Amendments 47 and 48 not moved.
Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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I am not able to call Amendment 48A by reason of pre-emption.

Amendments 48A to 53 not moved.
Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 54. I remind noble Lords again that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this amendment or the other amendment in this group to a Division should make that clear in the debate.

Amendment 54

Moved by
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Amendment 65 not moved.
Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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We now come to Amendment 66—Lord Stevenson of Balmacara. I understand that neither the noble Lord nor anyone else listed to speak wishes to move this amendment.

Amendment 66 not moved.
Amendment 67 not moved.
Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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We now come to the group beginning with Amendment 68. I remind noble Lords that anyone wishing to speak after the Minister should email the clerk during the debate. Anyone wishing to press this or any other amendment in the group to a Division should make that clear in debate.

Amendment 68

Moved by
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Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Portrait Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Con) [V]
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My Lords, I apologise for not being here at the start of this Committee. I had to chair the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords to which the Governor of the Bank of England was giving evidence.

I support these amendments and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Alton, on his tireless commitment to championing the cause of so many people suffering persecution and genocide around the world. Who on the Front Bench could have heard that speech and not felt an absolute obligation to accept these amendments or some variation on them? This House can be proud not only of the noble Lord, Lord Alton, but also of the noble Baroness, Lady Cox, for the indefatigable way in which they bring the appalling atrocities happening around the world to the attention of this House and of the country.

I want to focus on China, a country with detention without trial for bloggers, journalists, academics and dissidents; of televised forced concessions; of torture, genocide, enforced organ harvesting, compulsory sterilisation, forced labour and the destruction of crosses and their churches. I have referred to this in the House before, and to the evidenced-based report by the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission entitled The Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China, 2013-2016. It makes for very disturbing reading. It details how a pastor’s wife was buried alive while protesting at the demolition of a church in Henan province and how Falun Gong prisoners were forced to donate organs to high-ranking Chinese officials.

Giving evidence to the commission on organ harvesting, the Chinese-born actress, Anastasia Lin, said that such acts force us

“to confront the question of how humans—doctors trained to heal, no less—could possibly do such great evil”.

Her answer was:

“The aggressors in China were not born to be monsters who take out organs from people … It’s the system that made them do that. It’s the system that made them so cold-bloodedly able to cut people open and take out their organs and watch them die.”

As a consequence of her criticism of the regime, Ms Lin’s family was threatened by state security agents and her Canadian sponsors were asked by the Chinese consulate to withdraw their support.

Last century, China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but somehow it has not got around to ratifying it. The assaults on Tibetan identity and the oppression of the Uighurs in Xinjiang are mirrored in Mongolia. My right honourable friend Sir Iain Duncan Smith wrote about this in last week’s Daily Telegraph. He reported that there are 3 million Uighurs in detention camps and he rightly pointed out:

“As China carries out these human rights abuses while systematically breaking World Trade Organisation rules, too many businesses act as apologists for China”.

We must now take a lead in challenging this behaviour. We saw how Huawei found friends in high places, with the noble Lord, Lord Browne of Madingley, no less, chairing its UK board and Sir Mike Rake, a former president of the CBI, joining the board, together with a former head of UK Trade & Investment, Sir Andrew Cahn and the Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Ken Olisa. I do not know what the UK board of Huawei does but, since public exposure, many of these people have scuttled off it. Speaking out against China’s egregious breaches of human rights has not been one of their functions.

This amendment is a start to holding China and others to account. In a Written Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Alton—I call him my noble friend—the noble Lord, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

“We have a policy of engagement with China and our approach will remain consistent even if difficulties emerge.”

We are talking about atrocities and genocide. This is why this amendment and its supporting amendment —which takes account of the Minister’s comments—need to be taken on board in the Bill. I hope the Minister will support it.

Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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As the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, has withdrawn, I call the noble Baroness, Lady Falkner of Margravine.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine Portrait Baroness Falkner of Margravine (CB)
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My Lords, it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lords, Lord Alton and Lord Forsyth. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, set out the case so comprehensively that I will not detain the House in repeating some of these egregious abuses.

I want to come at this from another angle that speaks directly to the UK’s trade policy and our values and obligations on the international stage. States carry moral weight, so the amendment is entirely pertinent to this Bill.

Thinking about this amendment made me reach for my copy of Philippe Sands QC’s excellent book East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity. Anticipating resistance to our amendment, I hope to explain why Amendments 68 and 76A are relevant. They will only apply in the most extreme and egregious cases as affects international law and UK trade policy. My arguments go directly to the distinction between the crime of genocide and the broader illegality of crimes against humanity.

At the Nuremberg trials of 1945 and 1946, two outstanding prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, part of the British and US teams, determined that international laws were needed relating to a pattern of state behaviour that could no longer be allowed to stand and that they were categories of human rights violations that needed to be given a name and recognised—“genocide” and “crimes against humanity”. For Lauterpacht, who was an academic at Cambridge, the killing of individuals, if part of a systematic plan, would be a crime against humanity. For Lemkin, the focus was genocide: the killing of the many with the intention of destroying the group of which they were a part.

As Philippe Sands explains, for a prosecutor today the difference between the two is to do with establishing intent. To prove genocide, you need to show the act of killing was motivated by an intent to destroy the whole group, whereas for crimes against humanity no such intent has to be shown. He explains that proving intent of genocide is extremely difficult, as those involved tend not to leave a paper trail—he should know, being the foremost prosecutor of such attempts.

Lemkin went on to win the argument at the United Nations, as in December 1948, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It was the first human rights treaty of the modern era. Lauterpacht’s contribution inspired the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of 1948, ironically adopted by the General Assembly only one day after the genocide convention that same December. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law and is not yet an international convention.

But turning to when and where this particular provision from this amendment may be used, it is fair to say the world is more respectful of both individual and group rights, but not universally—hence the suffering of the Rohingya people in Burma and the Uighurs in China. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others have spoken about the crimes against them, and this House is well versed in this situation over several years.

I want to close by quoting Raphael Lemkin from a letter he wrote in 1946, which is quoted by Sands. He wrote the letter two years before the genocide convention was agreed. He wrote the letter when he despaired that it would become international law, and he said:

“we cannot keep telling the world in endless sentences: Don’t murder members of national, racial and religious groups; don’t sterilise them; don’t impose abortions on them; don’t steal children from them; don’t compel their women to bear children for your country; and so on. But we must tell the world now, at this unique occasion, don’t practice Genocide.”

If the United Kingdom’s values are to stand for anything in trade, international relations and its footprint on the international stage, they must stand for that.

Baroness Deech Portrait Baroness Deech (CB) [V]
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My Lords, I salute my noble friend Lord Alton for bringing the amendment forward in the style to which we have become accustomed, for he has always been a champion not just of the underdog but of those who are on the verge of death and torture. I rely on his description of genocide and that of my noble friend Lady Falkner. The definition is a complicated one and it is quite correct for the amendment to rely on the High Court to decide whether a country is guilty of genocide.

It is a sad day when we have to debate this, but the amendment is perfectly in keeping with the trade amendments that we have been discussing all day, because we can see the thread: morality and trade go together. The amendment is a very good example of that.

It is sadly no longer the case that genocide is something of the past. We have many modern examples of genocide or steps toward it: the Darfuris in Sudan, the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Christians in Nigeria, the Yazidis. We must now ensure that UK business and consumers do not support or profit from forced labour inflicted on the Uighurs in China. It is shameful that China is in such a position that it controls so many international organisations and enables itself to be free from any attack on its behaviour. That is what makes the amendment so important.

I quote Yehuda Bauer, an Israeli historian who himself escaped from a possible Holocaust and was able to get to Palestine in the days when the United Kingdom prevented most refugees entering Palestine. He said:

“Politics that are not based on moral considerations are, at the end of the day, not practical politics at all. It is out of these considerations that I beg you to permit me to repeat here what I said, exactly eight years ago, in a speech to the German Bundestag: I come from a people that gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Let us agree that we need three more commandments, and they are these: thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.”

He writes in a new book:

“I can no longer bear the speeches void of content and packed with clichés of presidents, prime ministers, rabbis and others … What does it actually mean to say ‘Never again’ when genocides keep recurring? It’s just an empty slogan.”

We are learning that in this country. Holocaust remembrance is a major event every year, but building monuments will not do it. There are countless memorials around the world to genocide and atrocities, but they do not help the victims or teach other countries to change their behaviour. We cannot block China because of the unfortunate structure of the Security Council.

Some people say that we will at least be able to bring the perpetrators to justice, but the number of trials before international tribunals is actually quite small. Yes, there was the Nuremburg tribunal. A Japanese war general was put on trial. Tokyo war crimes were tried. There was a tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, for Rwanda and for Cambodia, and the trials of Saddam Hussein and Charles Taylor. But they are ex post facto: the murders and genocide happened before the trials. It is too late for those who died. There is no indication that the punishment of a trial awaiting them has deterred mass killers.

Moreover, the International Criminal Court does not have universal jurisdiction and its stances are partial. Indeed, President Trump gave an executive order in June threatening consequences against anyone who supported this court. There is now a perception in many quarters that the International Criminal Court has not fulfilled the expectations of its founders. The court’s proceedings are cumbersome and lengthy. Many of those accused are still at large, including Omar al-Bashir, the former President of Sudan. Some €1.5 billion have been spent, and there have been only three convictions for core international crimes. Cumbersome procedures, ineffective prosecutions against high-level alleged perpetrators and weak internal management are among the current criticisms of the International Criminal Court.

We are therefore left with nothing else that we can do apart from taking in refugees and supporting this amendment. I wish that there were mechanisms for going into the countries of the accused and rescuing those who are suffering from genocide or coming near to it, but it seems that we cannot do that. Supporting this amendment and perhaps hitting them where it hurts, which is in trade, is the only thing we can do. I cannot see any reason for the Government not to accept it. I support both of these amendments wholeheartedly.

Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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Owing to an error in the listing, the noble Baroness, Lady Northover, will speak later. Meanwhile, I call the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, like other noble Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for his consistent support for oppressed people around the world. That is not in any doubt whatever; nor is the sincerity of the intent behind the amendment. I would, however, like to query whether it will achieve what the noble Lord thinks it might.

I will speak to the revised format of the amendment and concentrate on free trade agreements, not the GPA under subsection (1). The regulations under Section 2(1) apply only to continuity trade agreements. As I understand it, at the moment there is no agreement with either China or Myanmar that would qualify to be implemented by regulations under Clause 2 of this Bill, so I do not think that the amendment will achieve what noble Lords want it to. It would be quite difficult to repurpose the amendment to tackle future trade agreements because what the court could not do is revoke the trade agreement. The only thing that could be got at is some of the implementation legislation. It would be quite difficult to find a formulation that allowed the High Court to revoke, in effect, an international trade agreement. As I have suggested, I do not think that the mechanism of going to the implementation measures will actually work.

In addition, I believe that Parliament has a clear role when new free trade agreements are entered into. If Parliament does not like the counterparties or believes that they might be involved in either genocide or any other form of abuse—my noble friend Lord Forsyth spoke as much about human rights abuses as he did about genocide itself—it can decide not to ratify a free trade agreement and not to implement any legislation that is required to implement such an agreement. However, it is very difficult to go back and undo a free trade agreement once it has been made and ratified. I suggest to my noble friend that even if the courts were able to do that, I do not believe that they are the right place for what is essentially a political decision.

Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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I understand that the noble Baroness, Lady Stroud, has withdrawn so I call the noble Lord, Lord Judd.

Lord Judd Portrait Lord Judd (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton, for introducing this amendment. I agree absolutely with those who argued that it is inconceivable that the Government will not accept it.

The situation in China is of course appalling, but if we are going to introduce this legislation and further the cause of justice, we must be consistent. That means that we have to try to do everything possible to avoid arbitrariness, in which cases to be brought become, in a sense, historically arbitrary, because there are too many cases of what appears to be genocide in the world.

It is not just a matter of genocide; the definitions of genocide are clear and you can make an absolute stand. The problem is the issues which are marginal; there is also the problem of the immense human suffering, inhumanity and abuse of human rights and so on, which do not formally become genocide but which are appalling.

The one point I want to make in this context is that if the House, as I am sure it will, overwhelmingly approves this amendment—my congratulations to all those who have brought it forward—this must be the point at which we take extremely seriously, in all our trade deals, abuses of human rights, suffering and injustice. I do not hesitate to make the point.

An example of this is Yemen. Why do we prevaricate on Yemen when it is absolutely clear that we are very much implicated, indirectly, in what is happening there? That has great significance for our trade policy towards Saudi Arabia and others. We must be consistent. This is a wonderful opportunity to mark a point of no return, where as a nation we become known for consistency and firmness in our approach to the application and fulfilment of human rights and the protection of people in the name of humanity across the world.

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This is rather a clever amendment, which I strongly support, and I hope that it has cross-party support. It is not about politics but about values, morality and ensuring that we do what we believe in as a country. We have heard so many examples this evening of cases of genocide that I will not rehearse any more. I will say only that if the Minister cannot accept Amendment 76A, perhaps he might consider tabling a government amendment that would put this issue on the face of the Bill.
Baroness Fookes Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Fookes) (Con)
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The noble Baroness, Lady Altmann, has withdrawn, as has the noble Baroness, Lady Ritchie of Downpatrick, so I call the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead.