Naz Shah MP

Labour MP for Bradford West

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Donald Trump Online Hate Speech Urgent Question

Today I called on the Home Secretary to apply the Rules fairly and not to welcome the President of the United States, who continually spreads hateful content. 

I asked -

In her previous role as Home Secretary, the Prime Minister banned from entering this country individuals who had promoted organisations peddling the hate-filled ideology of fascism. This morning, David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, applauded Donald Trump. The New York Times notes:

“No modern American president has promoted inflammatory content of this sort from an extremist organization.”

Not only has the commander-in-tweet done this, but he has defended it, publicly chastising the British Prime Minister for her comments. Putting aside the question of a state visit, should he even be allowed to enter our country? Unprecedented actions require unprecedented responses.

Amber Rudd – Home secretary replied.

I point out to the hon. Lady that the Prime Minister has robustly replied to the President and made her views absolutely clear. On the hon. Lady’s other proposal, we do not routinely comment on individual exclusion cases.

Donald Trump and Online Hate Speech

Donald Trump Online Hate Speech Urgent Question Today I called on the Home Secretary to apply the Rules fairly and not to welcome the President of the United States, who...

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Rohingya Crisis Debate - Westminster Hall 

 

It is always a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Paisley. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for City of Durham (Dr Blackman-Woods) on securing the debate.

It is imperative that we all make the effort to continue raising the plight of the Rohingyan people—those displaced and those still living in Myanmar—who face the continued threat of persecution and violence. That includes a woman having her unborn baby cut out from her and killed, babies snatched from their mothers and thrown into fires and burned alive, children beaten to death with shovels, children forced to watch as family members are tortured, raped and killed and mass rape of girls as young as five.

If we stop to contemplate those atrocities even for a moment, we can be in no doubt that what has taken place is ethnic cleansing and genocide. The US and the UN have both said that. The British Government are yet to recognise it. I have said it before and I will say it again: 640,000 people have been deliberately driven ​from their homes, with many killed or tortured. I fear that the international community is failing these people, who are stateless within their own country and do not have the necessary level of aid and support as refugees.

The thing I want to focus on and that I am deeply concerned about, like my colleagues, is the Rohingyan refugees’ potential return to Myanmar. A proposed return without secured political and human rights may create a perception of progress while in reality abandoning the Rohingya people to a life of normalised terror. With the current situation and the animosity, this is no time to be talking about simply returning the Rohingya to Myanmar. If return is on the table, what exactly are they returning to? Without rights and acceptance, what difference will it make? How can we expect people to return when they are dehumanised and persecuted daily?

It is far too early to be returning people to uncertainty. Early surveys indicate that only 10% would wish to return at this point anyway. The 1951 UN refugee convention is absolutely clear about the forced return of refugees and the conditions of safe return that would be required. That is an absolute principle within international law, and any forcible repatriation must be rejected by the entire international community.

Last time I spoke on this subject, I pleaded with the Government to look seriously at more targeted sanctions against the Burmese military and to convince the Burmese military—not just the leadership—to accept what is going on and change the status quo. So far, all we have done within Europe and the UN is to stop our military training and deny visas to military personnel. That is simply not enough.

Unless we sanction the military and carry out these investigations, we are not telling the world that we are serious about this issue.

The Myanmar military and leadership need to understand that actions have consequences and repercussions, and that we as an international community will not stand by and allow this to continue. They need to understand that Great Britain and those who have spoken today have been heard and listened to and that these people’s stories are reaching our shores. They are the stories of tears that my hon. Friend the Member for Tooting (Dr Allin-Khan) spoke about, of women who are homeless and of children who will know no certainty for years to come and have no future. They have come out of the chip pan and into the fire, and they are still burning—literally. This is not something we can accept or stand by and watch. We must be doing more.

Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya Crisis Debate - Westminster Hall    It is always a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Paisley. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for City of Durham...

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Centenary of the Balfour Declaration - 

 

Today we debated the impact of the Balfour Declaration, and its lasting impact in the region.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir David. I welcome the opportunity to debate such an important subject, which is still the source of much suffering in the middle east.

The state of Israel has come to exist over the last 100 years, and the document we are discussing is largely symbolic of changes in attitudes, certainly within this country, to the notion of a Jewish nation co-existing in Palestine; but is crucial that we understand that the 50 years following 1917 probably played a far more important role. It is clear that the vision laid out in the letter was always almost certain to fail. A new state located in a place at the expense of those currently inhabiting it would always be problematic, and it has proved to be that way. Britain has a clear historical connection to both the people of Palestine and the people of Israel. The letter, in my view, goes beyond that and sets out a moral obligation and responsibility to ensure that both are protected. It would not be right to mark Balfour’s letter purely through the prism of when it was written, and not to reflect on the current situation in the middle east.​

The sad truth is that, while the current situation exists, we are no closer to the vision—if it can be called that—laid out in the Balfour letter. Some 5 million Palestinians of varying descent live as displaced refugees, living by and large in poverty across the middle east; 2.5 million live in torturous conditions in the occupied west bank, and 1.7 million people live in the largest open prison camp on the planet, in Gaza, with no basic rights, no citizenship, and no hope of a lasting future. Given that the current Israeli Prime Minister is intent on further expansion, the border is more undefined than ever and, sadly, lasting peace is further and further away. The Government must recognize just how far away we are from a peaceful solution.

We must recognise that our role has created untold suffering. We have a humanitarian and moral obligation, set out by Balfour, not to leave things unfinished. We must not allow the continued suffering of the Palestinian people and accept it as the norm within the region. We must compel, and recommit ourselves to helping, both sides to find a lasting peace. If the Government are truly committed to a two-state solution, there are steps that they can take, and there are a few things that I want today to call on them to do. One is investing in infrastructure in Palestine, so that we can rebuild. The Government can also go a huge way to ensuring that prejudice and the suppression of the civil rights of Palestinians are brought to an end, by making a commitment to the legal recognition of Palestine. That would be a small but momentous step and might help to create the conditions for peace.

I remind the House not to look at Balfour through the prism of the time when it was written. We have failed the people of Palestine and with each passing day we fail more of them. We must help to find a way to help them out of their suffering and not speak of peace but commit ourselves to trying to make it happen.

Centenary of the Balfour Declaration

  Centenary of the Balfour Declaration -    Today we debated the impact of the Balfour Declaration, and its lasting impact in the region.


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