Lord Ahmed Portrait

Lord Ahmed

Non-affiliated - Retired on 14 November 2020

Lord Ahmed is not a member of any APPGs
14 Former APPG memberships
Bangladesh, Inter-Faith, Interfaith, International Relations, Iran, Kashmir, Pakistan, Qatar, Rohingya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Terrorism, Third World Solidarity, Turkey
Refreshment Committee (Lords)
25th Nov 2002 - 20th Nov 2003
Refreshment Sub Committee
26th Jun 2001 - 7th Nov 2002


Division Voting information

Lord Ahmed has voted in 623 divisions, and 18 times against the majority of their Party.

10 Jan 2013 - Administration and Works Committee - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 23 Labour Aye votes vs 63 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 82 Noes - 163
15 Nov 2011 - Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 10 Labour Aye votes vs 83 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 79 Noes - 273
25 Jan 2010 - Equality Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 15 Labour Aye votes vs 101 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 216 Noes - 178
25 Jan 2010 - Equality Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 9 Labour No votes vs 99 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 174 Noes - 195
11 Nov 2009 - Coroners and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Labour Aye votes vs 92 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 135
9 Jul 2009 - Coroners and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 19 Labour No votes vs 85 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 133 Noes - 186
7 Jul 2009 - Coroners and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 39 Labour No votes vs 69 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 141 Noes - 194
15 Jun 2009 - Political Parties and Elections Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 41 Labour No votes vs 45 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 107 Noes - 85
29 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 113 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 39 Noes - 202
29 Oct 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 79 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 51 Noes - 121
13 Oct 2008 - Counter-Terrorism Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 23 Labour Aye votes vs 105 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 309 Noes - 118
30 Jun 2008 - Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 89 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 66 Noes - 146
7 May 2008 - Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 13 Labour Aye votes vs 108 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 178 Noes - 164
4 Feb 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 114 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 41 Noes - 197
21 Jan 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 102 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 93 Noes - 165
15 Jan 2008 - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Labour Aye votes vs 133 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 96 Noes - 268
28 Mar 2007 - Gambling (Geographical Distribution of Casino Premises Licences) Order 2007 - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Labour Aye votes vs 98 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 123 Noes - 120
14 Mar 2007 - House of Lords: Reform - View Vote Context
Lord Ahmed voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 56 Labour Aye votes vs 79 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 122 Noes - 326
View All Lord Ahmed Division Votes

All Debates

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(10 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(4 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Ahmed's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Ahmed, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Lord Ahmed has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Ahmed has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Ahmed has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Lord Ahmed has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


218 Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Director of Public Prosecutions has any plans to bring cases against persons other than the five men convicted in respect of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

South Yorkshire Police are currently conducting investigations relating to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. As these are ongoing it would be inappropriate to make further comment. The Crown Prosecution Service will consider all potential offences referred to it by the police in accordance with the two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

3rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Waltham Forest Council's programme <i>Building Resilience through Integration</i><i>and Trust</i>, and in particular the use of questionnaires on issues such as trust toward the police, and inter-faith marriages, which were reportedly aimed at children at schools with large Muslim intakes.

The Building Resilience Through Integration and Trust Project has been developed and implemented locally by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Her Majesty’s Government has not been involved in the design or the delivery of the project. Local authorities and schools are free to develop and implement their own education-related projects. The department has no overview of local projects involving schools, though we do expect all schools to actively promote fundamental British values, which include mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We would expect that any discussion with pupils involving complex issues should be age appropriate and handled with sensitivity.

Waltham Forest council’s website provides general information on the project: https://thehub.walthamforest.gov.uk/services-and-support/pupil-support/brit-project

3rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the appropriateness of the Waltham Forest Council pilot scheme asking children under the age of nine questions about whether they would hurt another student who was mocking their religion.

The Building Resilience Through Integration and Trust Project has been developed and implemented locally by the London Borough of Waltham Forest. Her Majesty’s Government has not been involved in the design or the delivery of the project. Local authorities and schools are free to develop and implement their own education-related projects. The department has no overview of local projects involving schools, though we do expect all schools to actively promote fundamental British values, which include mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. We would expect that any discussion with pupils involving complex issues should be age appropriate and handled with sensitivity.

Waltham Forest council’s website provides general information on the project: https://thehub.walthamforest.gov.uk/services-and-support/pupil-support/brit-project

11th Jun 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations, if any, they have received about any issues in relation to safeguarding or sexual abuse of Rohingya women and children in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh; and what action they intend to take in response to such issues.

We recognise that Rohingya women and girls face risks in the camps including domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced labour and sexual exploitation. DFID is helping to provide services including psycho-social counselling, reproductive health services, child-friendly spaces, safe shelters and legal advice. We are also providing essential support for personal safety, including improved lighting and alarms to help keep women and girls safer.

9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the breakdown of financial support for (1) Ethiopia, (2) Sudan, and (3) Somalia, in the past three years.

The amount of direct bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) the UK has provided in the last three years is set out in the table below:

Table: UK bilateral ODA to Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia 1

£ million.

2014

2015

2016

Ethiopia

322

339

334

Sudan

50

55

65

Somalia

124

122

152

1. All figures rounded to the nearest million

Source: Statistics on International Development 2017

ODA is a measure of official resource flows (aid) to developing countries that promotes the economic benefit and welfare of developing countries as the main objective.

14th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current humanitarian situation in Yemen in relation to the military action taken by the government of Saudi Arabia.

The UK condemns the attempted missile strike on Riyadh on 4 November and recognises the need for Saudi Arabia to take measures to stem the flow of weapons into Yemen. At the same time it is vital that Yemen remains open to commercial and humanitarian imports: the UN has warned that we could face the worst famine seen for decades unless the current Saudi-led Coalition restrictions are lifted. The UK has publicly called for the immediate reopening of Hodeidah port and the resumption of United Nations flights into the country. The Foreign Secretary raised the urgency of the humanitarian situation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on 23 November.

We welcome the Saudi-led Coalition statement on 22 November announcing plans to open Hodeidah port to humanitarian aid and Sana’a airport to UN flights as an initial step. This alone will not be enough to avert disaster - it is critical commercial imports are also allowed as Yemen relies on these for 85-90% of its food.

The UK continues to be a leading donor to Yemen - committing £155 million for the Financial Year 2017/18, making us the fourth largest humanitarian donor overall.

1st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the need for tunnels to be used in the Gaza area to provide food and medicine to the people of Gaza.

The UK believes any imported food and medicine should be provided through established Gaza crossing points. We remain deeply concerned by attempts to rearm and rebuild militant infrastructure, including the tunnel network in Gaza. This activity undermines efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and harms the prospects for peace and stability in the Middle East. We have a regular dialogue with the Israeli Government about its security concerns in Gaza. We also consistently call on the Israeli Government to ease movement and access restrictions covering the import of goods. Additionally, we have encouraged the Palestinian Authority to ensure their policy in Gaza, which has included restrictions on the shipment of medical supplies, does not unnecessarily affect the civilian population. The UK is a long-term supporter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza, including basic health care.

5th Sep 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK is, or will be, contributing humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees; and if so, how much has been contributed to date.

We are working at the highest levels with the government, other donors and the UN to improve access and ensure that aid reaches those that need it most. However this is a changing situation and there is not yet access to the conflict areas for a needs assessment. We are working with others to establish a picture of what is happening, where people are and what shape they are in. The UK has long been one of the biggest contributors of humanitarian aid for the displaced population in both Burma and Bangladesh. DFID has already committed £5.9 million to meet the needs of displaced Rohingya and the host communities who support them in Bangladesh. This is reaching 55,188 people with a range of support including food, education and protection of the safety and dignity of the most vulnerable, including women and girls. A further £5 million is being made available to provide urgent assistance to newly arriving refugees with needs such as food, shelter, and water and sanitation. Within Rakhine State we have provided over £30 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including food and sanitation for over 126,000 people. The UK Government is deeply concerned about the violence against the Rohingya and other communities in Burma’s Rakhine State, and the plight of thousands fleeing their homes.

5th Sep 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support, if any, they plan to give to the government of Bangladesh to accommodate Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.

We are working at the highest levels with the government, other donors and the UN to improve access and ensure that aid reaches those that need it most. However this is a changing situation and there is not yet access to the conflict areas for a needs assessment. We are working with others to establish a picture of what is happening, where people are and what shape they are in. The UK has long been one of the biggest contributors of humanitarian aid for the displaced population in both Burma and Bangladesh. DFID has already committed £5.9 million to meet the needs of displaced Rohingya and the host communities who support them in Bangladesh. This is reaching 55,188 people with a range of support including food, education and protection of the safety and dignity of the most vulnerable, including women and girls. A further £5 million is being made available to provide urgent assistance to newly arriving refugees with needs such as food, shelter, and water and sanitation. Within Rakhine State we have provided over £30 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including food and sanitation for over 126,000 people. The UK Government is deeply concerned about the violence against the Rohingya and other communities in Burma’s Rakhine State, and the plight of thousands fleeing their homes.

3rd May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 26 April (HL7737), what representations they have made to the government of Israel about why it rejected Turkey’s proposal of a floating power-generating ship to help solve the electricity crisis in Gaza.

The UK has not made representations to Israel about this specific issue. We are in regular discussion with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other development actors, specifically the UN and EU, about Gaza’s energy crisis. Improving Gaza’s provision of electricity will in turn improve Gaza’s water supply and wastewater treatment. We regularly call on both parties to work on solutions to increase the electricity supply, including press for the extension of the 161 power line and progress towards the conversion of the Gazan power station to gas.

16th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the state of the latest humanitarian truce in Yemen, in the light of the airstrikes by the Arab states coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

The UK fully supports the UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire in Yemen to ensure life-saving assistance can reach all populations in need.

During the humanitarian pause in Yemen from 12 to 17 May 2015, according to the UN, humanitarian partners were able to deliver: a month's worth of food to more than 400,000 people; access to safe water for 1.2 million people; emergency shelter and medical supplies for more than 400,000 patients; and nutritional supplies to treat almost 35,000 malnourished children.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support the proposed establishment of an international enclave, protected by the United Nations, in Syria and Iraq to house internally displaced people.

The UK welcomes any option compliant with international law that might save lives in Syria and Iraq. The situation in Syria and Iraq is incredibly complex, and international enclaves are not currently feasible. For such a safe area to work in any context, all parties to the conflict would need to agree on its establishment. In the absence of such an agreement, this would require foreign military intervention, authorised by a UN Security Council resolution.

14th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided any financial support for the redevelopment of houses destroyed during recent floods in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The UK government has not received a request from the Indian Government for financial assistance. In 2012, DFID announced that it would end our traditional financial grant aid to India in 2015. From this year on, our partnership will be based on sharing skills and expertise, investing in private sector projects that benefit the poor, and working together on global development issues.

2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any resources have been directed to the Turkmen community in Iraq, many of whom have been displaced from their home, as well as the Christian and Yizhidei communities.

DFID has allocated £39.5 million to the humanitarian crisis in Iraq since June and is delivering a range of life-saving assistance such as food, water, shelter, sanitation and medical care to those who have been displaced by the conflict.

All UK funded aid is distributed on the basis of need to ensure civilians are not discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion or ethnicity. Our aid is reaching thousands of vulnerable displaced people across Iraq. This has included delivering aid to thousands of people trapped by ISIL in the Iraqi town of Amerli, including many from the Turkmen community.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are liaising with the government of Pakistan in order to assist internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Before the military operation in North Waziristan which started in June 2014, the UK had provided £7 million to support internally displaced people in Northern Pakistan. This helped 400,000 people access safe water and sanitation; supplied 150,000 people with food packages; and supported over 6,000 families to rebuild their livelihoods.


Since the beginning of the current military operation an additional one million people have registered as displaced. In response to this the UK has provided a further £4.7 million. This will support some of the most vulnerable people who have been identified by our partners in a joint assessment run by the UN and the Government of Pakistan. We remain in close contact with the Federal Government of Pakistan, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all of our partners, including the EU, to ensure an efficient, coordinated response.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much financial and material aid they have given to Pakistan in total to deal with the situation affecting internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Before the military operation in North Waziristan which started in June 2014, the UK had provided £7 million to support internally displaced people in Northern Pakistan. This helped 400,000 people access safe water and sanitation; supplied 150,000 people with food packages; and supported over 6,000 families to rebuild their livelihoods.


Since the beginning of the current military operation an additional one million people have registered as displaced. In response to this the UK has provided a further £4.7 million. This will support some of the most vulnerable people who have been identified by our partners in a joint assessment run by the UN and the Government of Pakistan. We remain in close contact with the Federal Government of Pakistan, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all of our partners, including the EU, to ensure an efficient, coordinated response.

22nd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to coordinate financial and material aid from the European Union and the United Nations to help internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Before the military operation in North Waziristan which started in June 2014, the UK had provided £7 million to support internally displaced people in Northern Pakistan. This helped 400,000 people access safe water and sanitation; supplied 150,000 people with food packages; and supported over 6,000 families to rebuild their livelihoods.


Since the beginning of the current military operation an additional one million people have registered as displaced. In response to this the UK has provided a further £4.7 million. This will support some of the most vulnerable people who have been identified by our partners in a joint assessment run by the UN and the Government of Pakistan. We remain in close contact with the Federal Government of Pakistan, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all of our partners, including the EU, to ensure an efficient, coordinated response.

22nd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the condition of internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Before the military operation in North Waziristan which started in June 2014, the UK had provided £7 million to support internally displaced people in Northern Pakistan. This helped 400,000 people access safe water and sanitation; supplied 150,000 people with food packages; and supported over 6,000 families to rebuild their livelihoods.


Since the beginning of the current military operation an additional one million people have registered as displaced. In response to this the UK has provided a further £4.7 million. This will support some of the most vulnerable people who have been identified by our partners in a joint assessment run by the UN and the Government of Pakistan. We remain in close contact with the Federal Government of Pakistan, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all of our partners, including the EU, to ensure an efficient, coordinated response.

22nd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are providing any financial or material aid to Kashmir after the recent flooding there.

We are monitoring the humanitarian situation in the aftermath of the floods in both India Administered Kashmir and Pakistan Administered Kashmir. We have not received a request from either government for assistance, but are in close contact with relevant partners in both countries.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they have spent on education awareness programmes in Pakistan over the last three years.

From 2011-12 to 2013-14 DFID has spent a total of £183 million on education in Pakistan, with £92 million spent during the last financial year. This support has helped get additional children into school, increase teacher attendance, improve school facilities and train teachers amongst other activities. During the last two years (2012-13 & 2013-14), DFID programmes have helped the Pakistani Government to train 150,000 teachers.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total amount of Department for International Development money spent on education programmes in Pakistan; and how many school teachers have been trained using the Department for International Development money.

From 2011-12 to 2013-14 DFID has spent a total of £183 million on education in Pakistan, with £92 million spent during the last financial year. This support has helped get additional children into school, increase teacher attendance, improve school facilities and train teachers amongst other activities. During the last two years (2012-13 & 2013-14), DFID programmes have helped the Pakistani Government to train 150,000 teachers.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to publish the proposal submitted by the Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation for the education awareness programme in Pakistan, any progress reports, or information on what they have accomplished so far through their media campaign in Pakistan.

Funding to Mir Khalil Ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) ended in January 2014. Over the period 2011 to 2014, £5.06 million was spent by MKRF as part of our larger Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP) programme.

The department has published progress reports on our development tracker in line with our commitment to transparency. http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-202491/.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are continuing to fund the Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) to provide education awareness programmes in Pakistan; and what was the total amount allocated to MKRF in the last 3 years.

Funding to Mir Khalil Ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) ended in January 2014. Over the period 2011 to 2014, £5.06 million was spent by MKRF as part of our larger Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP) programme.

The department has published progress reports on our development tracker in line with our commitment to transparency. http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-202491/.

21st Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have sent emergency aid for the children of Gaza including medical, food and shelter.

We have released £10million since the latest crisis began. We are giving the UN Relief and Works Agency £4 million in new funding to provide health care, clean water, blankets and cooking equipment to help tens of thousands of Palestinians affected by the violence in Gaza, and £3million to the UN World Food Programme to provide food vouchers to vulnerable families. We are also bringing forward £3 million to support the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross in repairing water infrastructure and providing emergency medical support.

DFID is already spending almost £350million from 2011-2015 to address a broad range of Palestinian development and humanitarian needs, of which approximately £30million per annum is spent on Gaza.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
16th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided any financial support to internally displaced people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa<b></b>following the recent military operation conducted by the army of Pakistan in North Waziristan.

DFID has allocated up to £5 million to support the Government of Pakistan’s efforts to help some of the most vulnerable internally displaced people following the military operation in North Waziristan. This will provide people with ration packs, non-food items such as cooking utensils and solar lanterns, and water and sanitation services.

16th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider reinstating touchdown-only flights from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the UK.

The UK requests that additional security measures are applied to all flights from Turkey to the UK, including to transit flights from the northern part of Cyprus. We continue to consider that this is a proportionate security measure to ensure the safety and security of the travelling public.

18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have provided, and plan to provide, in relation to religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government has introduced social distancing guidance which should be implemented across all sectors including religious gatherings, this will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. A copy of Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK is attached.

Additionally, a scientific evidence-based review on the impact of mass gatherings on an influenza pandemic has been published. A copy of Impact of Mass Gatherings on an Influenza Pandemic: Scientific Evidence Base Review is attached.

18th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have provided to the Muslim Council of Britain about (1) Friday prayers, and (2) the celebration of Ramadan, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Muslim Council of Britain continues to follow the Government’s and National Health Service COVID-19 advice as well as publishing their own guidance for the Muslim community. This guidance includes plans for likely suspension of congregational activities, advice for congregation members to keep good hygiene and support for the socially vulnerable and isolated. A copy of Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for mosques/madrasas and Umrah Pilgrims is attached.

There is information on how Ramadan may be affected and whether United Kingdom mosques must similarly prepare for the very likely possibility of suspending iftar programs and congregational tarawih prayers.

27th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the re-categorisation of Bangladesh by the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index as an autocracy rather than a democracy, what steps they will take to encourage neutral observers for the forthcoming general election in that country.

​The British Government has been consistently clear that we wish to see a free, fair and pluralistic election in Bangladesh. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, has repeatedly encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end, and the power to deliver it lies with them. Through our High Commission in Dhaka we have been clear that the Election Commission should be allowed to continue its important work without interference. We have consistently made the case for international oversight of the election and the EU has agreed to send an Election Expert Mission. Through the Department for International Development funding, the UK will also support local observation of the general election. The Foreign Secretary raised his concerns regarding the next election in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met at the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September. In a call on 1 November with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific again made the case for a free, fair and participatory election. As did I when I spoke to him on 23 November.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the British High Commission in Bangladesh will call for greater democracy in that country as the general election there approaches.

​The British Government has been consistently clear that we wish to see a free, fair and pluralistic election in Bangladesh. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, has repeatedly encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end, and the power to deliver it lies with them. Through our High Commission in Dhaka we have been clear that the Election Commission should be allowed to continue its important work without interference. We have consistently made the case for international oversight of the election and the EU has agreed to send an Election Expert Mission. Through the Department for International Development funding, the UK will also support local observation of the general election. The Foreign Secretary raised his concerns regarding the next election in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met at the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September. In a call on 1 November with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific again made the case for a free, fair and participatory election. As did I when I spoke to him on 23 November.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the forthcoming general election in Bangladesh will be free and fair.

​The British Government has been consistently clear that we wish to see a free, fair and pluralistic election in Bangladesh. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, has repeatedly encouraged the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in an effective dialogue to this end, and the power to deliver it lies with them. Through our High Commission in Dhaka we have been clear that the Election Commission should be allowed to continue its important work without interference. We have consistently made the case for international oversight of the election and the EU has agreed to send an Election Expert Mission. Through the Department for International Development funding, the UK will also support local observation of the general election. The Foreign Secretary raised his concerns regarding the next election in Bangladesh with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when they met at the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 September. In a call on 1 November with State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam, the Minister for Asia and the Pacific again made the case for a free, fair and participatory election. As did I when I spoke to him on 23 November.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding its access to, and development of, Gaza’s oil and gas reserves.

​The UK strongly supports the development of the Gazan gas fields. Over recent years, we have had extensive discussions with the Palestinian authorities on the development of the gas fields for the benefit of the Palestinian economy. The UK is not backing Israeli control of the gas fields. We have, however, been in discussions with the Israeli authorities to encourage them to enable the exploitation of these fields.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jul 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding the safety of British humanitarian workers travelling to Gaza as part of the Freedom Flotilla; and what responses they have received to any such representations.

On 30 July, officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv sought consular access from the Israeli authorities to a British national who was detained aboard the flotilla that was travelling to Gaza. This access was granted. Embassy officials also discussed the travelling flotilla with the Israeli authorities on 6 June. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Gaza (including the waters off Gaza).

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Denmark regarding integration minister Inger Stojberg's statement on Muslims fasting during the month of Ramadan.

The British Government is aware of these comments made by the Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration. The UK enjoys a close dialogue with the Danish government on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), most recently through the recent visit of Lord Ahmad to Denmark on 18 May. The protection of the right to FoRB is a priority of Her Majesty's Government's foreign policy and will continue to be so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the concerns expressed by Archbishop of Delhi regarding minorities in India and the rise of extremist Hindutva supporters.

The British Government remains committed to promoting and defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for individuals of all faiths or beliefs, in India and elsewhere. We shall continue to engage with Indian contacts on a range of human rights issues, including minority representatives on religious freedoms.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions maintain an assessment of the human rights situation across India and run projects promoting minority rights, as well as working with Union and State Government to build capacity and share expertise.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of allegations of the brainwashing of Muslims in internment programmes in China.

​We are aware of reports of significant numbers of individuals being detained by the Chinese authorities in re-education camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Our Embassy in Beijing has not been able to directly verify these reports: however my officials will continue to monitor the situation in Xinjiang closely.

We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief in China, particularly in Xinjiang. We raised our concerns with the Chinese authorities at the last UK/China Human Rights Dialogue, which took place in Beijing in June 2017. We will seek to raise them again at the next UK/China Human Rights Dialogue, which is due to take place later this year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of human rights and religious rights in China.

​We have concerns about restrictions on civil and political freedoms in China, particularly around ethnic minority rights; the death penalty; and freedom of expression, association and assembly. We also remain concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion or belief. We are aware of reports of the closure or demolition of places of worship, of the removal of religious symbols, and that individuals are being harassed or detained for their beliefs across China.

The Prime Minister raised human rights when she visited China in February 2018. We raise the full range of our human rights concerns in China at the UK/China human rights dialogue, which last took place in Beijing in June 2017.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about human rights abuses, including recent killings of civilians in Gaza.

The UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We are extremely concerned by the scale of the violence in Gaza and the West Bank. The loss of life and the large number of Palestinians injured, including children, is tragic. Israel has the right to defend its borders. However the use of live fire is deeply troubling, and has led to significant loss of life. We urge Israel to show greater restraint. The Foreign Secretary discussed the use of live ammunition against protestors in Gaza with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 16 May. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa also raised our concerns with his Israeli counterpart on 13 May and with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 17 May.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the civilian killings in Gaza following the recent protests over the move of the United States embassy to Jerusalem.

We are extremely concerned by the scale of the violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in particular Gaza. Whilst Israel has the right to defend its borders, the use of live fire is deeply troubling, and has led to significant loss of life. The Foreign Secretary discussed the use of live ammunition against protestors in Gaza with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 16 May. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa also raised this issue with his Israeli counterpart on 13 May and with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 17 May. As the Minister said in his statement of 14 May, we continue to implore Israel to show greater restraint in its use of live fire.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had at the UN Security Council in relation to finding a long-term political solution for Syria.

The British Government regularly discusses this topic at the UN Security Council, most recently at the briefing to the Security Council by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on 14 February. The UN-led Geneva process between the Syrian parties, mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2254, remains the forum for reaching a lasting political settlement to end the conflict in Syria, and we fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy. The Syrian Negotiation Commission continues to engage constructively, in good faith and without preconditions. The Asad regime must now engage credibly in Geneva talks and Russia must use all of its influence to ensure that this happens.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the progress made at the Geneva talks regarding long-term political solutions for Syria.

The British Government regularly discusses this topic, including at the UN Security Council, most recently when UN Special Envoy briefed the Security Council on 14 February. The UN-led Geneva process between the Syrian parties, mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2254, remains the forum for reaching a lasting political settlement to end the conflict in Syria. We fully support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The Syrian Negotiation Commission continues to engage constructively, in good faith and without preconditions. The Asad regime must now engage constructively in Geneva, and Russia must use all of its influence to ensure that this happens.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the UN sponsored peace process in Syria.

The British Government is clear that the UN-led Geneva process between the Syrian parties, mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2254, remains the forum for reaching a lasting political settlement to end the conflict in Syria and we fully support the efforts of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The Syrian Negotiation Commission continues to engage constructively, in good faith and without preconditions. The Asad regime must now engage credibly in Geneva talks and Russia must use all the influence it can to ensure that it does so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any representations to the governments of (1) Russia, and (2) Syria, to allow food and medical supplies into Eastern Ghouta.

The UK has repeatedly urged Russia bilaterally and in other multilateral fora to use its influence with the Asad regime to ensure that it allows rapid, unimpeded and sustained UN-led humanitarian access to deliver urgently needed food and medical supplies to Eastern Ghouta, and that it adheres to the ceasefire demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 2401. On 27 February, the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, Sir Alan Duncan, met the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, stressing UK concern at the current situation in Syria, particularly the crisis in Eastern Ghouta. The Foreign Secretary also wrote to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on 27 February regarding the crisis in Eastern Ghouta and urging Russia to uphold its commitments to ensure that UN Security Council Resolution 2401 is implemented in full. The UK also raised its concerns with Russia on 7 March in the UN Security Council.

We have had no direct contact with the Syrian regime about Eastern Ghouta but we have used our position in the UN Security Council to call upon the regime to cease its campaign of violence, to protect civilians and allow rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware of any British citizens being held as political prisoners in Ethiopia; and what representations they have made to the government of Ethiopia regarding their release.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office records the charges, or category of charge, on which individuals are detained, where that information is provided to consular staff. We are currently aware of a small number of British nationals detained in Ethiopia, but not necessarily as political prisoners. The UK has repeatedly raised human rights concerns with the Ethiopian Government, including around the arrest and imprisonment of people for their political views. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides consular support to detainees as usual.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will encourage the government of Ethiopia to free political prisoners.

We welcome the recent announcement by the Ethiopian Prime Minister on reforms to open up political dialogue, including the planned release of some imprisoned politicians. The British Government is in close contact with the Ethiopian authorities to seek more information on what this will mean in practice, including for British nationals currently imprisoned in Ethiopia. The UK has repeatedly raised human rights concerns with the Ethiopian government, including around the arrest and imprisonment of people for their political views.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any recent representations to the government of Egypt regarding human rights and rule of law.

The Government wants to see more political freedoms and better protection of human rights in Egypt. The Foreign Secretary and the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa have consistently raised this with our Egyptian counterparts. Mr Burt raised our human rights concerns, including those relating to media freedoms and restrictions on civil society, with Foreign Minister Shoukry and Interior Minister Ghaffar, during his visit to Egypt in August 2017. The Foreign Secretary last discussed human rights with Foreign Minister Shoukry in October 2017, when he raised the case of detained human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwally. The Foreign Secretary also emphasised the importance of a free and open society when he met President Sisi during his visit to Cairo in February 2017. Egypt is an FCO Human Rights Priority Country and the UK regularly raises concerns about human rights in Egypt at the UN’s Human Rights Council.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of UK funding being spent on masters of science degrees for security officials in Ethiopia.

Through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), the British Government funds an MSc in Security Sector Management run in Ethiopia by Cranfield University. The MSc is designed to support regional capacity in Peace Support Operations activity and is attended by students from across the region, including six (of 28) Ethiopians. This programme began in 2017 and the first Annual Review will be conducted in April, in line with standard timings for CSSF programmes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make representations to the government of Egypt that there should be a moratorium on all death sentences in Egypt, especially in cases where confessions have been obtained through torture.

The executions of 15 men on 26 December 2017 and four men on 2 January 2018 in Egypt are deeply concerning. It is a longstanding policy of the British Government to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We continue to raise our human rights concerns with the Egyptian authorities and we encourage Egypt to restrict the application of the death penalty in line with the minimum standards set out in the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty of 2008 and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jan 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rise of death sentences and executions being used to combat alleged terrorism in Egypt.

The executions of 15 men on 26 December 2017 and four men on 2 January 2018 in Egypt are deeply concerning. It is a longstanding policy of the British Government to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We continue to raise our human rights concerns with the Egyptian authorities and we encourage Egypt to restrict the application of the death penalty in line with the minimum standards set out in the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty of 2008 and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have verified the reported mistreatment of Jagtar Singh Johal; whether they intend to take any action to ensure that the Indian authorities are held to account; and if so, what.

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all allegations or concerns of mistreatment very seriously. Our priority is to inquire about these specific allegations with Mr Johal in private. With his consent we will then raise any allegations made with the relevant authorities. When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the individual in question or any other person that may be affected at risk.​​

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of India about the treatment of Sikh activists.

​The British High Commission in New Delhi and Deputy High Commissions across India, including the Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh which covers the Punjab, maintain a continuous assessment of the human rights situation in India and engage regularly with the Indian National Commission for Minorities. FCO officials also regularly meet senior faith leaders (including Sikhs) and the British Government funds a number of projects in India to help promote minority rights and combat discrimination.

During his visit to the UK in November 2015, Prime Minister Modi assured the UK that his government remained committed to protecting diversity and fundamental freedoms.​

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reports they have received of a British Sikh, Jagtar Singh Johal, being tortured by the Punjab police; and what steps they are taking to provide consular support to him.

​Consular staff in India were made aware of allegations of mistreatment through Mr Johal's legal representation. ​Consular staff have visited Mr Johal on several occassions and are in contact with his lawyer. We have met his family in the UK and will continue to update them. Our priority is to inquire about these specific allegations with Mr Johal in private. With his consent we will then raise any allegations made with the relevant authorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the government of India is aware of its responsibility under international law to adhere to civilised standards in regard to the treatment of detainees.

​The United Kingdom engages on human rights matters with India both bilaterally and through the EU. We work with the government of India, state governments and non-governmental organisations to build capacity, share expertise and promote human rights for all. We have also used India's Universal Periodic Review in the UN Human Rights Council to emphasise the importance of observing international legal responsibilities in regard to the treatment of detainees in prison.
As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political rights, we look to India to adhere to the principles of Article 7 - prohibiting torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. India has also committed to ratify the Convention against Torture and we urge that this is done swiftly

The ​Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis discussed a prison conditions inspection visit in relation to extradition cases when he was in India earlier this month.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia in relation to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen; and to what effect.

Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is a priority for the UK and we continue to raise the issue with our regional and international partners. The Foreign Secretary has raised his concerns about the impact of the access restrictions on the humanitarian situation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, most recently on 23 November. The Minister for the Middle East did the same with the UAE Deputy Foreign Minister on 13 November and the Saudi Foreign Minister on 21 November. The Foreign Secretary has also discussed the humanitarian crisis in Yemen with the UN Secretary General.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel regarding reports of recent air strikes conducted by Israeli authorities, leading to the deaths of seven Palestinians; and what assessment they have made of the likelihood of such actions leading to an escalation of tensions in the region.

We are aware of the reports of the targeting of a tunnel by Israel. We understand that the tunnel was constructed by Palestinian militants and that its destruction was carried out on Israeli territory. The UK supports Israel's right to self-defence. We remain deeply concerned by attempts to rearm and rebuild militant infrastructure, including the tunnel network in Gaza. This activity undermines efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and harms the prospects for peace and stability in the region.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the prospect for improvements in Israeli–Palestinian relations as a result of the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

We welcome progression to the reconciliation agreement, which will see the Palestinian Authority (PA) resume administrative control of Gaza, and we are monitoring the situation closely. We are clear that any future Palestinian government must comply with the Quartet Principles: renounce violence, recognise Israel, and accept previously signed agreements. We support the PA, as the legitimate Palestinian leadership, in realising self-determination through an independent, sovereign, and unified Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the severing of relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in June, whether they have held discussions with the governments of those states about the possibility of resuming diplomatic relations; and if so, what was the outcome of those discussions.

The UK Government continues to hold discussions with all parties in the dispute. The Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and other ministers have all spoken to their counterparts, calling for a de-escalation, the lifting of the current restrictions, and encouraging them to get behind Kuwait’s mediation efforts. We have made clear that Gulf unity matters to the security and stability of the region.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have raised the issue of Rohingya communities at the UN Security Council; and what action has been taken against the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

The UK has played a leading role in co-ordinating international efforts on Rakhine. We have raised Burma three times at the UN Security Council (UNSC) since the most recent outbreak of violence on 25 August. On 13 September we secured the first agreed UNSC press elements on Burma in eight years. The Security Council also discussed Burma in an open session on 28 September.

The UN Security Council has called for the Burmese authorities to stop the violence and allow humanitarian access. The voluntary and safe return of refugees is a central part of the ongoing discussions in which we are engaged at the UN Security Council.

The UK continues to call for an end to the violence, and to prevent escalation, irrespective of whether incidents fit the definition of specific international crimes.

We shall ​continue to keep up the pressure on Burma's government to send a clear message to their security forces to stop the violence, ensure a full investigation of allegations of human rights violations, full access to the UN Fact Finding Mission and commit to ensuring accountability for the perpetrators.​

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any British citizens were victims of the terrorist attack in Mogadishu on 14 October.

No British nationals have been confirmed dead in the terrorist attack on 14 October 2017. Three British nationals were known by the Foreign Office to be injured.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking action to support peaceful dialogue between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States; if so, what; and what advice they have provided to the governments of those states in relation to dialogue with the Taliban.

The Government continues to support both Afghanistan and Pakistan in their efforts to build and maintain a relationship that will enhance the security, stability and prosperity of both countries and the wider region. The Foreign Secretary, other Ministers, and senior officials speak regularly with leaders from the two countries about the importance of improving relations. The most recent Ministerial contact was during the visit by the Minister for Asia and the Pacific to Kabul on 1-2 October. On 15 March the Government facilitated a meeting between Afghanistan and Pakistan at which some progress was made to address the concerns of both sides. We continue to encourage the two countries to work together to tackle the threat of cross-border militancy, improve border management and encourage increased bilateral trade. We liaise closely with the US on this agenda.

The Government is committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, and this will need to include the Taliban. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is active in pursuit of that goal through diplomatic outreach and our programmatic work, including direct support to Afghanistan's Higher Peace Council. Our message to all parties involved is that a political solution is the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. As President Ghani has previously said, the Taliban have a choice between peace and war. They must choose to help to rebuild Afghanistan. Whilst this work remains difficult,​we are working with the Government of Afghanistan and all relevant international partners, including the US and Pakistan, to bring about a sustainable process as soon as possible.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will support international sanctions and prosecution of the government of Myanmar, its army, and senior military personnel responsible for ethnic cleansing.

We judge there is currently insufficient support across the UN Security Council to table a resolution demanding sanctions against Burma.

The Foreign Secretary secured agreement at the 16 October EU Foreign Affairs Council to the suspension of military visits to the EU and review of all practical defence engagement, and a commitment that the EU would look at additional measures if the situation in Rakhine does not improve.

We shall ​continue to keep up the pressure on Burma's government to send a clear message to their security forces to stop the violence, ensure a full investigation of allegations of human rights violations, full access to the UN Fact Finding Mission and commit to ensuring accountability for the perpetrators.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will support a referral of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court in respect of alleged crimes against humanity in Rakhine state.

While it is States which have primary responsibility for investigating allegations of crimes under international law, the UN Security Council could refer Burma to the International Criminal Court (ICC). We judge this unlikely and accordingly, we believe it more effective to seek to work with the Government of Burma and international partners to resolve the situation in Rakhine state.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Sep 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any representations to the government of Myanmar regarding the recent violence against the Rohingya community.

​Following the recent outbreak of violence in Rakhine State, the Foreign Secretary has twice spoken with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and has raised our concerns. Our Ambassador in Rangoon has also raised our concerns with the Burmese authorities. We convened discussions on Burma at the UN Security Council on 30 August and 13 September. The Foreign Secretary convened a meeting of foreign ministers at the UN on 18 September during which he called on the Burmese National Security Adviser and Deputy Foreign Minister present to heed the Security Council’s call to stop the violence and ensure full humanitarian access in northern Rakhine.Our High Commissioner in Dhaka has discussed the situation with the Government of Bangladesh.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Sep 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are contributing funds from the UK development aid budget towards the cost of training the Myanmar military; and if so, how much.

No UK development aid is used to fund the educational courses focused on governance, accountability, ethics, human rights and international law which we provide to the Burmese military. These courses are funded from the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the human rights situation in Arakan state in Myanmar; and what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar regarding reports of the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

The UK Government is concerned by a number of disturbing recent reports of human rights violations by security forces in Rakhine State. We have made several representations to the government of Burma calling for humanitarian access both through our Ambassador and also through Ministerial contacts. When I visited Burma from 9-12 November, I urged Burmese Government Ministers to set up a full and independent investigation into all reports of human rights violations. The Investigation Commission has now been established and will report back by 31 January 2017. We will continue to monitor its progress closely.

14th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of the use of high-powered pellet guns against civilian protesters in Kashmir by Indian forces; and what representations they have made to the government of India regarding this issue.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma) discussed the use of pellet guns and alternative methods of crowd control in India administered Kashmir with Indian Government representatives in October. The government of India has been reviewing the use of pellet guns in Kashmir. It has yet to make the review's conclusions public, but there are reports that alternative methods of crowd control will be introduced. The UK abides by its commitments under international law and expects all countries to comply with their international legal obligations. We engage with India on human rights matters and will continue to work collaboratively on the promotion and protection of human rights.

26th Oct 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Prime Minister intends to raise the issue of Kashmir with the government of India during her forthcoming visit to India.

The Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) will discuss a variety of topics with Prime Minister Modi on her first overseas bilateral visit. The UK has a very close relationship with India through which we discuss a wide range of issues.

26th Oct 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to find a lasting and peaceful solution for Kashmir.

​As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma) said in the House of Commons on 18 October, the UK's long-standing position, held by successive Governments of all hues, is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or act as mediator.

26th Oct 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of India concerning recent reports of arrests, killings and human right abuses in Kashmir.

We are aware and concerned by reports of human rights abuses in Indian-administered Kashmir. Any allegation of human rights abuse in any country should be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether any military equipment exported from the UK to India is being used against the civilians of Kashmir.

We are concerned to see reports of excessive violence against protesters in Kashmir.

The UK Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world.

In light of media reports on the situation in Indian Administered Kashmir (IaK), we have undertaken checks regarding shotguns being licensed to the Indian Security Forces (ISF) in IaK covering the last 10 years. We are confident from these checks undertaken that no such weapon has been licensed to this specific force in IaK.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant information available at the time of the application. A licence will not be issued, for any country, including India, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that the items might be used to facilitate internal repression.

The Government is confident in our case by case assessment and routinely keeps factors relevant to the licensing of arms exports under active review. Ministers are consulted as necessary in the event of any significant changes in the circumstances relating to UK-licensed exports.

Our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changed circumstances, with the option to suspend or revoke any licence where we consider this a necessary step.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the government of India encouraging it to (1) ratify the UN Convention against  Torture and its optional protocols; and (2) permit a visit  to India, including Jammu and Kashmir, by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

The UK engages on human rights matters with India, both bilaterally and through the EU-India Human Rights dialogue. We continue to call on the Indian government to expedite the ratification of the UN Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol, and adopt robust domestic legislation to this effect. The UK made a specific recommendation on this issue during India’s Universal Periodic Review in May 2012. The EU Delegation in Delhi has also hosted a number of events on the importance of ratifying the Convention.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have had discussions with local government organisations in Jammu and Kashmir about the unmarked graves in north Kashmir where civilians or combatants were buried between 2006 and 2009.

The UK has not had discussions with local government organisations about this issue.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that effective pressure is brought to bear on local government organisations in Jammu and Kashmir to expedite arrangements to treat civilians reportedly injured or hospitalised in violence in the state during July and August.

I was saddened by reports of unrest and violence in Kashmir in July and August and again offer my condolences to the victims and their families. The UK abides by its commitments under international law and expects all countries to comply with their international legal obligations.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that any civil or military co-operation between the UK and the government of India does not contribute to human rights abuses in Kashmir.

We are committed to working with India to deliver prosperity and security for our nations. This includes growing trade links, supporting economic reform, deepening our cooperation on security and counter terrorism, encouraging student exchange and strengthening bilateral links. We ensure that such cooperation supports the UK’s values and is consistent with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

5th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the government of India about allowing a delegation of members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir for a  fact-finding visit to Jammu and Kashmir in the immediate future.

Our missions across the globe have received many successful and worthwhile APPG visits by Parliamentarians with a strong record of interest in the relevant country. As with the British public, we encourage all Parliamentarians to study FCO travel advice when planning any travel. The FCO currently advises against all travel to certain parts of Kashmir.

13th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of India about the reported killing and injuring of civilians by the Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.

I am deeply saddened by recent reports of unrest in Kashmir and offer my condolences to the victims and their families. Our High Commission in Delhi is monitoring the situation closely and we have updated our travel advice. We have not made any representations to the government of India on this issue.
9th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of Saddam Hussein’s elite guards and soldiers who have joined ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The Government does not hold figures for the number of former military personnel from Saddam Hussein’s regime that joined Daesh. However, there are credible reports of several ex-Ba’athist senior military officials and personnel with weapons expertise having joined Daesh.

9th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have gathered any evidence of Iranian fighters in Iraq.

We are aware that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is on the ground in both advisory and combat roles in Iraq and that Iran is providing significant funding, training and equipment to elements of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces.

Along with our international partners, the UK has consistently made clear that there is a role for all of Iraq’s neighbours in helping defeat Daesh. We have no difficulty with contributions from around the region to the goal of ridding Iraq of the Daesh threat, provided that those contributions are authorised by the Iraqi government. We will continue to work closely with our international partners to encourage all of Iraq’s neighbours to play a transparent and constructive role in its affairs.

9th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the total number of Iraqi civilians killed since the start of the 2003 Iraq war.

The Government has not made an estimate of the number of Iraqis killed as a result of terrorism and war-related violence since 2003. While the security situation in Iraq has greatly improved since violence peaked in 2006-2007, Iraqi civilians have been victim to Daesh’s atrocities since the summer of 2014. We utterly condemn such violence and call for those responsible to be brought to justice. The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Iraq as it works to defeat Daesh and put Iraq on the path to long-term peace and stability.

9th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to encourage Kurdish Iraqis, Sunnis and Shia Muslims to live together after defeating ISIS in Iraq.

We are supporting the Iraqi government in its efforts to unite Iraq’s communities against Daesh and extremism, rebuild public trust in the Iraqi state and deliver the services and opportunities which all Iraqis want and deserve. We welcome the commitments that the Government of Iraq has made to inclusivity, to protecting Iraqi citizens, to addressing human rights abuses and holding those responsible to account.

There are now more than 3 million internally displaced people in Iraq. We have committed £79.5 million to the humanitarian effort in Iraq to help those who have fled Daesh’s brutality, and are the largest donor to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs-managed Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund.

We are contributing £6 million to the UN’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation, to help the Iraqi government stabilise areas recently liberated from Daesh and re-establish security, basic services and inclusive local governance. We will provide funding for a number of projects designed to support community cohesion and encourage reconciliation, acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level.

6th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of measures to improve relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We have continued to make progress on our relationship with Iran since we reopened our Embassies in August 2015, including through reciprocal ministerial visits and the reopening of our visa services.

3rd May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 27 April (HL7738), what assessment they have made of the impact of their representations on the government of Israel with regard to house demolitions, in the light of the number of deaths and injuries caused during such incidents in the first three months of 2016.

The Government remains extremely concerned at the large increase in demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories since the start of 2016, compared to the monthly average in 2015. We are not aware of any deaths which have resulted from demolitions. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv continues to regularly raise our concerns on demolitions with the Israeli authorities. As a result of these representations, the UK’s humanitarian and legal concerns on demolitions have been made clear.

27th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the US regarding the implementation of HR158 under the Visa Waiver Programme Improvement and Terrorist Prevention Act 2015, which prevents British nationals from travelling to the US if they may have visited Iran, Sudan, Iraq or Syria in the last five years; and what assessment they have made of whether that implementation is discriminatory.

While US immigration processes are a matter for the US authorities, we have raised with the US administration the importance of clearly communicating changes to their immigration policy. The US Customs and Border Protection service has stated publicly that “the religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveller are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the US”. We remain in close contact with the US Embassy in order to avoid inconvenience to British nationals travelling to the US.

27th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they keep statistics of how many British citizens have been excluded from travelling to the US under HR158 of the Visa Waiver Programme Improvement and Terrorist Prevention Act 2015; and if so, how many have been so excluded; and whether they are aware of any British Parliamentarians being refused entry under that rule.

US immigration processes – including the collection of statistics - are a matter for the US authorities. A number of Members of Parliament have raised this issue on behalf of their constituents and we are aware of at least one Parliamentarian affected by the new legislation. We have raised the importance of clearly communicating changes to immigration policy with the US administration, and remain in close contact with the US Embassy in order to avoid inconvenience to British nationals travelling to the US.

27th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they keep statistics regarding how many British parliamentarians have visited (1) Sudan, (2) Syria, (3) Iran, and (4) Iraq, in the last five years; and if so, what assessment they have made of how many may be discouraged from visiting those countries in the future due to the implementation of HR158 under the Visa Waiver Programme Improvement and Terrorist Prevention Act 2015 by US authorities.

Figures for the number of British parliamentarians who have visited (1) Sudan, (2) Syria, (3) Iran, and (4) Iraq, in the last five years are not held centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. As Parliamentarians are not obliged to inform the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of their travel commitments, any figures held by overseas posts may not be accurate. The FCO has not made any assessment of the impact of the implementation of HR158 under the Visa Waiver Programme Improvement and Terrorist Prevention Act 2015 by US authorities on travel by parliamentarians to these countries

15th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between MQM and the government of India, and of whether that party is funded by that government.

The British Government is aware of media reports alleging that the Government of India has funded the Muttahida Quami Movement political party. The conduct of political parties in Pakistan is a matter for the Pakistani authorities. Our officials in Pakistan encourage political parties to act within the constitution and law of Pakistan.

14th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that chemical weapons are being used against the Turkmen community in the Kirkuk region of Iraq by ISIS.

There are credible reports that Daesh have used chemical weapons in Iraq. We cannot confirm these reports with certainty, but we would condemn any such attack unreservedly. We are continuing to monitor these allegations very closely. Such behaviour would be consistent with Daesh’s record of complete disregard for human rights and international humanitarian law. The Government of Iraq is investigating allegations of chemical weapon use in Iraq by non-state actors with support from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

14th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iraq and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in relation to defending Turkmen civilians.

We are aware of reports that Turkmen civilians have been targeted by Daesh in Iraq, as well as Christians, Yazidis, Muslims and others. In October the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), met the President of the Iraqi Turkmen Front to discuss the situation for Turkmen in Iraq.

We condemn in the strongest terms the targeting and persecution of all communities by Daesh. We continue to urge the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional government to do all they can to ensure the security and rights of all Iraqis.

14th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reports of  the use of chemical weapons against the Turkmen village, Taza in Southern Kirkuk, killing children and injuring 617 people, including 17 who are in critical condition.

We are aware of allegations that Daesh attacked the village of Taza on the morning of 8 March 2016 with a chemical agent, possibly sulphur mustard. There have been reports of multiple casualties, including the death of a young girl. We unreservedly condemn the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is supporting the Government of Iraq to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Iraq by non-state actors. The UK is at the forefront of pressing for an effective international response to the use of chemical weapons through the UN Security Council and the OPCW.

17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the risk that UK weapons are being used to commit or facilitate a breach of international humanitarian law, in the light of reports of indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, including the destruction of schools and hospitals.

We are aware of reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The UK is satisfied that we are not in breach of our international obligations. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world. All exports of arms and controlled military goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations. A licence will not be issued, for any country, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the UK Licensing Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. Our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changed circumstances, with options to suspend or revoke licences if necessary.
17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the evidence concerning attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen and the risk that a breach of international humanitarian or human rights law will be committed by that coalition.

We continue to raise the importance of compliance with human rights law with all sides to the conflict. We are aware of reports on alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The Ministry of Defence monitors alleged international humanitarian law violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of international humanitarian law compliance in Yemen. We consider a range of evidence from government sources, foreign governments, the media and international non-governmental organisations.
17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the assurances by the government of Saudi Arabia that it is complying with international humanitarian law in its military intervention in Yemen suffice for the UK to meet its obligations under Article 6(3) of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The UK supports the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition military intervention, which came at the request of legitimate President Hadi. We have been clear with all parties that military action should be taken in accordance with international humanitarian law. We are aware of reports on alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The Ministry of Defence monitors alleged international humanitarian law violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of international humanitarian law compliance in Yemen. We consider a range of evidence from government sources, foreign governments, the media and international non-governmental organisations. The UK is satisfied that we are not in breach of our international obligations. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world. All exports of arms and controlled military goods to Saudi Arabia are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant information at the time of the application, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations. A licence will not be issued, for any country, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the UK Licensing Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reliability of assurances from the government of Saudi Arabia that it is complying with international humanitarian law in the conflict in Yemen, in the light of Saudi Arabia's history regarding its obligations under international law.

We are aware of reports on alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The Ministry of Defence monitors alleged international humanitarian law violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of international humanitarian law compliance in Yemen. We consider a range of evidence from government sources, foreign governments, the media and international non-governmental organisations.

17th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the analysis commissioned by Amnesty and Saferworld which concludes that the transfer of weapons capable of being used in the conflict in Yemen to Saudi Arabia constitutes a breach by the UK of its obligations under domestic and international law.

We are aware of reports on alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen by the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition and take these very seriously. We have regularly raised with Saudi Arabia the need to comply with international humanitarian law in Yemen, and continue to engage with them on this. We have offered advice and training to demonstrate best practice and to help ensure continued compliance with international humanitarian law. The UK is satisfied that we are not in breach of our international obligations. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world. All exports of arms and controlled military goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant information at the time of the application, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations. A licence will not be issued, for any country, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the UK Licensing Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that it might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.
11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of  whether pre-planned lynchings, immolations, and attacks on Muslim burial grounds have taken place during the term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and whether they will raise the question of human rights with him.

We are aware of recent incidents of sectarian violence. These are being investigated by the Indian authorities, and arrests have been made. We are clear that any allegations of human rights abuses should be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently.

11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, during the visit to London by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they will raise with him (1) the issue of gender-based violence in India, and (2) the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Acts, the powers they grant to the Indian Armed Forces in Kashmir and the north eastern states of India, and related immunities from prosecution.

We are committed to tackling violence against women and girls around the world and we work closely with the Indian government and international partners on this important issue. Prime Minister Modi’s speech to 60,000 members of the Indian Diaspora at Wembley Stadium also referred to the importance of ensuring safe and secure work places for women.

We are aware of concerns regarding allegations of immunity from prosecution for Indian armed forces personnel under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. There is a mechanism which allows people to request that the Indian government investigate such concerns. Any allegations of human rights abuses must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently.

11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of statements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding minority communities in India including Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits, and how in the light of those statements Prime Minister Modi’s visit to London will enhance community cohesion.

India is a country with a strong history of democracy and pluralism, which guarantees human rights within its constitution. During the press conference with the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), Prime Minister Modi was clear in his commitment to and respect for India’s core values of tolerance and freedoms, as well as reaffirming the importance of social harmony and inclusive development.

Mr Modi repeated these messages in his address in Parliament and at Wembley Stadium, where 60,000 British Indians of all faiths turned out to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the UK.

9th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 6 November (HL2947), why they have decided not to raise the issue of the three British citizens who were killed during the Gujarat Massacre in 2002 with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UK.

This case is ongoing in the Indian courts. The United Kingdom cannot interfere in another country’s legal system, as we would not expect them to interfere in ours. The British Government has registered its interest in this case, and our officials will continue to press the relevant Indian authorities for the family’s appeal to be heard swiftly and fairly.

9th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to discuss possible solutions to the Pakistan–India tensions on the <i>de facto</i> border, and the resolution of the Kashmir conflict, with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UK.

Our longstanding position on Kashmir is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to act as a mediator. We encourage both sides to maintain positive dialogue, but the pace and scope of this is for them to determine.

9th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to raise the issue of the abuse of human rights in Kashmir and Punjab with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UK.

We are aware of allegations of human rights abuses in Kashmir, and of recent communal violence in Punjab. We are clear that any allegations of human rights abuses should be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently. Human rights were discussed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK and we welcome his reaffirmation that he governs for all Indians.

9th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to raise the issue of increased violence against minorities with Prime Minister Modi during his visit to the UK.

Human rights were discussed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), also personally discussed the issue of religious minorities with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, General V K Singh on 5 November. India has a strong democratic framework, which guarantees human rights, including minority rights, within its constitution. However, it also faces numerous challenges relating to its size, social and economic development. We welcome Prime Minister Modi’s reaffirmation that he governs for all Indians and his commitment to inclusive development. We will continue to work collaboratively with his government on a range of important issues, including the promotion and protection of minority rights.

9th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 4 November (HL2946), what advice they have given to the government of India about tackling the rise of attacks on religious minorities by Hindu nationalists in India.

We are concerned by recent attacks on religious minorities by Hindu nationalists in India. The British High Commission in New Delhi regularly discusses the treatment of religious minorities with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and with state governments across India. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), also personally discussed the issue of religious minorities with the Indian Minister of External Affairs, General V K Singh on 5 November.

India has a strong democratic framework, which guarantees human rights, including minority rights, within its constitution. However, it also faces numerous challenges relating to its size, social and economic development. We welcome Prime Minister Modi’s reaffirmation that he governs for all Indians and his commitment to inclusive development. We will continue to work collaboratively with his government on a range of important issues, including the promotion and protection of minority rights.

23rd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to raise with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi the case of three British citizens murdered in Gujarat in 2002 when he visits the United Kingdom in November.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs , my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), has previously raised this case with Prime Minister Modi in his former role as Chief Minister of Gujarat. We continue to raise consular matters with the Indian authorities at all levels. Our officials have provided consular support to the families since 2002 and will continue to provide assistance to them as needed.
23rd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided any advice to (1) the Palestinian authorities, and (2) the government of Israel, regarding the peace plan or the two-state solution.

The UK has made clear in conversations with the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government that the best way to achieve a just and lasting resolution that ends the occupation and delivers peace for both Israelis and Palestinians is through negotiations. However, in order to achieve this, there must be an environment conductive to peace. That is why since the start of the current violence we have spoken regularly to both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, urging them to use their influence to de-escalate the tensions.

23rd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports regarding increasing violence towards Palestinians by Israeli troops.

As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr. Hammond) said on 9 October, “We condemn all acts of violence, including attacks by Palestinians and by Israeli settlers. We urge all sides to take immediate steps to de-escalate the tensions and avoid actions that threaten to exacerbate the situation”. In his Statement of 13 October, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr. Ellwood), said, “We are also concerned by the use of force by Israeli security personnel in response to protests and security incidents”.
23rd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of India about the number of attacks on minorities by extremist groups in that country, in particular black ink attacks carried out by Shiv Sena.

We are aware of reports of attacks by Hindu extremists on minority groups in India. The UK raises human rights matters with India, including attacks on minority groups, both bilaterally and through the EU-India human rights dialogue. As part of an EU delegation, our High Commission in New Delhi met the Indian National Commission for Minorities in early October to discuss a range of current issues. Our High Commission also maintains regular contact with civil society organisations and senior faith leaders working on religious freedom across India.
16th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are supporting any peace initiatives between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

A sustainable and inclusive political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK actively and fully supports the UN’s efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire and a mechanism for the withdrawal of forces, release of political prisoners and the resumption of an inclusive political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2216. We urge all sides to work together and engage in good faith in the UN process. We regularly discuss the conflict in Yemen with Saudi Arabian and Yemeni interlocutors; the Special Envoy to Yemen, Sir Alan Duncan, visited Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates from 16 – 21 September to demonstrate the UK’s continued support for a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of attacks by the Royal Saudi Air Force on the world heritage sites in Yemen; and whether the United Kingdom supplied any of the arms used in those attacks.

Both Saudi Arabia and Yemen are parties to the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict, and to the 1972 World Heritage Convention. The UK is supplying a range of precision-guided weapons and munitions to assist the Royal Saudi Air Force under pre-existing arrangements. We are aware of reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen by all sides to the conflict and take these very seriously. We have raised our concerns, including protection of cultural property, with the Saudi Arabian government and have received repeated assurances of IHL compliance and continue to engage with them on those assurances. A political solution is the best way to achieve long-term stability in Yemen, and we remain fully and actively supportive of the UN’s efforts to bring an end to the conflict.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the intervention by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and whether they are aware of any war crimes committed in relation to that intervention.

The UK is supportive of the Saudi Arabian-led Coalition military intervention, which came at the request of President Hadi, to deter aggression by the Houthis and forces loyal to the former president Saleh, and allow for the return of the legitimate Yemeni government. We are aware of reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen by all sides to the conflict and take these very seriously. We have raised our concerns with the Saudi Arabian government and have received repeated assurances of IHL compliance and continue to engage with them on those assurances. We have also raised our concerns with the Houthis on the importance of compliance with IHL and international human rights law. A political solution is the best way to bring long term stability to Yemen and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK fully and actively supports the UN’s efforts to achieve an end to the conflict.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
16th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the BBC Newsnight report of 10 September that presented evidence of attacks on civilians in Yemen by the Royal Saudi Air Force.

We are aware of reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen by all sides to the conflict and take these very seriously. The British Government has always been clear that any action, including military, must be in accordance with IHL. We have raised our concerns with the Saudi Arabian government and have received repeated assurances of IHL compliance and continue to engage with them on those assurances. We have also raised our concerns with the Houthis on the importance of compliance with IHL and international human rights law. A political solution is the best way to bring long term stability to Yemen and avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK fully and actively supports the UN’s efforts to achieve an end to the conflict.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
8th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have supported any peace or reconciliation efforts in Syria and Iraq.

The UK strongly supports international and local efforts to seek a comprehensive political settlement in Syria, in particular the political process being taken forward by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. The UK is funding discussions between non-state actors representing key interest groups to encourage a Syrian national dialogue, as well as local level peace-building projects to mediate and mitigate local conflicts and to strengthen cohesion and moderate voices in these communities. The UK fully supports Prime Minister Abadi’s work to deliver the reforms and political reconciliation needed to persuade all of Iraq’s communities – Shias, Sunnis and Kurds – that they have a stake in Iraq’s future. In 2015/16 we will provide funding for a number of projects in Iraq designed to support community cohesion and encourage reconciliation, acceptance and tolerance between communities at a grass roots level. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also deployed or reassigned 20 officers to help better understand and support the political process in Iraq, including efforts to reach out to members of the Sunni community.

8th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the number of people serving or training with Daesh in Syria and Iraq who were formerly soldiers or civil servants under Saddam Hussein.

We have made no such assessment. However, a number of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's senior leadership are assessed to be Iraqis who served within Saddam Hussein’s regime.

22nd Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the level of terrorist activity in Karachi, Pakistan, and whether there is any involvement by Al Qaeda, Taliban and the Muttahida Quami Movement.

There is a high threat from terrorism and other violence throughout Pakistan, including Karachi. The British Government regularly reviews the security situation in the country and is aware of reports of attacks claimed by various militant groups in Karachi. The main terrorist threat continues to come from Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan (TTP) who have a mainly anti-state focus but also maintain, and have stated, an intent to launch attacks on western interests. Although Al Qaeda is diminished in Pakistan and under severe pressure, it is still capable of devising sophisticated attacks. Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) is a political party.

The Government is committed to partnering Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, in the interests of both countries. We will continue to support Pakistan in developing its capacity to deal with terrorism, and in addressing its root causes.

22nd Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the outcome of the recent raid on the headquarters of the Muttahida Quami Movement in Karachi, Pakistan, by Pakistani special forces.

The UK encourages efforts by the Government of Pakistan to strengthen the accountability of its security forces and to increase security in a way that is even-handed and consistent with international human rights obligations.

22nd Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the televised speeches made by Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement, who is based in London, which have been reported as inciting hatred and violence in Pakistan.

There is no place in the UK for the incitement of hatred or violence and we have strict laws in place to deal with this. Investigations of alleged crimes and any criminal prosecutions are a matter for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, who are operationally independent of Government.

22nd Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that Pakistani special forces in Karachi found alleged terrorists in the headquarters of the Muttahida Quami Movement.

This specific case is a matter for the Government of Pakistan. Increasing security and countering terrorism across Pakistan is in the interests of ordinary Pakistanis, regional stability and the UK. The Government is committed to partnering Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism, and will continue to support Pakistan in developing its capacity to deal with terrorism, and in addressing its root causes.

22nd Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on relations between the United Kingdom and Pakistan of the presence in the United Kingdom of Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement, who is alleged to have been involved in money laundering and terrorism.

The UK continues to support the Government of Pakistan in promoting good governance, economic development and stability in the interests of British and Pakistani national security and prosperity. Investigations of alleged crimes and any criminal prosecutions are a matter for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service, who are operationally independent of Government.

6th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of alleged breaches of international law in China regarding the freedom of religion and freedom to worship without being harassed.

We remain concerned by the human rights situation in China, not least all restrictions to freedom of religion or belief.

As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, China is bound to respect the international commitments to which it is a party. As such, we consistently call on China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – we last did so at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in April.

We continue to raise areas where we assess China’s actions are not in line with either its international human rights commitments or its own constitution. We highlight these, and our broader range of concerns, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy. We also make representations in international fora such as the UN Human Rights Council.

6th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the persecution of the various religious communities in China.

We remain concerned by all restrictions to freedom of religion or belief in China. Whilst Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution specifies that ‘Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief’, only five religions are officially recognised, and practice is subject to restrictions.

We regularly raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities, and did so in detail during the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in April. We highlight our concerns in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Annual Report on Human Rights. Our concerns are also raised in international fora such as the UN Human Rights Council.

We regard freedom of thought, conscience and belief as a fundamental human right and will continue to raise our concerns as part of our broader relationship with China.

6th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the involvement of British Libyans in the overthrowing of Colonel Gaddafi’s government; and if so, how many were involved; and how many of them were prosecuted.

We have not made any assessment of involvement of British Libyans in the overthrowing of Colonel Gaddaffi.

6th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of suffering within the Uyghur communities and the pressure put on Muslims in China during the month of Ramadan.

Although freedom of religion or belief is guaranteed under the Chinese constitution, we remain concerned about restrictions to this right. We continue to be concerned about the treatment of Muslims, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in particular, including restrictions on the celebration of Ramadan and Islamic dress. We regularly raise our concerns with the Chinese authorities.

China is bound, as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to respect the international commitments to which it is a party, including those related to freedom of religion or belief. Freedom of religion or belief remains one of this Government’s core human rights priorities and we continue to support its development globally.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of any British Libyans who took part in overthrowing Colonel Gaddafi; and whether any of them have since returned to the United Kingdom.

I can confirm that we do not hold any information on this matter.
10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is an international peace plan regarding Syria.

A negotiated political transition in Syria remains the only way to end the conflict and alleviate Syria’s humanitarian crisis. The Geneva Communiqué, agreed in June 2012, set out steps that must be in place to establish a transitional governing body, leading to full, free and fair elections in Syria. UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is in consultations with the parties to the Syria conflict as well as the key regional and international powers, including the UK, to establish a route back to political talks. We continue to exchange views with Mr de Mistura and his team.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage international action to prevent Rohingya Muslims from becoming victims of human trafficking.

Ministers have instructed our Embassies and High Commissions in South East Asia to lobby governments in the region to take a coordinated response to address people trafficking and irregular migration from the Bay of Bengal, including that of Rohingya Muslims. We are also lobbying the EU and international partners to the same end. In addition, we have engaged with non-governmental organisations and international organisations, including the International Organisation for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and supported a discussion of the crisis in the UN Security Council on 28 May. We welcome the international coordination meeting hosted by Thailand on 29 May, which we attended as an observer. We also welcome the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's commitment to raising the issue in its forum.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to make representations to the government of Myanmar regarding the treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

We continue to raise the problems in Rakhine with the government of Burma at every opportunity, and will continue to do so. Most recently in relation to the humanitarian crisis in the Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), called the Burmese Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 18 May to express concern, calling for an urgent humanitarian response and regional coordination. In parallel, our Ambassador in Rangoon delivered the same message with the EU and US in a demarche to Burmese Ministers, and again bilaterally on 4 June.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to encourage the governments of Saudi Arabia and Iran to find political solutions to the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain.

The UK and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have a long history of friendship, understanding and co-operation. Our shared interests are wide and diverse, and include cooperation on counter-terrorism, defence, trade and investment, education and healthcare. We also work closely with the Government of Saudi Arabia across a range of shared key foreign policy interests.

Iran is an important country in the region but it is contributing to regional instability through its actions. We discuss regional issues as part of our bilateral dialogue with Iran, and continue to encourage Iran to play a constructive role in the region.

12th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of India’s claim to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and the effect of the claim on the stability of South Asia.

The British Government’s position is well known. We support a permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) for India. India’s most recent tenure as a non-permanent member of the UNSC ended in December 2012. We want to continue to engage with India, and other partners in the region, on the full range of UN issues. However, we have been clear that reform of the Council must not reduce its capacity to address threats to international peace and security.

12th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of recent spending by the government of India on defence, and its impact on global peace and regional stability.

We welcome the role India plays in global peace, not least its contribution as a troop-contributing peacekeeping country, and India’s key role in promoting regional security and stability. We are supportive of Indian membership of the major export control regimes and the UN Security Council. We welcome the Government of India’s commitment to increasing jobs, prosperity and skills in their defence sector. The UK is ready to work with India to achieve these aims, in accordance with our international commitments.

12th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the position of the government of India in respect of campaigns in that country to convert non-Hindus to Hinduism; and what is their assessment of the impact of such action on religious minorities in that country.

We are aware of the Hindutva movement, a form of Hindu nationalism in India. However, the Constitution of India guarantees freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. The Indian government has a range of policies and programmes to support religious minorities. More recently, Prime Minister Modi reassured religious groups that every citizen has the right to follow any faith without coercion and vowed to protect all religious groups in India. However, we are aware that incidents of discrimination against minority communities do happen. British Ministers and officials from our High Commission in New Delhi discuss religious and minority issues with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and senior faith leaders. Most recently Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), met the Indian Minister for Minorities in January. During their visit to India in February, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association also met the Indian Minister for Minorities and discussed religious freedom. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the new Indian government about religious and minority rights issues.

12th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Hindutva, a fundamentalist set of movements advocating Hindu nationalism in India, and its effects on religious and national minorities there.

We are aware of the Hindutva movement, a form of Hindu nationalism in India. However, the Constitution of India guarantees freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. The Indian government has a range of policies and programmes to support religious minorities. More recently, Prime Minister Modi reassured religious groups that every citizen has the right to follow any faith without coercion and vowed to protect all religious groups in India. However, we are aware that incidents of discrimination against minority communities do happen. British Ministers and officials from our High Commission in New Delhi discuss religious and minority issues with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and senior faith leaders. Most recently Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), met the Indian Minister for Minorities in January. During their visit to India in February, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association also met the Indian Minister for Minorities and discussed religious freedom. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the new Indian government about religious and minority rights issues.

12th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the treatment by the government of India of Muslims, Sikhs and Christians in that country and its impact on the cohesiveness of that country.

The Constitution of India guarantees freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. The Indian government has a range of policies and programmes to support religious minorities. More recently, Prime Minister Modi reassured religious groups that every citizen has the right to follow any faith without coercion and vowed to protect all religious groups in India. However, we are aware that incidents of discrimination against minority communities do happen.

British Ministers and officials from our High Commission in New Delhi discuss religious and minority issues with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and senior faith leaders. Most recently Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), met the Indian Minister for Minorities in January. During their visit to India in February, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association also met the Indian Minister for Minorities and discussed religious freedom. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the new Indian government about religious and minority rights issues.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was discussed in the most recent talks in Brussels on further measures the European Union could take to discourage further Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and Occupied Territories.

On 2 March in Brussels Member States discussed measures the EU could take to discourage further Israeli settlement expansion. This meeting was held at working level and the contents are not disclosed publicly. No new measures have yet been agreed.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest assessment of the respect accorded to human rights by parties in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

We remain seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). Our principal concerns relate to the Israeli government’s violation of international human rights and humanitarian law in the context of Israel’s occupation of the OPTs, and the human rights abuses by Hamas in Gaza.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the role played by Hamas; and what working relations they have with its government in Gaza.

The British Government's assessment of Hamas, is that they must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which its intentions should be judged. We do not have any direct contact with Hamas.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they have given towards a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.

We are working closely with international partners to support efforts towards a two state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymead and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), discussed this issue with US Secretary of State John Kerry on 21 February.

In December 2013 we led EU efforts to set out an unprecedented package of political, economic and security support that Europe would offer to both parties in the event of a final status agreement. That package remains on the table should the parties return to negotiations. In the meantime, we remain strong supporters of Palestinian state-building efforts.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the latest developments in respect of the United Kingdom trading with Israeli settlements.

The UK Trade and Investment-Foreign and Commonwealth Office Overseas Business Risk website is the forum through which the British Government raises awareness of the key security and political risks which British businesses may face when operating abroad. Whenever asked by British businesses about settlements, we set out the UK’s clear position on the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law, and share with them our advice as set out in the online guidance, published 1 June 2014.

The link to the Overseas Business Risk website is below and our current guidance on Israeli Settlements is attached:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/overseas-business-risk-israel/overseas-business-risk-israel

14th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of India regarding human rights issues in the Jammu and Kashmir region.

Allegations of human rights abuses on both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently. Officials from our High Commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with the Governments of both India and Pakistan, and visit the region to witness the situation on the ground first-hand. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), has spoken to both his Indian and Pakistani counterparts about regional issues in recent months.

14th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any representations to the government of India regarding the Governor's Rule currently in place in Jammu and Kashmir.

We have not made any representations to the Government of India on this matter.

11th Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take regarding Israel’s occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Middle East Peace Process continues to be one of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's principal foreign policy priorities. Only a negotiated two-state solution will resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all and end the occupation. The UK stands ready to do all it can to support this goal.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
11th Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take to protect the viability of the two state solution, in the light of Israel’s plans on settlement expansions.

Discussions are underway in Brussels on what further measures the EU could take to discourage further settlement expansion. As the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 17 November made clear, the UK and other EU Member States are deeply concerned by recent developments, are closely monitoring the situation and its broader implications, and remain ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two state solution.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
11th Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to place restrictions on United Kingdom trade with Israeli settlements.

There are currently no plans to place restrictions on UK trade with Israeli settlements. The Government has, however, placed advice online to raise awareness of the key security and political risks that UK businesses may face when operating abroad, including in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This includes guidance on Israeli settlements. We are advising British businesses to bear in mind the Government's view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
11th Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to prohibit the importation of goods from Israeli settlements to the United Kingdom unless they are certified by the Palestinian Authority under the European Union–Palestine Liberation Organisation Association Agreement.

There are currently no plans for EU or domestic legislation to ban the import of settlement products. The issue of settlement produce is a subject of ongoing work with our EU partners. This work includes steps to ensure that settlement products are correctly labelled to enable consumers to make informed decisions concerning the products they buy.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
11th Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will propose that the European Union freezes the assets of organisations supporting Israeli settlements, including Israeli banks providing mortgages on settlement properties or loans to settler regional councils.

There are currently no plans for the UK to propose freezing the assets of organisations supporting Israeli settlements. However, discussions are underway in Brussels on what further measures the EU could take to discourage further settlement expansion. As the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 17 November made clear, the UK and other EU Member States are deeply concerned by recent developments, are closely monitoring the situation and its broader implications, and remain ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two state solution.

5th Nov 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on political stability in Bangladesh of the death sentence passed by the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh on two opposition politicians there; what representations they have made to the government of Bangladesh about the sentence; and whether they will make representations about the power of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh to pass death sentences.

The UK supports Bangladesh’s efforts to bring to justice those accused of atrocities committed during the 1971 War of Independence. However we have also made clear that it is essential that the International Crimes Tribunal meet international fair trials standards, including during Bangladesh’s 2nd Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council on 29 April 2013. We have also made clear to the Government of Bangladesh our strong opposition to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.

Our High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Robert Gibson, along with other EU Heads of Mission resident in Bangladesh, signed a joint public letter on 9 October reiterating our position on the death penalty, and calling on Bangladesh to abolish the practice. Our High Commissioner has also raised the most recent judgements with senior members of the Government of Bangladesh and the Awami League. We will continue to remind the Government of Bangladesh of our opposition to the use of the death penalty in any circumstances, at every suitable opportunity.

We will continue to monitor political stability in Bangladesh.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to encourage the dialogue between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir.

We have followed developments in the region and officials from our High Commissions in both Delhi and Islamabad discuss the situation in Kashmir with both governments. The long standing position of the UK is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received reports about exchanges of fire on the Line of Control in Kashmir and on the working border between India and Pakistan; and whether they have provided any advice to India and Pakistan in order to resolve outstanding matters, including the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people.

We are concerned about the incidents which took place in recent weeks on both sides of the Line of Control and the International Border in Kashmir. We hope that both sides can take steps to reduce tensions. The longstanding position of the UK is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one.

23rd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further steps they are taking to recognise Palestine as a state after the recent debate in the House of Commons.

The UK’s position on Palestinian recognition has not changed and is clear: we reserve the right to recognise a Palestinian state at a time of our choosing and when it will best help bring about peace. The UK is a longstanding supporter of seeing a sovereign, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel, and continues to be one of the largest donors to Palestinian state building efforts to that end.

22nd Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the efforts of the Pakistan security services in clearing the tribal areas of that country of Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan and Al-Qaeda terrorists.

The Government of Pakistan has been carrying out a counter-terrorism operation in the tribal area of North Waziristan since 15 June. Its stated objective is to remove all militant groups and dismantle terrorist infrastructure.

It is for the Government of Pakistan to determine how to tackle the prolonged and deadly insurgency they face. The UK supports Pakistan as it tackles terrorism and violent extremism, and we will stand together to tackle terrorism and the extremism that sustains it. We expect all concerned to act in accordance with international law and take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

22nd Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the court cases and arrest warrants pending in Pakistan for Mir Shakil ur Rahman, chief executive officer of the Geo/Jang Group.

The Government has made no assessment of the alleged court cases and arrest warrants against Mr Rahman reported in the media. These are a matter for the Pakistan legal system, and we will monitor any significant developments.
21st Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of British citizens engaged in operations against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

The Government has made no assessment of the number of British and British-Israeli citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Any UK national serving abroad in the armed forces of any state is bound by the laws of armed conflict and any local laws that apply.

21st Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the total number of dual national British–Israeli citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Force.

The Government has made no assessment of the number of British and British-Israeli citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Any UK national serving abroad in the armed forces of any state is bound by the laws of armed conflict and any local laws that apply.

21st Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to take any action against those British citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Force.

The Government has made no assessment of the number of British and British-Israeli citizens serving in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). Any UK national serving abroad in the armed forces of any state is bound by the laws of armed conflict and any local laws that apply.
21st Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have published any information for the British citizens travelling to Israel regarding the possibility of their involvement in operations in Gaza.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) publishes travel advice on its website for any British citizens planning to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The FCO currently advises against all travel to Gaza.

16th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided military intelligence, logistic and material support to the army of Pakistan during its military operations against international terrorist networks in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

The Government has not provided any direct intelligence, logistic and material support to Pakistan relating to its military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

16th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the recent military operation in North Waziristan conducted by the army of Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan’s stated objective for military operations in North Waziristan is to remove all militant groups and dismantle terrorist infrastructure. In its most recent public report, provided on 16 July, the Pakistan army report 447 insurgents killed, 32 surrendered, as well as destruction of 88 hideouts, 11 Improvised Explosive Device factories and 11 tons of explosive. The Pakistan government claim 992,000 people have been registered as displaced and have allocated 4.5 billion Pakistan rupees in assistance. It is for the Government of Pakistan to determine how to tackle the prolonged and deadly insurgency they face. The UK supports Pakistan as it tackles terrorism and violent extremism, and we will stand together to tackle terrorism and the extremism that sustains it. We expect all concerned to act in accordance with international law and take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties.

25th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any representations to the government of Sri Lanka regarding the murder of Muslims and the destruction of commercial property in Colombo.

I refer my noble Lord to the reply I gave on 25 June 2014, Official Report, columns WA171-172.

25th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Bodu Bala Sena "Buddhist Power Force" in Sri Lanka.

In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights and Democracy Report for 2013, we note that non-governmental organisations documented hundreds of attacks against minority religions, including violence, vandalism, and hate speech in Sri Lanka. We also note that statements by nationalist Buddhist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena, fuelled concern over rising religious tensions.

Our High Commissioner to Colombo has discussed these matters with members of the Government of Sri Lanka. We have encouraged early action to promote peaceful co-existence between all communities, noting the importance of ensuring any acts of violence, intimidation or threats are thoroughly investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Officials from our High Commission in Colombo also met with representatives of the Bodu Bala Sena last year in order to discuss the organisation's activities and religious tensions in Sri Lanka. During the meeting, British officials expressed concern at attacks directed at Muslim and other minority religious communities.

4th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any internationally-owned companies operating in the United Kingdom which are paying less tax as compared to British companies.

HMRC does not comment on the tax affairs of specific taxpayers, as the department is bound by strict rules of confidentiality. It follows that HMRC cannot provide comparisons of particular businesses.

The UK corporate tax rules apply equally to multinational enterprises (MNEs) and UK-owned companies. All companies operating in the UK are required to pay tax in accordance with UK tax law, and HMRC employs substantial resources to ensure that all taxpayers comply with those rules. HMRC does not distinguish between MNEs and UK companies when carrying out compliance work.

10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the current agreement with Gerry's International (PvT) Ltd for visa services will expire.

The Home Office do not operate a contract agreement with Gerry's International (PvT) Ltd. The contract for providing Visa Application Centres in Pakistan was awarded to VFS Worldwide Holdings Ltd in 2014 initially for a five year period and extended recently for a further two years until 31 March 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current additional cost of a UK visa applied for in Mirpur, compared to one applied for in Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad; whether they have sought to reduce that cost through procurement; and if so, how.

The cost of applying for a visa itself does not vary anywhere in Pakistan, however, the Mirpur Visa Application Centre is User Pays as opposed to the other sites in Pakistan which are Free To Use. As such use of the Mirpur site attracts a User Pays Fee, which is governed by Fees Regulations and is currently the equivalent of £55 in local currency and can be found on gov.uk under section 3 of https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-regulations-revised-table/home-office-immigration-and-nationality-fees-2018 This amount is the same for all User Pays Centres across the globe and is set at a level only to meet the delivery costs of these sites.

If this amount was not charged then HM Government would be unable to provide a service in Mirpur and applicants from in and around that area would have to travel to another site, either in Pakistan or beyond, which they are still free to do, but at their own expense.

The costs associated with these sites are bound by the terms and conditions of the current Next Generations Visa Services contracts with VFS Worldwide and Teleperformance and which are currently set to expire on 31 March 2021. Under those terms no re-procurement of these services can take effect before this date.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to put in place processes enabling action to be taken against those whose immigration applications have been refused on the grounds of deception.

Guidance on character and conduct issued to caseworkers and visa officers considering applications from highly skilled migrants wishing to work in the UK is published on Gov.uk.

For those in the UK whose applications have been refused on the grounds of deception, processes are already in place to enable removal action to be taken against them.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have issued any policy guidance to help immigration caseworkers assess the character and conduct of highly-skilled migrants applying for visas to work in the UK.

Guidance on character and conduct issued to caseworkers and visa officers considering applications from highly skilled migrants wishing to work in the UK is published on Gov.uk.

For those in the UK whose applications have been refused on the grounds of deception, processes are already in place to enable removal action to be taken against them.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK citizens returning from Syria who are suspected to have been involved in supporting ISIS are eligible for council accommodation.

Everyone who returns from taking part in the conflict in Syria or Iraq will be investigated by the police to determine if they have committed criminal offences, and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to our national security.

Local authorities lead on housing decisions and it is for them to decide whether their local criteria has been met for an individual to be provided with housing. HMG has not set out conditions to be met to house individuals returning from Syria.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what advice they have given to the police in relation to attacks on people perceived to be Muslims and from ethnic minorities.

We condemn any attacks against people on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. Where a crime is motivated by race or religion it will be treated as a hate crime and the perpetrator will receive a higher sentence. The police now record religiously based hate crimes by faith. The figures for hate crime in 16/17 will be published in October.

The Government is committed to tackling hate crime and we have in place a comprehensive Hate Crime Action Plan to drive forward action against such crimes. The action plan includes additional funding for projects to tackle hate crime at local level and to protect places of worship from hate crime. A further £1M to protect places of worship and religiously based community centres that are vulnerable to attack was announced on 22 June.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government whether they have registered an increase in the number of attacks on the British Muslim community.

We condemn any attacks against people on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity. Where a crime is motivated by race or religion it will be treated as a hate crime and the perpetrator will receive a higher sentence. The police now record religiously based hate crimes by faith. The figures for hate crime in 16/17 will be published in October.

The Government is committed to tackling hate crime and we have in place a comprehensive Hate Crime Action Plan to drive forward action against such crimes. The action plan includes additional funding for projects to tackle hate crime at local level and to protect places of worship from hate crime. A further £1M to protect places of worship and religiously based community centres that are vulnerable to attack was announced on 22 June.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent acid attacks on Muslims in England and what advice they have provided to the police in relation to these attacks.

Attacks on people involving acids or other corrosives are a serious matter that can result in huge distress and life changing injuries. We are working with the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead to better understand the nature and scale of these crimes. On 4 July we hosted a joint event bringing together a range of partners including police, retailers, health professionals, relevant departments and agencies to agree what further action can be taken to prevent these kinds of attacks.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government whether an acid attack would be classified as a terrorist attack.

The government has a longstanding and comprehensive strategic approach to tackling all forms of terrorism. It is for the police to decide whether an incident is terrorist in nature and ultimately for the independent Crown Prosecution Service to decide what charges are appropriate based on the facts of the case. Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000 contains the definition of terrorism against which these decisions are made.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Iranian citizens have applied for (1) visitor, (2) student, and (3) settlement, visas since the opening of the British Embassy in Tehran; and how many of those applications in each category were successful.

The number of visa applications made in Iran since the opening of the British Embassy in Tehran for 1) visitor, 2) student, and 3) settlement and the number of successful applications made in each of these categories is contained in the attached Table:

Table 1 - No. of Applications Processed in Abu Dhabi where Mobile Biometrics have been taken in Tehran between 01/01/16 and 31/03/2016 for Iranian Nationals
Number of applications by Iranian nationals under Visitor Category made in Tehran 175
Of which issued 50
Number of applications by Iranian nationals under Student Category made in Tehran 10
of which issued 5
Number of applications by Iranian nationals under Settlement Category made in Tehran 20
of which issued5
Notes
Applications considered as made in Tehran when biometrics taken by Abu Dhabi Mobile Biometrics Units in Tehran

Applications submitted to Tehran have a decision made by a different post

For the purpose of this data Iranian Citizens have been classed as Iranian by nationality

The figures reported are based only on considerations made against the specific named nationality requested, this does not account for applications made by non-nationals at this post

For the purpose of this data successful applications have been classed as those issued

The figures reported are calculated based on the number of application outcome events, rather than the number of individuals considered

All figures rounded to nearest 5.

This is provisional management information that is subject to change. It has not been assured to the standard of Official Statistics.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will reply to the letter from Lord Ahmed to the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May, dated 9 February 2016.

I must apologise for the delay in responding to your letter. The response was sent on 29 March.

21st Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 21 March (HL7044), whether (1) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (2) the Prime Minister’s Office, or (3) any other government institution, have received any representations from the government of India about not pursuing the money-laundering case against MQM.

I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my noble Friend Lord Bates, of 21 March 2016 [HL7024]. I am informed that no records have been identified by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and No 10 of any such representations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to investigate further the allegations of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham as covered by the Jay Report to establish more precisely the number of children involved.

Professor Alexis Jay’s report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham provided a terrible account of the appalling failures by the Council, the police and other agencies to protect vulnerable children. Following publication of the Jay report the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, David Crompton, asked the National Crime Agency (NCA) to carry out an independent investigation into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the period covered by the Jay report (1997-2013). In response the NCA launched Operation Stovewood which has three priorities. They are to deliver a victim-focused investigation, to work to identify and bring all offenders to justice and, thirdly, to work with partners and help to build confidence in local agencies. Operation Stovewood is ongoing and has a number of designated suspects and hundreds more potential suspects still to investigate.

21st Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total number of visitor visa applications received from (1) India, and (2) Pakistan, in the last six months; and what was the success rate in each case.

For July to December 2015, there were 155,928 and 40,985 Entry clearance visitor visa applications from Indian and Pakistani nationals. Of the cases resolved (granted, refused, withdrawn or lapsed) in the same period, the proportion granted was 86% and 47% respectively. The information is provided in the table.

The latest quarterly Home Office immigration statistics on entry clearance visas are published in ‘Immigration Statistics, October-December 2015’, available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

15th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received any representations from the government of India about not pursuing the money-laundering case against MQM.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has a robust but proportionate anti-money laundering regime. The UK’s first National Risk Assessment of money laundering was published on 15 October 2015. It identified the threats and vulnerabilities faced in this area, and an Action Plan will be published shortly, clearly setting out the steps that will be taken to address them.

The Prime Minister made clear in his Singapore speech on corruption last year that the Government is determined to make sure the UK does not become a safe haven for corrupt money. The Prime Minister's Anti-Corruption Summit in May will also consider what more the UK and our international partners can do to tackle flows of illicit finance at home and abroad.

Any investigation is an operational matter for the police and the prosecution authorities. The decision on whether to investigate a case, and then take forward a prosecution, will depend on the evidence available. The Home Office has not received representations from the Government of India in relation to allegations of money laundering offences by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

15th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of why the Metropolitan Police took over a year to investigate the case against MQM.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has a robust but proportionate anti-money laundering regime. The UK’s first National Risk Assessment of money laundering was published on 15 October 2015. It identified the threats and vulnerabilities faced in this area, and an Action Plan will be published shortly, clearly setting out the steps that will be taken to address them.

The Prime Minister made clear in his Singapore speech on corruption last year that the Government is determined to make sure the UK does not become a safe haven for corrupt money. The Prime Minister's Anti-Corruption Summit in May will also consider what more the UK and our international partners can do to tackle flows of illicit finance at home and abroad.

Any investigation is an operational matter for the police and the prosecution authorities. The decision on whether to investigate a case, and then take forward a prosecution, will depend on the evidence available. The Home Office has not received representations from the Government of India in relation to allegations of money laundering offences by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

15th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the evidence found against MQM regarding allegations of money laundering, and of the comments made by senior members of that organisation in the media about those allegations.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has a robust but proportionate anti-money laundering regime. The UK’s first National Risk Assessment of money laundering was published on 15 October 2015. It identified the threats and vulnerabilities faced in this area, and an Action Plan will be published shortly, clearly setting out the steps that will be taken to address them.

The Prime Minister made clear in his Singapore speech on corruption last year that the Government is determined to make sure the UK does not become a safe haven for corrupt money. The Prime Minister's Anti-Corruption Summit in May will also consider what more the UK and our international partners can do to tackle flows of illicit finance at home and abroad.

Any investigation is an operational matter for the police and the prosecution authorities. The decision on whether to investigate a case, and then take forward a prosecution, will depend on the evidence available. The Home Office has not received representations from the Government of India in relation to allegations of money laundering offences by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

15th Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of any political parties or foreign nationals using London for money laundering purposes, and if so, what actions they are taking against them.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK has a robust but proportionate anti-money laundering regime. The UK’s first National Risk Assessment of money laundering was published on 15 October 2015. It identified the threats and vulnerabilities faced in this area, and an Action Plan will be published shortly, clearly setting out the steps that will be taken to address them.

The Prime Minister made clear in his Singapore speech on corruption last year that the Government is determined to make sure the UK does not become a safe haven for corrupt money. The Prime Minister's Anti-Corruption Summit in May will also consider what more the UK and our international partners can do to tackle flows of illicit finance at home and abroad.

Any investigation is an operational matter for the police and the prosecution authorities. The decision on whether to investigate a case, and then take forward a prosecution, will depend on the evidence available. The Home Office has not received representations from the Government of India in relation to allegations of money laundering offences by the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).

14th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the rate of allegations against a spouse of domestic violence or rape by women who have entered the UK on a spousal visa in each of the last five years.

Allegations of rape or domestic violence are a matter for individual police forces and not recorded in statistics relating to immigration control.

Information on grants of settlement due to domestic violence after leave to remain granted as a spouse, is given in the link below, table se_04, Immigration Statistics July-September 2015) and are available from the library of the House: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-july-to-september-2015/list-of-tables#settlement

10th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many overseas wives have joined their families in the UK between January 2014 and December 2015.

From January 2014 to September 2015 there were 35,990* spousal visas issued to females. We are not able to provide figures from October to December 2015 as visa figures for this period have not yet been published.

*Figure rounded to the nearest 5.

10th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the changes in the rates of incidence of domestic violence and rape between 2005 and 2015.

This government is committed to tackling violence against women and girls. We want victims to have the confidence to report these crimes, knowing they will get the support they need and that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

The 2014/15 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that 6.1% of adults aged 16 to 59 experienced any form of domestic abuse in the last year, down from 8.9% in the 2004/05 survey. While the latest estimate is not statistically significantly different from recent years, it is the lowest since these questions were first asked in 2004/05.

The 2014/15 CSEW also estimates that 0.3% of adults aged 16 to 59 had been a victim of rape (including attempts) in the last year. Due to the low number of respondents to the survey that have been a victim of this crime, it is not possible to say whether this estimate differs from surveys conducted in other years. However, prevalence of less serious sexual assault has fallen from 2.3% in the 2004/05 CSEW to 1.5% in the 2014/15 survey.

Data from the CSEW cannot be disaggregated by ethnicity, nor by the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.

10th Dec 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the incidence of domestic violence and rape against wives from Asia, and whether in making that assessment they have identified any trend.

This government is committed to tackling violence against women and girls. We want victims to have the confidence to report these crimes, knowing they will get the support they need and that everything will be done to bring offenders to justice.

The 2014/15 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates that 6.1% of adults aged 16 to 59 experienced any form of domestic abuse in the last year, down from 8.9% in the 2004/05 survey. While the latest estimate is not statistically significantly different from recent years, it is the lowest since these questions were first asked in 2004/05.

The 2014/15 CSEW also estimates that 0.3% of adults aged 16 to 59 had been a victim of rape (including attempts) in the last year. Due to the low number of respondents to the survey that have been a victim of this crime, it is not possible to say whether this estimate differs from surveys conducted in other years. However, prevalence of less serious sexual assault has fallen from 2.3% in the 2004/05 CSEW to 1.5% in the 2014/15 survey.

Data from the CSEW cannot be disaggregated by ethnicity, nor by the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim.

11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received any communications regarding a demonstration planned by the Awaaz Network against the visit to London by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The operational policing of protests and demonstrations are principally a matter for Chief Officers of each force in England and Wales. As is the case with visits of this nature, careful plans have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of the visit by the Prime Minister of India, in discussion with the Indian High Commission. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under UK law and we respect protesters’ rights to express their views peacefully. As part of the planning for the visit the police will have assessed any issues which could give rise to public disorder and will have factored this into their planning accordingly.

11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether there are any tensions within the South Asian community in the UK due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London.

The operational policing of protests and demonstrations are principally a matter for Chief Officers of each force in England and Wales. As is the case with visits of this nature, careful plans have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of the visit by the Prime Minister of India, in discussion with the Indian High Commission. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under UK law and we respect protesters’ rights to express their views peacefully. As part of the planning for the visit the police will have assessed any issues which could give rise to public disorder and will have factored this into their planning accordingly.

11th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of whether there are tensions between the British Pakistani/Kashmiri community and the British Indian/Hindu community in (1) London, and (2) Leicester.

The operational policing of protests and demonstrations are principally a matter for Chief Officers of each force in England and Wales. As is the case with visits of this nature, careful plans have been put in place to ensure the safety and security of the visit by the Prime Minister of India, in discussion with the Indian High Commission. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed under UK law and we respect protesters’ rights to express their views peacefully. As part of the planning for the visit the police will have assessed any issues which could give rise to public disorder and will have factored this into their planning accordingly.

4th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what percentage of visitor visas from (1) Pakistan, (2) India, (3) Bangladesh, and (4) China, were rejected in each of the last two years.

The information requested is provided in the table below.

Entry clearance visitor visa cases resolved by nationality (including dependants)

Year

Nationality

Applications

Cases Resolved

of which:



Granted

%

Refused

%

Withdrawn or lapsed

2013

Pakistan

85,749

88,901

61,578

69%

27,102

30%

27315

2014

Pakistan

87,541

89,709

57,117

64%

32,332

36%

32560



2013

India

352,740

354,262

316,911

89%

36,510

10%

37312

2014

India

352,880

354,184

319,804

90%

33,647

9%

34344



2013

Bangladesh

25,089

25,842

18,107

70%

7,588

29%

7734

2014

Bangladesh

24,153

24,516

16,027

65%

8,420

34%

8484



2013

China

303,746

303,668

291,826

96%

11,305

4%

11821

2014

China

338,847

340,064

327,349

96%

12,250

4%

12687










Notes: Data on visa grants and refusals may relate to applications made in an earlier period. For this reason the grant and refusal rates are calculated as proportions of the total resolved cases in each year, not the total applications.

Source:Immigration Statistics April-June 2015, Home Office, tables vi_01_q, and corresponding datasets.

The latest quarterly Home Office immigration statistics on entry clearance visas are published in ‘Immigration Statistics, April-June 2015’, available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

4th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many visa applications were made by visitors from (1) Pakistan, (2) India, (3) Bangladesh, and (4) China, in each of the last two years, and what was the total success rate for each category in each year.

The information requested is provided in the attached table.

Entry clearance visitor visa cases resolved by nationality (including dependants)

Year

Nationality

Applications

Cases Resolved

of which:



Granted

%

Refused

%

Withdrawn or lapsed

2013

Pakistan

85,749

88,901

61,578

69%

27,102

30%

27315

2014

Pakistan

87,541

89,709

57,117

64%

32,332

36%

32560



2013

India

352,740

354,262

316,911

89%

36,510

10%

37312

2014

India

352,880

354,184

319,804

90%

33,647

9%

34344



2013

Bangladesh

25,089

25,842

18,107

70%

7,588

29%

7734

2014

Bangladesh

24,153

24,516

16,027

65%

8,420

34%

8484



2013

China

303,746

303,668

291,826

96%

11,305

4%

11821

2014

China

338,847

340,064

327,349

96%

12,250

4%

12687










Notes: Data on visa grants and refusals may relate to applications made in an earlier period. For this reason the grant and refusal rates are calculated as proportions of the total resolved cases in each year, not the total applications.

Source:Immigration Statistics April-June 2015, Home Office, tables vi_01_q, and corresponding datasets.


The latest quarterly Home Office immigration statistics on entry clearance visas are published in ‘Immigration Statistics, April-June 2015’, available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

3rd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current waiting time for processing of (1) Spouse Visas, (2) Visitor Visas, (3) Student Visas and (4) Entrepreneur Visas.

The average global processing time for the period July 2014 to June 2015 and the most recent data – which covers the month of June 2015 - on global processing times for spouse, visitor, student and entrepreneur visas are set out in the table below.

Type

Category

Average processing time
(working days) - (Jun-15)

Average processing time
(working days) - (Jul-14 to Jun-15)

Non-Settlement

Visit

7

7

Non-Settlement

Student

6

8

Non-Settlement

T1 Entrepreneur

11

11

Settlement

Spouse

35

54

3rd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which categories of United Kingdom visa application processes are outsourced; which companies have been given the right to process those applications; and whether those companies have been provided with guidance in relation to religious and cultural sensitivities.

UKVI has two suppliers, VFS and Teleperformance, who are contracted to run UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) overseas. Their role is to capture visa applicants’ biometrics and forward their visa application documentation to the Home Office run Decision Making Centres (DMCs). Once Home Office staff have decided an application, the decision is returned to the customer via the suppliers. The suppliers have no role in visa decision making.

VACs are generally staffed and managed by local nationals, so staff should be aware of any local cultural and religious sensitivities. Where local sensitivities require special arrangements, such as ensuring that there are female as well as male security guards or privacy when capturing biometrics, UKVI ensure the arrangements are in place by setting out requirements in the contract, providing guidance and training and through inspection visits.

3rd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the granting of United Kingdom visas is regulated to ensure that they are meeting their stated targets in relation to visas from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China.

Performance against service standards for visa processing is routinely monitored through internal performance management processes, and is also subject to external scrutiny from the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and the Home Affairs Select Committee. Data on how UKVI is performing against its processing targets is published here: https://visa-processingtimes.homeoffice.gov.uk/y

23rd Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether restrictions were imposed on the travel of Narendra Modi; if so, whether such restrictions have been lifted; and if so, why.

The Home Office do not routinely comment on individual cases. The Home Office has obligations in law to protect this information.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have approved the withdrawal of religious support for detainees at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres.

The provision of religious and spiritual support for detainees in immigration removal centres (IRC) is a statutory requirement of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, IRC Operating Standards and is a contractual or service level specification for all centre operators. These provisions have not and will not be withdrawn at any centre.

Arrangements for the observance of Ramadan are in place at all IRCs. This includes special catering arrangements to allow the breaking of the fast at the prescribed time. The Home Office is consulted about the arrangements to ensure that they are appropriate.

There have been no complaints about the amount of food provided at the Heathrow centres and catering provision will be monitored during Ramadan as it is throughout the year.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of whether MITIE has provided adequate amounts of food to Muslim detainees at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres during the month of Ramadan and at the time of sunset.

The provision of religious and spiritual support for detainees in immigration removal centres (IRC) is a statutory requirement of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, IRC Operating Standards and is a contractual or service level specification for all centre operators. These provisions have not and will not be withdrawn at any centre.

Arrangements for the observance of Ramadan are in place at all IRCs. This includes special catering arrangements to allow the breaking of the fast at the prescribed time. The Home Office is consulted about the arrangements to ensure that they are appropriate.

There have been no complaints about the amount of food provided at the Heathrow centres and catering provision will be monitored during Ramadan as it is throughout the year.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to provide religious and spiritual support for the detainees at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

The provision of religious and spiritual support for detainees in immigration removal centres (IRC) is a statutory requirement of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, IRC Operating Standards and is a contractual or service level specification for all centre operators. These provisions have not and will not be withdrawn at any centre.

Arrangements for the observance of Ramadan are in place at all IRCs. This includes special catering arrangements to allow the breaking of the fast at the prescribed time. The Home Office is consulted about the arrangements to ensure that they are appropriate.

There have been no complaints about the amount of food provided at the Heathrow centres and catering provision will be monitored during Ramadan as it is throughout the year.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the hygiene and stability of conditions of the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre; and what actions, if any, they have taken to ensure the hygiene and stability of the Centre.

All immigration removal centres operated by the private sector, including Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, have their contracts managed by a central commercial team. The Home Office also has staff based in each centre to monitor contract delivery and compliance.

The current level of services provided, including hygiene, is consistent, compliant with relevant standards and is considered by the Home Office to be satisfactory. Meetings take place with the contractor, on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis (at a more senior level) where any issues will be addressed.

Moreover, on 9 February the Home Secretary announced an independent review of detainee welfare in immigration detention, led by the former prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw. The review is expected to report in September and will seek to identify whether improvements can be made to safeguard the health and wellbeing of detainees across the immigration detention estate, short term holding facilities, and those being escorted in the UK. The Government will publish the report by laying it before Parliament, alongside the Government’s response to the recommendations.

17th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the standard of the services provided by the private outsourcing group MITIE at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centres.

All immigration removal centres operated by the private sector, including Harmondsworth and Colnbrook, have their contracts managed by a central commercial team. The Home Office also has staff based in each centre to monitor contract delivery and compliance.

The current level of services provided, including hygiene, is consistent, compliant with relevant standards and is considered by the Home Office to be satisfactory. Meetings take place with the contractor, on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis (at a more senior level) where any issues will be addressed.

Moreover, on 9 February the Home Secretary announced an independent review of detainee welfare in immigration detention, led by the former prisons ombudsman Stephen Shaw. The review is expected to report in September and will seek to identify whether improvements can be made to safeguard the health and wellbeing of detainees across the immigration detention estate, short term holding facilities, and those being escorted in the UK. The Government will publish the report by laying it before Parliament, alongside the Government’s response to the recommendations.

10th Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the international community to house refugees from the north of Africa.

We believe resettlement of refugees should be a matter for individual countries. Resettlement has a place as part of the wider asylum process, including as a route for particularly vulnerable refugees, but resettlement of all refugees in North Africa is not practical and could not meet the needs of all genuine refugees. It also would not address the reasons for their flight and risks increasing concentrations of illegal migrants in North Africa. The only sustainable solution is to address the drivers of illegal migration: increasing stability and supporting the development of countries of origin; increasing the capacity of countries in the region to protect refugees so they may return home when circumstances permit; establishing a more effective process of returning illegal migrants; and cracking down on the ruthless criminals who are playing so callously with human lives.

23rd Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for an extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

The Government will neither confirm nor deny whether it is considering or is involved in negotiations with a particular country over an extradition treaty.

The absence of a formal extradition treaty does not prevent the UK from requesting the extradition of an individual from another country. It is a matter for the law of that country whether it is able to respond to such a request.

23rd Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of securing an extradition treaty between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

The Government will neither confirm nor deny whether it is considering or is involved in negotiations with a particular country over an extradition treaty.

The absence of a formal extradition treaty does not prevent the UK from requesting the extradition of an individual from another country. It is a matter for the law of that country whether it is able to respond to such a request.

23rd Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current status of negotiations between the United Kingdom and Pakistan over an extradition treaty.

The Government will neither confirm nor deny whether it is considering or is involved in negotiations with a particular country over an extradition treaty.

The absence of a formal extradition treaty does not prevent the UK from requesting the extradition of an individual from another country. It is a matter for the law of that country whether it is able to respond to such a request.

23rd Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what criteria must be applied when classifying acts as hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence; and whether they have any plans to redefine those criteria following the recent attacks on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

Part 3 and Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 (as amended by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008) cover a range of offences relating to inciting hatred on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation.

For offences under both parts of this legislation, the criminal threshold has to be met in order for a person to be found guilty. For racial hatred the threshold test is that the words or behaviour used have to be ‘threatening’, ‘abusive’ or ‘insulting’ and intend to stir up racial hatred or having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up. For hatred on the grounds of religion and sexual orientation, the threshold test is different; the words or behaviour have to be ‘threatening’ and the person must intend thereby to stir up hatred on the grounds of religion or sexual orientation. This part of the Act also sets out a provision for the protection of freedom of expression.

The government has no current plans to make amendments to this legislation.

2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have analysed the Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham; and whether the total number of victims cited in that report is based on verifiable data or is an estimate.

The Government is clear that there is more to be done for victims and to minimise the risk of such terrible events occurring in Rotherham or anywhere else in the future. What happened in Rotherham was a complete dereliction of duty.

This is why the Home Secretary has been chairing a series of Secretaries of State meetings alongside colleagues from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, Communities and Local Government and Department of Health, and the Attorney General and Solicitor General to analyse the failures identified in the Jay report and consider how all parties, including the police and local government, can work together more effectively on the issue of child sexual exploitation to protect vulnerable children and bring offenders to justice.

This will build on the existing work of the Home Office-led National Group to tackle sexual violence against children and vulnerable people, which is ensuring agencies are working together to better identify those at risk.

The Jay report made a ‘conservative estimate’ that there were over 1400 victims of CSE during the 15-year period. The 1400 figure was based on a reading of 66 case files, out of a total of 988, and includes some who were forced to watch others being assaulted and abused as well as those who were physically harmed.

The Government is determined that appalling cases of child abuse should be exposed so that perpetrators face justice and the vulnerable are protected. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are able to apply for Special Grant if the police force they are responsible for faces an unexpected and exceptional event that places a significant financial burden on the force.

2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure the protection of vulnerable children, particularly in Rotherham, in the face of recent cuts in the budget of South Yorkshire Police.

The Government is clear that there is more to be done for victims and to minimise the risk of such terrible events occurring in Rotherham or anywhere else in the future. What happened in Rotherham was a complete dereliction of duty.

This is why the Home Secretary has been chairing a series of Secretaries of State meetings alongside colleagues from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, Communities and Local Government and Department of Health, and the Attorney General and Solicitor General to analyse the failures identified in the Jay report and consider how all parties, including the police and local government, can work together more effectively on the issue of child sexual exploitation to protect vulnerable children and bring offenders to justice.

This will build on the existing work of the Home Office-led National Group to tackle sexual violence against children and vulnerable people, which is ensuring agencies are working together to better identify those at risk.

The Jay report made a ‘conservative estimate’ that there were over 1400 victims of CSE during the 15-year period. The 1400 figure was based on a reading of 66 case files, out of a total of 988, and includes some who were forced to watch others being assaulted and abused as well as those who were physically harmed.

The Government is determined that appalling cases of child abuse should be exposed so that perpetrators face justice and the vulnerable are protected. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are able to apply for Special Grant if the police force they are responsible for faces an unexpected and exceptional event that places a significant financial burden on the force.

25th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to ban the leader of the Bodu Bala Sena, Mr Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, from entering the United Kingdom.

The Home Office does not routinely comment on individual cases. This is because the Home Office has obligations in law to protect this information.

I can confirm that any visa application from Mr Gnanasara would be considered in accordance with the Immigration Rules.
Under the Prevent strategy, the Unacceptable Behaviours policy has prevented a cross section of extremists from entering the UK. This includes excluding individuals for public speaking or publishing material that foments, justifies or glorifies terrorist violence or fosters hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK or otherwise can be demonstrated as providing support for extremists.
Coming to the UK is a privilege we refuse to extend to those who would subvert our shared values.

8th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were killed during the drone strike on Raqqa on 21 August.

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced to the House on 7 September, Reyaad Khan was killed in a precision air strike carried out in Raqqa on 21 August by an RAF remotely piloted air system. In addition to Reyaad Khan, two ISIL fighters were also killed.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
8th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any civilians were killed in the drone strike on Raqqa on 21 August.

My right hon. Friend The Prime Minister confirmed in his statement to the House on 7 September that there were no civilian casualties resulting from the precision air strike in Raqqa on 21 August 2015.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
8th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of collateral damage from air strikes and drone strikes in the civilian areas in Syria and Iraq.

As far as we are aware, there have not been any civilian casualties resulting from UK strikes against ISIL.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any military support has been given to the Turkmen community to help them defend themselves against ISIS.

The UK Government has provided military support to the official authorities, in the form of the Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government, to help them counter the threat from ISIL.

19th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware of any major religions that do not subscribe to universal values.

As the then Home Secretary explained in her speech of 23rd March 2015, British values – such as regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities – are supported by the overwhelming majority of British people. They are sustained by our most important local and national institutions. And they are the means by which we have made our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society succeed.

19th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that any British values are different from universal values; and, if so, which ones are different.

As the then Home Secretary explained in her speech of 23rd March 2015, British values – such as regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities – are supported by the overwhelming majority of British people. They are sustained by our most important local and national institutions. And they are the means by which we have made our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society succeed.

19th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of reports that civil servants and other holders of public office might be required to swear an oath to British values, what is their definition of British values.

As the then Home Secretary explained in her speech of 23rd March 2015, British values – such as regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities – are supported by the overwhelming majority of British people. They are sustained by our most important local and national institutions. And they are the means by which we have made our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society succeed.

14th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether their new definition of anti-Semitism will allow for the criticism of the government of Israel and its policies towards the Palestinian people.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism adopted by Her Majesty’s Government does not preclude criticism of Israel. As the definition makes clear, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.

The full text of the working definition of anti-Semitism and examples (atached) can be found

at: http://european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/report/working-definition-antisemitism-ihra

2nd Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to provide additional resources to the local authorities in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Derby and any other local authority that has experienced child sexual exploitation cases and requires funding for victim support and child protection.

The Government is determined that appalling cases of child abuse should be exposed so that perpetrators face justice and the vulnerable are protected. The Government is clear that there is more to be done for victims and to minimise the risk of such terrible events occurring in Rotherham or anywhere else in the future.

The Home Secretary has been chairing a series of Secretaries of State meetings alongside colleagues from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Education, Communities and Local Government and Department of Health, and the Attorney General and Solicitor General to analyse the failures identified in the Jay report and consider how all parties, including the criminal justice system, local government, the health service and the voluntary sector, can work together more effectively to support and protect victims of child sexual exploitation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the speed at which cases are handled in immigration and asylum tribunals in England and Wales.

The average waiting times for immigration and asylum appeals in 2015/16 was 34 weeks.

As at 30 September 2016 there were 57,290 registered appeals awaiting hearing. This figure is based on internal management information which is not subject to the same rigorous verification processes as published data.

We do everything we can to avoid unnecessary delay in the Immigration & Asylum Tribunal and we have provided an additional 4,950 tribunal sitting days for this financial year to ensure current caseloads continue to decrease. We are keeping performance under close review.

20th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many cases are awaiting appeal hearings at immigration and asylum tribunals in England and Wales.

The average waiting times for immigration and asylum appeals in 2015/16 was 34 weeks.

As at 30 September 2016 there were 57,290 registered appeals awaiting hearing. This figure is based on internal management information which is not subject to the same rigorous verification processes as published data.

We do everything we can to avoid unnecessary delay in the Immigration & Asylum Tribunal and we have provided an additional 4,950 tribunal sitting days for this financial year to ensure current caseloads continue to decrease. We are keeping performance under close review.

20th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the average time taken for immigration and asylum tribunals to process and hear cases.

The average waiting times for immigration and asylum appeals in 2015/16 was 34 weeks.

As at 30 September 2016 there were 57,290 registered appeals awaiting hearing. This figure is based on internal management information which is not subject to the same rigorous verification processes as published data.

We do everything we can to avoid unnecessary delay in the Immigration & Asylum Tribunal and we have provided an additional 4,950 tribunal sitting days for this financial year to ensure current caseloads continue to decrease. We are keeping performance under close review.

21st Mar 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current total number of prisoners in HM Prison Service; and how that number is broken down by faith category.

Religion is self-declared and prisoners are under no obligation to declare their religion. Statistics on the prison population by religion in England and Wales are published quarterly and the latest available information can be found within table 1.5 of the ‘Offender Management Statistics Quarterly, Prison Population 31 December 2015’. The latest information is provided below.

Table 1: Prison population by religion, as at 31 December 2015, England and Wales

Total

Males and females

84,968

All Christian

42,063

Anglican

15,835

Free Church

848

Roman Catholic

15,197

Other Christian(1)

10,183

Muslim

12,328

Hindu

438

Sikh

705

Buddhist

1,543

Jewish

398

Other religious group(1)

1,383

Non recognised

11

No religion

26,007

Not recorded

92

(1) On 30 June 2015, 350 prisoners who were previously recorded in the other religious group will now be included in the other Christian category. More detailed information on religion in prison population data and improvement of classifications has allowed the identification of these prisoners.

Data Source and Quality

These figures have been drawn from IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.