Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to pursue a foreign policy that will not fuel conflicts but solve them if elected, while criticising Saudi Arabia for its “cruel” war in Yemen and urging Myanmar to end the violence against the Rohingya.
Corbyn made the comments in an energetic speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Wednesday.
In his wide-ranging address, which was largely focused on Britain’s future after its exit from the European Union, the Labour leader said he would put the pursuit of peace and human rights at the centre of his foreign policy if he became prime minister.
He also called for greater accountability by governments engaged in conflicts around the world.
Here are some of the subjects Corbyn covered in his speech – in his own words.
“Terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger.
“We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them. And we must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy.
“Democracy and human rights are not an optional extra to be deployed selectively.”
“We cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.”
“I say this today to Aung San Suu Kyi, as a champion of democracy and human rights: please, do all you can to end the violence now against the Rohingya in Myanmar and allow the UN and international aid agencies into Rakhine state.
“The Rohingya have suffered for too long!”
“Let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion and move to a genuine two-state solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”
“We must be a candid friend to the United States, now more than ever.
“The values we share are not served by building walls, banning immigrants on the basis of religion, polluting the planet, or pandering to racism.
“And Let me say frankly, the speech made by the US president to the United Nations last week was deeply disturbing. It threatened war and talked of tearing up international agreements.
“Devoid of concern for human rights or universal values, it was not the speech of a world leader.”
“There is no bigger test in politics right now than Brexit, an incredibly important and complex process, that cannot be reduced to repeating fairy stories from the side of a bus or waiting 15 months to state the obvious.
“As democratic socialists, we accept and respect the referendum result, but respect for a democratic decision does not mean giving a green light to a reckless Tory Brexit agenda that would plunge Britain into a Trump-style race-to-the-bottom in rights and corporate taxes.
“Never has the national interest been so ill-served on such a vital issue, If there were no other reason for the Tories to go, their self-interested Brexit bungling would be reason enough. So I have a simple message to the cabinet for Britain’s sake: pull yourself together or make way.