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Thursday, 20 March 1980
Page: 1098

Mr Jacobi asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 20 February 1980:

Further to his reply to my question No. 2562 (Hansard, 8 November 1978, page 2579) and in view of the continuing evidence that the Soviet Union is persecuting political, religious and national dissidents to quieten them before the Olympic Games (see the report of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence on Human Rights in the Soviet Union, Conclusions and Recommendations, paragraph (61)), will he now energetically seek' assurances from the Soviet Government that it will cease to hold in custody during the Olympic Games those who may protest against Soviet violations of human rights.

Mr Peacock - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The Government is aware of reports that the Soviet Union is persecuting political, religious and national dissidents to quieten them before the. Olympic Games. The Government deplores any acts of persecution whether or not they are related to the holding of the Olympic Games in Moscow.

The Government's position remains as stated in my reply to the honourable member's earlier question No. 2562. The Government is deeply attached to the need to promote and defend the cause of human rights throughout the world. This position has been stated publicly on many occasions. The issue of human rights in the Soviet Union is one which has drawn the particular attention of the Government. The Government has called on the Soviet Union to implement the important principles of human rights embodied in the United Nations instruments as well as the 1975 Helsinki Accords. It continues to do so. The Government's stand on human rights will be maintained for as long as basic human rights are denied in the Soviet Union or elsewhere. The actions of the Soviet Union which the honourable member has drawn attention to can only serve to strengthen that resolve.

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