Human rights abuses in China and the US condemned

(Title Image: Deutsche Welle)

Here’s a round-up of this afternoon’s international affairs and culture questions.

Human rights in China

Shadow External Affairs Minister, Darren Millar AM (Con, Clwyd West), raised the matter of foreign officials and human rights. Wales has been a leader on human rights in many respects, but during a recent visit by the Vice-Premier of China, was the issue of human rights – particularly in light of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong – raised with them?

As well as well-highlighted persecution of (Muslim) Uyghurs, an estimated 97million Christians were at risk of persecution in China.

The Minister said she did:

“Of course, we’re very aware of the issues surrounding human rights in China, in particular, at the moment, with the situation in Hong Kong, and also, with the ethnic minorities, in terms of the Uyghurs Muslims. So, those were live issues, and indeed, I did raise the issue of human rights with the deputy premier at the dinner in the evening.”
– International Affairs & Welsh Language Minister, Eluned Morgan (Lab, Mid & West Wales)

Nation of Sanctuary

Leanne Wood AM (Plaid, Rhondda) asked what the Minister’s department was doing to promote Wales as a welcoming nation. She was particularly concerned about what was happening in the United States:

“I’m very concerned about the inhumane treatment of migrants, especially migrant children, on the US border with Mexico. At least 24 people, including six children, have so far died during the Trump administration, in what can only be truthfully described as ‘concentration camps’. The US Government is separating thousands of children from their parents and detaining them in cold cages that have been nicknamed ‘dog pounds’ and ‘freezers’ by the detained children.”
– Leanne Wood AM

The Minister condemned any breaches of human rights. She was shocked that there were no clear records of whom were separated from whom, making it more difficult to reunite families. There was nothing that Wales could do directly as foreign policy is the responsibility of the UK Government. However, she opened the door to the Senedd/Welsh Government “making our views known” as it has on other foreign policy issues.

Shooting and anti-social behaviour on Cadw land

Hefin David AM (Lab, Caerphilly) said contractors were granted permission by Cadw to shoot a number of birds on the grounds of Caerphilly Castle in order to control numbers. Following a public outcry, Cadw has suspended it subject to a review – though reportedly they’ve been able to do it for some time under the terms of a Natural Resources Wales licence.

“Cadw have trialled a number of ways to control feral pigeons in the past, including localised netting, blocking up holes in historic fabric….installing anti-perching spikes, using ultrasound, lifelike plastic deterrents and even birds of prey. These have not proven as effective as they would have wished, but I can not only confirm that the activity that Cadw undertook was legal, but in view of the concern that has been expressed by yourself today and, indeed, by members of the public, Cadw has agreed to undertake a review.”
– Deputy Minister for Culture, Media & Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Ind, Dwyfor Meirionnydd)

Mohammad Asghar AM (Con, South Wales East) praised the quick response to anti-social behaviour at Caerleon amphitheatre. Was anything proposed to deal with it in the longer-term?

The Deputy Minister hasn’t received any detailed report, but while the obvious answer would be to fence historic sites in, that would make them less attractive; there needed to be a balance and he had faith in education and involving young people in conservation programmes making the difference.

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