FOREIGN AFFAIRS – FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE & RELIGION – 1 May 2014

Dr Julian Lewis: Given that we are supplying so much aid to Nigeria, does the hon. Gentleman [Jim Shannon] agree that perhaps we might incentivise its Government a little bit by suggesting that the aid will not be forthcoming in such great quantity unless that Government take prompt action in this terrible situation?

[Jim Shannon: I could not have put it better. That is exactly how I feel, and how many of us feel in the House. We want action from the Nigerian Government instead of this hands-off approach. We want those 230 children sent back to their parents, in the same condition and health that they were in when they were kidnapped. If the hon. Gentleman’s suggestion is a way of ensuring that, then let us do it. ...]

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Dr Lewis: The Minister has covered many of the abuses that have been mentioned, but he has not made reference to China and the harvesting of organs, to which I referred. I note from the reading that I have done for this debate that whereas there have been pronouncements on the subject by the United Nations, the United States and even the European Parliament, I have not come across anything much from the British Government. I wonder what their attitude to the subject is.

[The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Hugo Swire): If my hon. Friend will bear with me, I hope to get to that in the time left. ... My hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) raised the issue of Falun Gong. We continue to have serious concerns about reports of torture and mistreatment of detainees in China. We are aware that organs removed from executed prisoners are used for human transplantation purposes in China, and that Chinese law requires that prisoners give prior consent that their organs be used in that way. Criminal justice reform and the rule of law, including torture prevention and the treatment of detainees, has been a consistent focus of our human rights engagement with the Chinese authorities both at ministerial level and through project work on the ground. We welcome steps taken by the Chinese Government in recent years to improve the regulation of organ transplantation, and we will continue to encourage China to make further progress in that respect, including by engaging to share best practice. ...]

[For Julian's speech in this debate click here.]