2011-04-07 UK Commons debate on Bradley Manning: video update

As WL Central reported on Tuesday, in an adjournment debate in the UK House of Commons on Monday evening, Henry Bellingham, parliamentary undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, confirmed that Bradley Manning acquired British citizenship at birth.

The video of the debate is now available here.

The opening argument of MP Ann Clwyd (Labour - Cynon Valley) is notable for emphasizing that Bradley Manning's citizenship is not the sole reason a government of laws should be concerned about his treatment. She had earlier raised the interpretation of the British Nationality Act with the foreign minister in committee and in the Commons, but in this address, she reminds the government of its commitment to speak out against human-rights abuses everywhere, regardless of the victim's nationality. She also asks for assurances that Manning's British family will receive UK consular assistance in their future attempts to visit him at the US Marine base at Quantico, Virginia.

Bellingham responds affirmatively on all three counts -- on the strict interpretation of the Nationality Act (with qualifications based on Manning's right to privacy), on the commitment of the UK government to make formal representations to other nations concerning human-rights abuses, and on the willingness of the government to assist Manning's family in their attempts to visit him.

Previous WL Central coverage of Bradley Manning

WL Central action page for Bradley Manning

Consular access

Hello there!

Thanks for the update but a slight misunderstanding of 'consular access' here: what is meant by this is getting a representative of the British Embassy in Washington over to Quantico to visit Bradley and ensure his treatment there meets the minimum standards the UK Government expects for its citizens.

We should hope that this happens soon, partcularly in light of David Coombs' update of yesterday, which confirmed that Juan Mendez, Amnesty and Dennis Kucinich had been denied 'official' (ie. unmonitored) access. The requirement for the US to grant a UK consular official "the right to visit... to converse and correspond" on request is guaranteed under the 1963 Vienna Convention so would presumably be more difficult for the brig to treat in this way.

Once this process is underway, Bradley's relatives in Wales should also be able to expect the Embassy and the FCO to keep them informed and grant them assistance where necessary.


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