Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Anniversary - 60 years of Declaration

To coincide with the Anniversary of the International declaration of Human Rights, I raised this question in the Senedd yesterday.

Q.Will the One Wales Government make a statement on human rights to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights? A report was published recently that exposed that UK hospitals were buying surgical instruments that have been produced in dangerous working conditions by children as young as eight in Pakistan. This should be discussed by the Assembly. After all, we are responsible for providing health services. The Minister for Health and Social Services should investigate to see whether any Welsh hospitals have been involved.

I would also like to see a statement on ambulance waiting times. People have contacted me about problems in the Vale of Glamorgan and in the Valleys. In one case, a mother died in hospital two days after a sixhour wait for an ambulance. People are very worried about something as basic as ambulance waiting times. I am sure that Members would welcome assurances from the Minister so that we can all have full confidence in our ambulance service.

Carwyn Jones: A written statement on the ambulance service is due imminently.

In terms of human rights, I join you in recognising and celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the universal declaration. It was the first time that any document had stated that human rights applied worldwide, and not just to certain groups of people. The League of Nations, when it was set up, for all its worthiness, after the Treaty of Versailles, was never designed to be anything other than a talking shop for powerful nations and a representative vehicle for nations that were primarily white. The League of Nations failed in many aspects in that regard. However, the 1948 eclaration was extremely important. We know that there are many parts of the world where human rights abuses occur daily, if not hourly. Although time has, sadly, not been found for a statement on this, I am sure that many Members will join you, Leanne, and I in wanting to recognise this tomorrow—I understand that Amnesty International will be in the building tomorrow—and add our weight to ensuring that human rights abuses are exposed and, in time, dealt with.

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