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Written Question
Palestinians: Humanitarian Aid
Tuesday 21st November 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government, following reports that perpetrators of the 7 October terrorist attacks on Israel will be financially rewarded via welfare payments funded by the Palestinian Authority, what steps they are taking to ensure that aid coming from the UK does not support any such arrangements.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Following Official Development Assistance (ODA) prioritisation exercises undertaken in March 2021, the UK no longer provides direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. All UK support to the Palestinian Authority is provided through technical advice, procured through commercial suppliers. No UK aid is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners, or their families or the Martyrs Fund, nor has it ever been. We continue to deliver a clear and long-standing message to the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority that the prisoner payments system should be reformed so that it is needs-based, transparent and affordable. FCDO officials maintain a regular dialogue with international partners on this issue.


Written Question
Egypt: Religious Freedom
Thursday 26th October 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications for religious freedom of the removal by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities of a geniza, a resting place for discarded documents containing the name of God, from a Jewish burial ground in Cairo without guarantee of access for the Jewish community.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.


Written Question
Egypt: Religious Freedom
Thursday 26th October 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make representations to the government of Egypt concerning the importance of including the Jewish community in official ceremonies related to the Ben Ezra synagogue and similar historical and cultural landmarks in that country.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.


Written Question
Egypt: Religious Freedom
Thursday 26th October 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Egypt in regard to the right of access and freedom of worship in the newly restored and historically significant Ben Ezra Synagogue in that country.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.


Written Question
Palestinians: Development Aid
Wednesday 27th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what safeguards they have put in place to ensure that no UK funds go directly or indirectly through the Palestinian Authority's so called "Martyrs Fund" to the those responsible for murdering Lucy Dee, Maia Dee and Rina Dee in April.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Government was appalled by the horrific murder of Lucy, Maia, and Rina Dee in a terrorist attack earlier this year. I [Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon] and the Foreign Secretary also passed on their condolences to Rabbi Leo Dee when they met him in person in June. Our thoughts continue to be with Rabbi Dee and his family in the wake of this tragedy. Following Official Development Assistance (ODA) prioritisation exercises undertaken in March 2021, the UK no longer provides direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. All UK support to the Palestinian Authority is provided through technical advice, procured through commercial suppliers. No UK aid is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners, or their families or the Martyrs Fund, nor has it ever been. We continue to deliver a clear and long-standing message to the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority that the prisoner payments system should be reformed so that it is needs based, transparent and affordable. Officials maintain a regular dialogue with international partners on this issue.


Written Question
Palestinians: Development Aid
Wednesday 27th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what checks have been carried out by auditors to ensure that their payments to the Palestinian Authority do not go towards the so called "Martyrs Fund".

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Government was appalled by the horrific murder of Lucy, Maia, and Rina Dee in a terrorist attack earlier this year. I [Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon] and the Foreign Secretary also passed on their condolences to Rabbi Leo Dee when they met him in person in June. Our thoughts continue to be with Rabbi Dee and his family in the wake of this tragedy. Following Official Development Assistance (ODA) prioritisation exercises undertaken in March 2021, the UK no longer provides direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. All UK support to the Palestinian Authority is provided through technical advice, procured through commercial suppliers. No UK aid is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners, or their families or the Martyrs Fund, nor has it ever been. We continue to deliver a clear and long-standing message to the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority that the prisoner payments system should be reformed so that it is needs based, transparent and affordable. Officials maintain a regular dialogue with international partners on this issue.


Written Question
Palestinians: Development Aid
Wednesday 27th September 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what audit reports have been carried out on payments they have made to the Palestinian Recovery and Development Programme.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Following official development assistance (ODA) prioritisation exercises undertaken in March 2021, the UK no longer provides direct financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. All UK support to the Palestinian Authority is provided through technical advice, procured through commercial suppliers. The audits relate to UK funding provided through the World Bank's Palestinian Recovery and Development Programme, which has now closed, to the Palestinian Authority.


Written Question
Diplomatic Service: Political Impartiality
Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 4 April (HL6671), what guidance is given to British diplomats on maintaining political impartiality when they are acting privately in a public setting, as distinct from carrying out their diplomatic responsibilities.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

British diplomats are respected around the world because of the high standards to which they hold themselves, of which the Diplomatic Service Code is a key part. The private conduct of British diplomats is governed by the Diplomatic Service Code, contained in the Diplomatic Service Regulations (DSRs) as DSR1. DSR36 of these Regulations also highlights the requirements relating to political activity.


Written Question
Israel: Diplomatic Service
Tuesday 4th April 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the actions of British diplomats stationed in Jerusalem who participated in the Palestine Marathon on 10 March, started by a Fatah official who was under investigation by FIFA for glorifying terrorism; and whether they have assessed the conduct of those diplomats in respect of Articles 13–15 of the Diplomatic Service Code.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

British diplomats are respected around the world because of the high standards to which they hold themselves, of which the Diplomatic Service Code is a key part. Those who participated in the marathon did so privately but we do remind staff to be mindful of their responsibilities as diplomats. The UK's position in relation to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is long-standing: we wish to see a viable two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace, prosperity and security. The Foreign Secretary and I [Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon] were pleased to welcome Israeli Foreign Minister Cohen on 21 March to sign the 2030 UK-Israel Roadmap, which outlines how the UK and Israel intend to work together to strengthen our partnership and to strengthen economic security for Palestinians.


Written Question
Pakistan: Religious Freedom
Wednesday 22nd February 2023

Asked by: Baroness Deech (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the treatment of (1) Hindus, (2) Christians, and (3) other non-Muslim minorities, by the government of Pakistan; and whether they will make representations to that government concerning the enforcement of the law of blasphemy against those minorities.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Protecting minority communities continues to be central to the UK Government's human rights engagement in Pakistan. I [Lord Ahmad] discussed the need to safeguard the rights of religious minorities and raised the proposed amendments to the blasphemy laws during my meeting with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, on 30 January. I also discussed blasphemy laws and the importance of promoting respect for all religions during my meeting with Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on 14 December 2022.