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Blair Speech: Failing to Affirm Need for Justice and Protection

'People in Britain, initially shocked and dumbfounded by the calamity of 11 September, wish to see a response to that day's horrors based firmly on the need for justice not revenge.

Mr Blair's speech has done little to address wide public concern that innocent people must not be made to suffer in the wake of 11 September.

The Prime Minister should have spent as much time stressing the need for refugee protection in and around Afghanistan as on his ‘stiffening of the nerves' rhetoric.'

Amnesty International also noted that, with the four-day visit to Britain of Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao, the UK government has an opportunity to make clear that it finds unacceptable any Chinese crackdown on peaceful activists in Tibet and Xinjiang under a pretext of 'counter-terrorism' measures.

Mr Hu, who yesterday met Mr Blair in Downing Street, is due to meet the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott tonight.

The Chinese government has recently called for international support in its clampdown on domestic 'terrorism', raising fears that repression of Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur region will increase and that longstanding human rights abuse in Tibet will continue with little international criticism.

Since 11 September Amnesty International has grown increasingly concerned that the international community is prepared to ‘turn a blind eye' to ongoing human tights abuses in places like China, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and a range of countries with poor human rights records.

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