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Written Question
Nigeria: Fulani
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the types of weapons used by Fulani herdsmen involved in fighting in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, and (2) from which countries these weapons originate.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence. These have had a devastating impact on both Christian and Muslim communities across multiple states in Nigeria. The UK Government urges all communities to work together to address problems peacefully and to avoid division. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting civilians, including ethnic and religious minorities, and human rights for all. The Minister for Africa and the Deputy National Security Adviser have raised the issue of intercommunal violence with President Buhari's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, most recently in December 2020. The Minister for Africa publicly welcomed President Buhari's commitment to protect all religious and ethnic groups in the country in February this year, and reiterated the importance of communities working together.

The FCDO monitors incidents of intercommunal violence very closely, both from the UK and through the British High Commission in Nigeria. Although we do not hold figures on the numbers killed during incidents of intercommunal violence, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project estimates there have been just over 6,000 fatalities from all conflict and political violence across Nigeria's Middle Belt, plus Kaduna and Taraba, over the last five years. These fatalities span all religious groups and ethnic backgrounds. Perpetrators of violence in the Middle Belt have used a range of weapons, including staves, knives and guns in attacks.


Written Question
Yemen: Humanitarian Aid
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Judd

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to (1) peace builders, (2) women’s rights organisations, and (3) human rights organisations, working in Yemen.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK fully supports the important role women can play in ending the conflict in Yemen. We are a global leader on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the penholder on UNSCR 1325. Yemen is a priority country for our National Action Plan on WPS. We have supported the Yemeni Women's Pact for Peace and Security (through UN Women), which aimed to increase female leadership and inclusion in the peace processes. The UK has also funded projects aimed at supporting the work of grassroots women leaders and civil society organisations in communities across Yemen. UK funding of two advisors in the UN Special Envoy's office has also supported the UN in consulting marginalised groups. Furthermore, on 25 February the Security Council adopted a UK-drafted resolution which sanctioned Houthi official Sultan Zabin for the use of sexual violence as a tool of war, the first such sanction in the Middle East. We will continue to support Yemeni women, youth and civil society to help create the conditions for an inclusive and durable peace in Yemen.


Written Question
Myanmar: Religious Freedom
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Bishop of Winchester

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the contribution made to aiding reconciliation by, and (2) the vulnerability of, religious groups in Myanmar.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK is very concerned by divisive, racist and nationalist propaganda perpetuated by the military regime since the coup. Our Embassy is meeting with a range of stakeholders, including Buddhist, Christian and Muslim leaders who are bravely standing up against the military junta. The UK also works with partners and other community leaders to improve religious tolerance and social cohesion through facilitating a greater understanding of religious and cultural differences, and promoting dialogue between different communities across Myanmar.

We continue to raise our concern, including at the UN Human Rights Council, at the Race and Religion Laws and the 1982 Citizenship Law which have been used to discriminate against non-Buddhists.


Written Question
Nuclear Weapons
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remark by Baroness Goldie on 23 March (HL Deb, col 808) that "We are satisfied that we are compliant with the non-proliferation treaty", what assessment they have made of the statement on 17 March by a UN spokesperson that the decision of the Government to increase their nuclear weapons arsenal is "contrary to its obligations to Article Six of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons".

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

Maintaining and renewing elements of the UK's nuclear deterrent capability is fully consistent with our international legal obligations, including those under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The UK remains committed to the step-by-step approach to nuclear disarmament under the framework of the NPT, and the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.


Written Question
Syria: Sanctions
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 12 March (HL13797), whether the principle of ‘do no harm’ also applies to economic sanctions on Syria; and what assessment they have made of the statement by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on 7 August 2020 that sanctions “are bringing suffering and death" in countries like Syria.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK remains committed to supporting a political settlement to the conflict in Syria in line with UNSCR 2254. Sanctions remain a key lever to press the regime to engage seriously with the political process. We remain committed to the principle of 'do no harm' with sanctions in Syria and seek to minimise the impact of sanctions on ordinary Syrians. We carefully target specific individuals and entities who are part of a new wave of emerging elites that have profited from the conflict. We do not sanction medicine, medical equipment and medical assistance. Items required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are not subject to direct restrictions on export, supply, financing or use in Syria.

The Assad regime and its backers blame 'Western' sanctions for the failing economy in Syria. In reality, the regime has devastated its own economy through cronyism, corruption and brutality and must be held to account.

The UK remains at the forefront of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Syria and the region, and will continue to be so. We have now committed £3.7 billion to the Syria Crisis since 2012, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis


Written Question
Armenia: Genocide
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will formally observe Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on 24 April.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The events of 1915-1916 were a tragic episode in the history of the Armenian people and they must never be forgotten. The UK Government of the day condemned the massacres and this Government fully endorses that view. The policy of the UK Government is that any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for competent courts, rather than for governments. Although we will not formally be observing the 'Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day' our thoughts will be with the Armenian people


Written Question
Nigeria: Fulani
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Cox

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of people killed by Fulani herdsmen during fighting in Nigeria’s Middle Belt in each of the previous five years.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence. These have had a devastating impact on both Christian and Muslim communities across multiple states in Nigeria. The UK Government urges all communities to work together to address problems peacefully and to avoid division. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting civilians, including ethnic and religious minorities, and human rights for all. The Minister for Africa and the Deputy National Security Adviser have raised the issue of intercommunal violence with President Buhari's Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, most recently in December 2020. The Minister for Africa publicly welcomed President Buhari's commitment to protect all religious and ethnic groups in the country in February this year, and reiterated the importance of communities working together.

The FCDO monitors incidents of intercommunal violence very closely, both from the UK and through the British High Commission in Nigeria. Although we do not hold figures on the numbers killed during incidents of intercommunal violence, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project estimates there have been just over 6,000 fatalities from all conflict and political violence across Nigeria's Middle Belt, plus Kaduna and Taraba, over the last five years. These fatalities span all religious groups and ethnic backgrounds. Perpetrators of violence in the Middle Belt have used a range of weapons, including staves, knives and guns in attacks.


Written Question
Diplomatic Service
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Dubs

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of diplomatic protection accorded to the EU Ambassador to the UK; and what plans they have, if any, to grant them full diplomatic status.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

We continue to engage with the EU on the long-term arrangements for the EU Delegation to the UK, and it would not be right to pre-empt the outcome of those discussions. Pending the conclusion of an Establishment Agreement, the Head of the EU Delegation and their staff enjoy privileges and immunities under Protocol 7 to the EU Treaties.


Written Question
Myanmar: Politics and Government
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of (1) Australia, and (2) the United States, about the situation in Myanmar; and what plans they have to replicate the special measures introduced by those countries for Myanmar citizens unable to return to their country safely.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK is leading a strong and coordinated international response to the coup. We continue to engage closely with partners on a range of issues. We welcome the US announcement on Temporary Protected Status for Myanmar nationals in the country. Australia has not yet introduced special measures for Myanmar Nationals. We are continuing to explore the options for supporting Myanmar Nationals in the UK who could be in danger if they return.

The majority of Myanmar nationals present within the UK have already utilised the switching provisions within our immigration system to continue their regularised stay.


Written Question
Republic of Congo: Elections
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the elections in the Republic of Congo; and whether the UK sent observers to monitor those elections.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK notes the re-election of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, who received 89 per cent of the vote in the Republic of Congo's Presidential election as announced by the Republic of Congo's authorities on 23 March. The Electoral Commission estimates turnout was 67.5 per cent. The UK has no permanent diplomatic presence in Republic of Congo and it was not possible to deploy a British official to monitor the election under the terms set out by the Republic of Congo authorities. The African Union observer mission noted several irregularities. One of the candidates in the election also sadly passed away on the day it took place. The UK is concerned about the reported irregularities and urges the Republic of Congo authorities to ensure its constitution is followed in respect of the election results.


Written Question
Overseas Aid: Research
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Randerson

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of cuts to Official Development Assistance on (1) university research, and (2) the UK’s soft power across the world.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The Covid pandemic's economic impact has forced the government to take the difficult decision to temporarily reduce ODA to 0.5% of GNI. Despite this reduction, we will remain a world-leading ODA donor, spending around £10 billion on ODA in 2021-22. The Foreign Secretary has set out a strategic approach to ensure maximum impact for our aid spend for 2021-22, laying a Written Ministerial Statement for Parliament in January, summarising overall departmental cross-government allocations of ODA. FCDO and other departments are working through the implications of their allocations for the research programmes they manage with universities.

The UK has led funding for scientific advances that have helped drive significant reductions in extreme poverty, increases in agricultural productivity, declines in childhood mortality, and increases in life expectancy across the developing world. We remain committed to the use of ODA to support research that can provide new solutions to critical challenges in development.


Written Question
Palestinians: Coronavirus
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Sheehan

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to the Palestinian Authority to ensure that supplies of COVID-19 vaccines (1) to the West Bank, and (2) to Gaza, are not delayed.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK is committed to global equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. We were pleased to note that the first shipment of over 60,000 doses from the COVAX scheme arrived in the OPTs on the 17th March and that over 21,000 were sent to Gaza.

The British Consulate-General in Jerusalem is in regular contact with the Palestinian Authority and will continue to raise timely and appropriate access to COVID-19 vaccines. UN agencies, the PA and the Israeli Government are also working together to ensure that essential medical supplies and staff can access Gaza.


Written Question
Ahmad Dola
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Baroness Janke

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the death of Ahmad Dola in a house fire in Kafr Aqab, East Jerusalem, on 8 March; and in particular, concerning the reports of Palestinian fire engines being delayed at a checkpoint.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

We are aware of the reports surrounding the death of Ahmad Dola. Free movement of essential personnel is vital to the effectiveness of care. Delays of essential services and permit delays can endanger the health and lives of everyday Palestinians. The UK will continue to raise the issue of freedom of movement and access into and out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including for emergency services, with the Israeli authorities and stress the impact that their restrictions on movement and access are doing to ordinary Palestinians who rely on these fundamental rights.


Written Question
Russia: Disinformation
8 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Strasburger

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the written evidence by the Paymaster General to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, published on 3 March, which states that “since 2016 £100m of funding has focussed on building collective resilience to Russian disinformation across Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood Region”, on what that money was spent; and what is the equivalent figure for funding resilience against Russian disinformation targeted at the UK.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The CDMD programme contributes to HMG's Russia Strategy and UK national security by supporting projects which expose and build resilience to disinformation operations associated with Russia across Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood. The types of support given varies from mentoring with UK media organisations; consultancy on programming; funded co-productions and support for regional Russian language media initiatives. Addressing the challenge of disinformation is a whole of Government effort and draws on resources from a number of Departments with costs met through their respective budgets.


Written Question
Cruise Missiles: Proliferation
7 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Judd

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking within appropriate multilateral institutions to develop a strategic response to the proliferation of cruise missiles (1) to foster maximum transparency, and (2) to develop a coherent safeguarding approach within arms control arrangements.

Answer (Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park)

The UK is a member of relevant multilateral export control regimes, such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement. The MTCR seeks to prevent the proliferation of sensitive missile systems and technologies, including cruise missiles, to countries and end users of concern. The Wassenaar Arrangement in turn seeks to prevent the regional destabilising accumulation of conventional weapons, including cruise missile systems.

The UK plays an active role in both regimes and through them the UK promotes transparency, the control and greater responsibility in transfers of all missiles types, as well as conventional weapons and related dual-use technologies. In addition, the UK is a State Party to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which establishes common international standards for regulating the international trade in conventional arms, which includes cruise missile systems. The ATT requires annual reporting on transfers to reinforce transparency among State Parties.