LIKE many I am deeply concerned that as the UK desperately seeks to strengthen trade relations across the globe due to Brexit, human rights issues are very much being seen as secondary in such talks.

The latest example is that of Prime Minister May, who has embarked on a two-day visit to the oil-rich state of Saudi Arabia, where there are clearly fundamental concerns over the abuse of human rights.

These include the targeting of civilians in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-backed coalition, the prolific use of the death penalty and attacks on freedom of speech.

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Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has used British-made weapons in a war that has to date killed 10,000 people, leaving 21 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and uprooting three million people from their homes.

The UK Government has licensed more than £3.3 billion worth of arms to the Gulf State, and given the impact this is having there should be an immediate suspension of UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Yemen urgently needs a ceasefire, a political settlement, and food aid, not more bombing.

Human rights is a core value that we must defend and Ms May should place human rights and international law at the centre of her talks. The fact that this is not being done shows just how far the UK’s moral compass has been skewed.
Alex Orr

I HAVE heard and seen a multitude of assertions that there is no mandate for indyref2.

In Holyrood the SNP received the largest ever constituency vote in the history of the Parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon was elected on a manifesto promise of a second referendum, if we were to be dragged out of Europe against our will.

In Westminster, the three Unionist parties can collectively muster only three MPs, one a proven liar, another who consistently ignores his party’s whip, and “a wee sleekit cow’rin’ tim’rous beastie” so unfit for the office of Secretary of State for Scotland that an unelected member of the House of Lords had to be shoe-horned into ride shotgun for him.

All the remaining Westminster MPs were elected on the SNP ticket. If that doesn’t constitute a mandate, it’ll do till a mandate comes along!

The mess from Brexit is only now taking shape with a “Bar Bill” for £60bn and now a question on the sovereignty of Gibraltar. It will get worse, much worse.

As the unelected Prime Minister said less than a year ago: “Remaining in the EU does make us more secure, it does make us more prosperous, and it does make us more influential beyond our shores. “That seems a bit of a turn around, but, oops – I forgot she’s a Tory!

The mainstream media asserted that Alex Salmond was the only man in Scotland who wanted independence. They are doing the same with Nicola, but this time it wont wash.

Over 60 per cent of the Scottish electorate voted to remain in Europe. They will not be denied.
Joseph G Miller

WHAT a furore, over yet another “Little Britain” that, by the way, voted by over 95 per cent to remain in Europe. Lord Howard on Sunday stated: “I know another woman Prime Minister” etc. Could this Brexit situation get more farcical? Of course it can, rumour has it that the renowned General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett, VC, KCB, DSO (Blackadder) has been asked to lead a ground offensive if required. Baaaa!
Hector Maclean

FOLLOWING on from your excellent articles on Slovakia in yesterday’s paper, I feel that I should take the opportunity to remind us all, including those not even born then, of Alexander Dubcek, the leading figure during the Prague Spring of 1968.

He led the resistance to the continued power of the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia as it then was. Indeed, he was lucky to survive with his life, unlike the leaders in Hungary during the previous decade.

I remember well watching what was shown on our black and white telly at the time, and firmly believe that history will place him as one of the most important Europeans of the last century, a great Slovakian.
George M Mitchell
Sheriffmuir, Dunblane