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Friday, July 22, 2011

Cameron turns blind eye to torture in South Africa

Cameron turns blind eye to torture in South Africa

Cameron’s meeting with South Africa’s president Zuma

The UK was complicit in CIA torture flights, under the Labour administration when first Jack Straw, and then David Miliband, were Foreign Secretary. Under the Coalition William Hague is Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. Still the UK is complicit in torture, only this time it is being committed in South Africa. Mr Cameron said: "I think it right for Britain to be engaged with South Africa and to be engaged with Africa as a whole. There is a huge opportunity for trade, for growth, for jobs, including jobs at home in the UK".

Whilst our courts are reluctant, and quite rightly so in spite of Dominic Raab's view to the contrary, to deport refugees, failed asylum seekers and foreign criminals to countries where they are likely to be tortured and killed. How can it be legally and morally right to have trade links with such countries where torture is rife? It makes me physically ill at the thought that David Cameron is prepared to turn a Nelsonian blind eye to the obvious!

According to Alex Vines, OBE, Research Director, Regional and Security Studies; and Head, Africa Programme at the Establishment supporting and funded Chatam House states: "David Cameron's first visit to Africa as prime minister is significant. The Prime Minister is visiting Africa's two economic giants, South Africa and Nigeria. Both have robust cultural links with the UK and also offer promising new trade opportunities. The business delegation that Cameron heads is an important statement of the coalition government's objective to have a more balanced relationship with Africa: trade and aid". The trip was cut short for #hackgate and Rwanda and South Sudan lost out in relation to aid, only the business part was deemed important. Given that Nick Clegg sat silent with a long face next to Cameron in the Commons, it leaves me wondering why we have a Deputy Prime Minister at all? In other words, Cameron should not have cut short the trip and instead left Clegg to handle the Commons statement and debate.

Professor Chris Landsberg, head of the Department of Politics at the University of Johannesburg states: "We know that Britain has an agenda for Africa". It is suggested that Cameron is offering a bribe for political support against Libya, that he suffers from Chinaphobia and that he is trying to elbow his way into the "New Scramble for Africa".

What is distburing is that even though prisoners in South Africa have the vote, they may now be worse off than under the Aparthied regime because with the franchise came Torture in South African prisons. Every day that Parliament is in recess, somebody, somewhere, in the South African prison system will be tortured by the guards. It is tragic that we in the UK create a big fuss over a dead girl's phone being hacked into, yet not a murmer about the torture of innocent prisoners.

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