glasses had been cherished for decades by a daughter who had hidden


them away during a concentration camp after her mother was taken


away. She had nothing to remember her by. She felt her mother closer


to her through these cherished glasses. In the Garden of


Remembrance those people from around the world who stood fast against the


Nazis and protected their friends and neighbours, paying their own


lives. I saw the MEP roibl to Jane, as the member spoke of, the only


Scottish victim. The Church of Scotland repeatedly ordered


home. She refused to leave the home. She refused to leave the


children. She was sent to her death. The Heritage Centre that will owe


open in her hometown will be a particularly important place where


people can learn what she stood for at a beacon of hope against hate.


Important now as the honourable member described. With can all do


thinking about Jane and how she was not prepared to leave behind those


who would be persecuted simply for being different. That's a theme that


the young people in my constituent demonstrate brilliantly at their


Holocaust memorial events every year. The parents must be proud of


their children showing maturity and insight and sharing the lessons we


must learn from the Holocaust. These children from my fantastic diverse


community represent the best of us. They are children from all religions


and none. Some with disabilities and some without. From different


cultural and ethnic backgrounds, girls and boys. Just like the


children who were sent to their death. Our children do often show us


the way forward. I think a number of honourable members have described


that very movingly today. That is why we can never take it for granted


that this can't happen again. We must all commit to speaking out


whenever we see anti-Semitism, racism or hate or when we hear


things we are not right. We must never be afraid to call these things


out for what they are, loudly and clearly. It was described to us what


can happen if we stand by and don't act. I would like to close with the


words and sentiments of Jane who stood so fast against hatred and


paid dearly for her principles and compassion. She said, "if these


children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need


me in days of darkness?" . Thank you. I have to say the tales


this afternoon have been extremely moving and it just strengthens the


reason why these lessons should never be forgotten. The theme of of


this year's Holocaust Memorial Day is - how can life go on It's


intended to promote consideration of the aftermath of the Holocaust and


subsequent again sides. As has been eloquently observed many times in


this place and elsewhere, the industrial mass murder of millions


did not begin with the state sponsored violence and intimidation


of Jews in Germany. It did not begin with the construction of camps. It


began with a view that someone's began with a view that someone's


racial background mapped them out as inferior. As my honourable friend


for Ilford North said in this debate last year, "we should never avert


our eyes from the most uncomfortable truth of all, that it's perpetrators


were not unique, they were ordinary men and women carrying out acts of


extraordinary evil whilst others stood by." Society can only progress


when such a fact is recognised and the memory of those awful times must


be shared with future generations. We must teach our future generations


that they must stand up to hate and to semitism or any injustice. We


have a solemn duty to remember the victims and to educate young people


about the horrors that were unleashed on continental Europe less


than a century ago through hate. Through the work of the Holocaust


Educational Trust, children from schools and sixth forms across the


country have the opportunity to visit the former concentration camp


of Auschwitz. Since 1999, over 30,000 children have been able to


benefit from the Trust's Lessons from Auschwitz programme and become


ambassadors for the Trust. Communicating their experiences to


their friends and peers. I know that students from my


constituency have benefited from the opportunity and were very keen to


share their experience with other young people in Blackburn. But this


month will see the exhibition of the ten finalist concept designs for the


National Memorial of the Holocaust to be constructive in London. We


must not allow the generational memory of the Holocaust to fade and


the establishment of permanent physical memories has a huge role to


play in that. Many people have had the opportunity to listen to the


incredible stories of Holocaust survivors and those who worked


against the Nazis. The number of living Holocaust survivors decreases


due to the passage of time, and sadly there will be fewer and fewer


opportunities to hear the incredible stories. However, thanks to the


bravery of individuals during the war, including the young lady my


honourable friend spoke about, who preserved her mother's glasses, and


the aftermath letters, diaries, documentations, personal belongings,


are all publicly available. Recordings of survivors remain with


us. Museums dedicated to the preservation of the experiences will


continue to communicate our shared history with public. Historians will


continue to inspire discourse we will never forget. In some circles


there is a view that young people will become less interested in the


subject if it becomes simply history. But this does a tremendous


disservice for the empathy of the next-generation. -- to the empathy.


If we think about how life can go on after the Holocaust in subsequent


genocides, the role of the next-generation is even more


crucial. Through establishing permanent memorials and the


continuing presence of the Holocaust in schools, through the national


curriculum, and the support of devolved governments, young people


must be given every opportunity to engage with this difficult subject


of the Holocaust and other atrocities that have happened.


Dedicated and conscientious teachers of history are able to convey the


gravity of the Holocaust. Young people should draw parallels with


historic events. The rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the first


half of 2016, an 11% increase from the same period last year shows we


have more work to do in combating anti-Semitism. We must fight


attitudes that cast any group is somehow less than any other, define


any groups... We must work to make this the legacy of the Holocaust


that the ultimate result of genocide is the rejection of the hatred at


its heart. Working to bring groups of young people together to


facilitate social contact to break down social and economic barriers


and emphasise the common threads that run through all young people. I


hope for a better life the desire to learn and the need for


opportunities. How does life Carry On? By ensuring that the missing


generations, those abrupt endings on family trees, are commemorated


uncelebrated. By making sure that communities targeted by fascists are


able to live and work freely in Britain and around the world. By


instilling in young people a sense of pride in our country that does


not exclude any community. Nothing can fill the void of family


members who were killed but we can work with a better Britain and


world, we're no group is stigmatised and discriminated against, and which


prejudiced is whole heartedly rejected. We can be proud of the


UK's role in establishing Holocaust Memorial Day, when we joined other


countries in signing the Stockholm declaration. This year's theme, how


can life go on, underlines the importance of events arranged by


faith groups, schools and community organisations that take place in the


days and weeks leading up to the events. For 20 years I was honoured


to stand on the steps of Blackburn town Hall and pay respect and


remember the atrocities of the Holocaust with Jews, Christians,


Muslims, people of no religion whatsoever, as many end -- as many


other religions, and I feel it is important that every area in this


country recognises what our parents went through in the war, what the


Jews went through, from the Nazis, and we must never, ever forget. And


it is important we keep those memories alive. The role of the


Holocaust educational trust will do just that. It will raise awareness


in the community and the educational profession about the Holocaust and


lessons that can be drawn from it. Already it does exceptional work in


training teachers and equipping students to understand the attitudes


that lead to the unique crime of the Holocaust. The ongoing funding of


educational programmes by the government is essential. Since 2008,


the government has funded the UCL Institute of education centre for


Holocaust education, benefiting over 7000 teachers as of March last year.


And the ongoing funding of the lessons from the Auschwitz Project


which benefit so many students and members. Through them we must


confront head-on Holocaust denial, distortion and liquidation. The


denial of the historical reality, the deliberate effort to minimise


the effect and impact of the Holocaust and the equivalence


between the unique crime of the Holocaust and current events. I


close by observing that the establishment of Holocaust Memorial


Day and the continuing efforts of the Holocaust educational trust are


invaluable. Not only in commemorating the awful crimes and


ensuring its legacy is not forgotten, but in providing an


example of bringing communities together and instilling values of


tolerance and acceptance of young people. Thank you. It is a real


privilege and honour to be responding for the first time since


becoming a minister from this dispatch box to a debate. It is a


real privilege for me not least because this was such a consensual


debate, also because I used to be a secondary school history teacher in


Yorkshire before I was elected to this place, where I delivered


Holocaust education to young people. And also it is a privilege for me


because of my own journey in Judaism, which has become so


important to me in the last couple of years. I am grateful to


honourable members for the contributions that have been made


across the House. They have been thoughtful, insightful, and many of


them have been moving. I also want to thank my honourable friends for


securing the debate today. Many of us in our constituencies now


Holocaust Memorial Day well, taking part in events. I pay tribute to


events in my constituency, which is not one that has a big Jewish


population, as my honourable friend pointed out, but it is a community


that feels it wants to mark this day and remember the horrors of the


Holocaust. I pay tribute to the council in organising an event on


the same basis that happens in many other constituencies. As many other


colleagues have mentioned, the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is, how


can life go one? It is thoughtful and -- powerful and


thought-provoking question. We have heard today many moving testimonies


of people who actually prove how life can go on, and I want to


reiterate those names. I tried to make notes as we have gone on


because it is important to reiterate that people came to this country


after the Holocaust and their lives did go one. We have heard


about ten people, and I have heard some of these testimonies myself and


want to pay particular to brute to a man who survived the ghetto,


Auschwitz-Birkenau, he survived another camp and the death march. He


came to UK in 1947. He is now married, has children and. Many


members will have seen the film produced by the Holocaust trust and


one of his grandchildren, which was shown here in the House of Commons


not so long ago. He proves what can be achieved as life goes on, and we


should thank him and all of the survivors who came to this country


and continued to keep the memory of all those who perished alive as well


in the work they do, going into schools and community centres and


speaking about the horrors. We heard a lot mentioned about the antiques


road show at the weekend. I got a message from my mum saying to watch


it, so I did, and it was truly as moving as she said. So many


colleagues have said won made reference to it today. These items


are often the only connection people have two the lights that were so


brutally murdered in the Holocaust. -- have the lights. I think the


programme showed us what a story of survival this was. Despite the


horrors of the past, they have gone on to make a contribution for many


things, and those who just came here and got on with their ordinary


lives, building a family and future for themselves. They overcame those


terrible odds, and I think that is why this year's theme is all the


more poignant as it is so personal and it can resonate with all of us.


All of us will have experienced the loss of a loved one and wondered how


life would go on. So imagine the feeling of that loss when it


involves generations of your families. It is unimaginable to so


many of us. Great-grandparents, grandparents, children, nieces,


nephews, brothers and sisters lost. Above all that, the loss of your


very way of life, your home, the way you lived, the community you grew up


in, a place that has gone and will never be again. They think it is so


difficult for so many of us to imagine. And we can all look at


those black and white photo albums and pictures of loved ones and think


of them, but I can imagine looking at those same pictures and realising


everyone in those photographs apart from you had perished in a death


camp, or in more recent conflicts that could have been in the killing


fields of Cambodia, or a -- Rwanda. On the programme last week we also


saw stories of strength and renewal, with new lights and memories. That


is why Holocaust Memorial Day is not just about commemorating past


genocides and honouring those who died, but also about standing with


those who survived and the new lights they have built. As many


members have said, it is also about standing up against intolerance and


hatred in whatever form that may be. For most of us, today, standing up


against intolerance does not require the same risks for those who stood


up against the Nazis or Pol Pot ordered journalist sentenced for


spreading propaganda that led to the deaths of thousands of people from


Rwanda. Standing up against intolerance does not require


imprisonment, staring down the barrel of a gun, thinking someone is


going to round up your family in the middle of the night, but it requires


us to speak out and stand firm because we all know that evil


flourishes when good people stand idly by. It requires as in the


context of the Holocaust to bear witness, and that is something we


hear all the time, we must bear witness. Also, not to trivialise the


Holocaust. We have to recognise the peculiarly and unique evil of the


Holocaust, so we must bear witness to it. There are many ways I have


done that, and so many ways colleagues here have. Ed Cowan for


many different ways. -- it can form many different things. I visited


Jerusalem a number of times. Anyone who has been there is very touched


by Howlett is put together. I think the powerful thing for me which


really touched me was when you leave, having seen all the horror,


you go slightly up an incline to a platform, balcony, which overlooks


what Matt -- must be the most peaceful part of Jerusalem, with


trees I thought it symbolised the hope of people who survived the


Holocaust and I thought how is so sad that people who were murdered in


the Holocaust will never know the peace and tranquillity of the new


life it represents. Closer to home here in London, I'm


proud to attend Westminster Synagogue there are scrolls, as many


of which are around the world in synagogues and being used in prayer


today. Many of those are still here in the museum. It's well worth a


visit. Each of those scrolls represents a community that does not


exist any more. Hundreds of years of Jewish history in Eastern Europe


wiped out. Of course, so many of us today have mentioned how we have


borne witness at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Like many others I took the


opportunity to visit with the Holocaust Educational Trust and 200


post-16 students from across Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.


I'd never been to Auschwitz-Birkenau before despite teaching and


delivering education on the Holocaust in schools. I have never


taken the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau to pay respect to


those murdered by the Nazis and fully understand the scale of that


killing operation. I found the experience incredibly moving. The


place I found most moving was the Jewish cemetery in the nearby local


town where the Nazis took the headstones from that cemetery and


used them on roads and on pavements. Those headstones, many were


recovered. They are looked after by the Jewish community from Krakow.


They are not looked after by the Jewish community in that town, that


community doesn't exist any more. The saddest thing about that


cemetery is the one burial that has taken place there of the single Jew


who almost in an act of deviance came back and lived in that town


following the end of the war. What I found most difficult about visiting


Auschwitz, at the time of the year it went, it was a warm spring day.


Other colleagues made reference to how they were in winter at minus


five and minus ten degrees. On a spring day it was difficult to


understand how horror should have taken place in that setting with the


trees and the woodland around it. It defied belief. As so many colleagues


have again said today, you hear the stories, you do the readings, you


hear the poems and see for yourself the true horror of what took place


there. As I said, I used to teach and deliver Holocaust education to


young people in Hull. I absolutely recognise and agree with all of the


sentiments made across the House today about how we must always


ensure that across all of these islands our Holocaust education


remains. I used to find with the young people I deliver to, it denial


wasn't the problem, disbelief was the problem. Actually, as we would


show and use the photographs and footage of the Holocaust, I found


young people would be silent, some of them would be moved to tears at


just believing this had actually ever happened and that human beings


could be so cruel. One particular piece of film I used to use was the


scene in Schindler's List. There is a debate about using Hollywood


movies in Holocaust education, but actually the liquidation of the


ghetto in that is so powerful that I used to use that and young people


used to be stunned into silence at believing this could have happened.


That is why visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau help ensure that


the Holocaust is never forgotten. Why all of us in here should do all


we can to ensure that Holocaust ed is at the heart of our curriculum in


this country and across the word, indeed. I want to thank all of the


various Holocaust organisations who are involved. We had a lot of


mention of them today. I'm going to add to them again. I want to thank


you Karen Pollock, the CEO of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who


along with her team is an inspiration for us a us all. I've


sat down with Karen and young people both in Auschwitz-Birkenau on the


visit and in Tel Aviv in Israel and the work that the Trust does is


absolutely fantastic. I pay tribute to their campaigning in ensuring


that the Holocaust is a part of the National Curriculum and particularly


their advocacy of ensuring it's at the latest stages of Key Stage 3


that is important that it's taught and delivered to young people who


are emotionally developed enough to be able to understand the full


horror of it all. I want to pay tribute to the work of the Holocaust


Memorial Day Trust and their CEO who delivered the most successful


Holocaust Memorial Day last year. I would like to mention some of the


other Holocaust remembrance education and survival


organisations. Other colleagues have today. Whether it's the Holocaust


Survivor Centre, which my friend spoke about. The Anne Frank Trust


which uses her diary and the honourable lady for East Kilbride


made reference to her visit to Anne Frank's house. The Association of


Jewish Refugees and the National Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire


and the businesses in this country who are also playing their part in


ensuring they mark Holocaust Memorial Day. I met The Royal Bank


of Scotland yes who informed of the work they are doing through their


Jewish Society and encouraging their employees on Holocaust Memorial Day


to take out and reflect. It would be remiss of me not to mention the work


of the Prime Minister's Post Holocaust Issues Envoy, Sir Eric


Pickles who spoke with regard to his visit to Treblinka and his comments


in regards to Holocaust denial. Sir Eric focused on the restitution of


property and art and has been the driving force behind the


Government's adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance


Alliance working on the definition of anti-Semitism. The definition,


although not legally binding, is an important tool for criminal agency


and other bodies to understand how anti-Semitism manifested itself in


the 21st century. It's important we recognise this definition and the


honourable lady for Liverpool Riverside, we cannot deny there is


an increase in anti-Semitism across the country and across Europe. I


served previously on the All Party Parliamentary Group for


Anti-Semitism and visited a Jewish school in Brussels and was frankly


shocked that there was, outside that school, Belgian armed forces guiding


those young people and speaking to those people inside I said - would


you wear your kapa outside in Brussels. He they laughed. The home


of the European Union, a liberal, open minded place, Jewish children


were not prepared to walkabout with their kapa on outis side because of


the risk of attack and abuse. Of course, we have seen that on


campuses here, sadly. We have seen swastikas appear. We have seen


meetings organised by the Israeli Society or Jewish societies on camp


bus disrupted. That is not acceptable. We cannot be silent on.


That something else we have to address. The right honourable member


for Gordon was right to say Holocaust Memorial Day and


remembering the Holocaust must be something which, RAADless of your


view in the Middle East, whether you regard yourself pro-Palestinian or


pr-Israeli we must acknowledge. There is unfortunately there is an


increased Israeli vie case using Israel and Zionism as a proxy for


Jews. I have been on the receiving end of this, when on Twitter in


particular, you see pictures of the Star of David represented as the


Nazi flag. That is not acceptable. It's a form of anti-Semitism. It was


wonderful seeing Lawrence Reece who produced the Nazis A warning From


History destroy the arguments of those who make statements today that


Hitler was a Zionist and such like. We have seen too much of that in


that debate. It is ignorant and it is sinister and we should call it


out for what it is. It is anti-Semitic. As is attending a


rally and holding a flag of Hamas or Hezbollah. That is an anti-Semitic


act. Le we should be proud of what we have done in this country in


terms of tackling anti-Semitism and the work on the UK Holocaust


Memorial. I want to give the honourable gentleman from Hove time


to sum up. I will just end with a quote with a quote. It epitomises


Holocaust Memorial Day's theme on how life can go on,". He returned to


Poland a Denning decade ago. He said. I went to Auschwitz after


being nagged my children. He described being under the sign at


the entrance. It meant nothing to me. I stood under the sign and said


- after all that Hitler tried to do. He didn't suck sees for I am still


here. Life can go on, but only if we all have the responsibility and we


all have the responsibility of reconciliation, rebuilding lives and


communities and preventing such events from ever happening again by


calling out intolerance where ever it might be. It's the first time in


my short time in the Commons where I agree with every single word spoken


from all sides of the House. It was a privilege to be here for it. I


would like to single out a couple of members who spoke. The member for


Brentwood and onar and Liverpool and Riverside. Spoke with determination


to confront Holocaust denial where they see it and educate us as to the


pathways towards it. The member for Bexhill and Battle went on the


journey with me on this pathway. Thank you for his contribution


today. My honourable friend from Enfield brought us the testimony of


survivors. The member from Gordon spoke with tremendous power and


forthright analysis about the challenges of disentangling the


events of the Holocaust from today's events in the Middle East. Something


people stumble into naively. The two are separate issues that need our


intellectual inquiry in two separate ways. I thank him for that. The


chamber here I've discovered thrives on difference and often conflict. I


hope that today we have seen that there is strength in this place


through consensus. I hope that the strength that comes from this


consensus is not one where we agree consensus is not one where we agree


to walk away benignly, but we go to walk away benignly, but we go


away with consensus that drives us with steely determination to make


sure that the events of the Holocaust and the issues we


discussed here today are driven here from the House of Commons to our own


communities and down into the fabric of our communities so lessons are


learnt time and time again. Thank you.


The question is. That this House has considered Holocaust Memorial Day.


As many of that opinion say aye. Aye. The ayes have it, the ayes have


it. I beg to move this House do now adjourn. The question is, that this


House do now adjourn. Patricia Gibson. Here, here.


Thank you Madame Deputy Speaker. This evening's debate could not be


more important to the good people of Ayrshire. As everybody at home can


see and everybody in the cham can see it's important to MPs across


Scotland who turned out to show their support for the Ayrshire


Growth Deal. The Ayrshire Growth Deal is of huge importance to


reenergising the economy of the whole country of Ayrshire. The part


of Ayrshire I represent, indeed the entirety of the Ayrshire county has


breath takingly natural beauty in parts. However, no-one would deny


that it also has its own challenges to meet.


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