Lord Judd Portrait

Lord Judd

Labour - Life peer

Lord Judd is not a member of any APPGs
4 Former APPG memberships
Dark Skies, Haiti, National Parks, Tidy Britain
EU Justice Sub-Committee
12th Jun 2015 - 2nd Jul 2019
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
24th Jan 2002 - 30th Mar 2015
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
2nd Dec 2003 - 14th Nov 2007
Procedure and Privileges Committee
26th Jun 2001 - 18th Nov 2004
Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
21st Feb 1977 - 4th May 1979
Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Overseas Development)
21st Dec 1976 - 21st Feb 1977
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Royal Navy)
8th Mar 1974 - 14th Apr 1976
Shadow Minister (Defence)
1st Jan 1972 - 1st Jan 1974
Public Accounts Committee
1st Jan 1968 - 1st Jan 1971


Division Voting information

Lord Judd has voted in 922 divisions, and 19 times against the majority of their Party.

7 Mar 2017 - European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 3 Labour Aye votes vs 65 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 95 Noes - 340
27 Feb 2017 - European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 33 Labour Aye votes vs 53 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 136 Noes - 299
15 Nov 2011 - Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd 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
13 Oct 2008 - Counter-Terrorism Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd 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
23 Apr 2008 - Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 51 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 21 Noes - 55
17 Mar 2008 - Children and Young Persons Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Labour Aye votes vs 109 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 173 Noes - 119
11 Oct 2007 - UK Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Labour Aye votes vs 95 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 58 Noes - 106
9 Oct 2007 - UK Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 97 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 104 Noes - 105
27 Jun 2007 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 118 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 77 Noes - 140
12 Jun 2007 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 106 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 85 Noes - 112
5 Jun 2007 - Offender Management Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 107 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 120 Noes - 116
25 Apr 2007 - Serious Crime Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 107 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 182 Noes - 121
5 Mar 2007 - Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (Continuance in force of sections 1 to 9) Order 2007 - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 132 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 96 Noes - 141
5 Feb 2007 - Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Labour Aye votes vs 120 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 222 Noes - 127
2 Nov 2006 - Companies Bill [HL] - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Labour Aye votes vs 101 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 48 Noes - 192
31 Oct 2006 - Armed Forces Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 123 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 63 Noes - 165
30 Oct 2006 - Education and Inspections Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 112 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 65 Noes - 157
24 Oct 2006 - Education and Inspections Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 7 Labour Aye votes vs 114 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 85 Noes - 173
10 Oct 2006 - Police and Justice Bill - View Vote Context
Lord Judd voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 11 Labour Aye votes vs 95 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 211 Noes - 98
View All Lord Judd 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
Baroness Verma (Conservative)
(26 debate interactions)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(23 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(147 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(54 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Lord Judd's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Lord Judd, 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 Judd has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Lord Judd has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Lord Judd has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

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


429 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
16 Other Department Questions
6th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to preserve and enhance the international character and international standing of British universities and their research.

The Government is determined to ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in European and international research and innovation. It is promoting the international success of UK universities through bilateral engagement with overseas partners, the Britain is GREAT marketing campaign which has education and science pillars, and through the Chevening and Commonwealth scholarship schemes.

For example, in November 2015, the Indian and UK Prime Ministers jointly announced the ‘2016 UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation’. This was immediately followed by a major education visit to India, including 28 vice-chancellors to increase higher education partnerships.

Programmes such as the UK China Partners in Education programme and the UK India Education Research Initiative bring long term international collaboration.

Our international research is being enhanced through the Government’s Newton Fund, a £735 million UK investment matched by partner countries, linking our universities with researchers in 16 major emerging economies. Our Global Challenge Research Fund, £1.5 billion and Ross Fund, £1bn., support universities engaging in global challenges including health, agritech and water research.

British universities have a world-class reputation for both education and research. Globally the UK has four universities in the top ten and ten in the top fifty in the QS rankings, a 10% share of the international student recruitment market, and 15.9% per cent of the world’s most highly-cited research articles.

19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they are making in identifying the most appropriate means for the short- and medium-term storage of lethal and hazardous nuclear waste.

The UK Government has clear policies for the safe and secure short and long–term management of radioactive waste.

The UK Government published a Policy Statement for the management of Low Level Waste (LLW) in 2007. In accordance with it an updated UK Nuclear Industry LLW Strategy was published by DECC in February 2016. It requires the application of the waste management hierarchy. It means disposal of LLW should be a last resort and waste avoidance, recycling and reuse of waste should be considered first. This will preserve capacity in the UK’s national LLW repository in West Cumbria so it can continue to dispose of the highest priority LLW only.

The policy for higher activity waste is contained in the Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper published by DECC in 2014. The policy is that higher activity waste from nuclear facilities will be held in safe and secure interim storage facilities on nuclear licensed sites until a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) is available for final disposal.

19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they are making in identifying the most geologically suitable site for the future storage of nuclear waste.

The 2014 Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper set out three initial actions for Government and the developer (Radioactive Waste Management) to provide greater clarity on issues such as geology, development impacts and community representation.

In April 2016 Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) published National Geological Screening Guidance which sets out how they intend to bring together, present and provide authoritative and existing information on UK geology relevant to the long term safety of a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF).

RWM are applying this Guidance and have started gathering existing information on the UK’s geology which will help communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland better understand their potential suitability to host a GDF. It will not, however, determine if a particular location, region or area can definitively host a GDF.

Formal engagement between the developer and potential host communities will start in 2017 once the Government and RWM have delivered the initial actions, including the national geological screening outputs. Good progress is being made in the short term with a clear long term goal of delivering safe and secure final disposal of all our radioactive waste.

19th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of climate change for (1) the climate and geology of West Cumbria, and (2) future nuclear developments in the country.

The energy National Policy Statements published in 2011 set out the considerations that should be taken into account by developers and the Planning Inspectorate to help ensure proposed new energy infrastructure, including new nuclear power stations, is resilient to climate change. The Nuclear National Policy Statement also explains that the independent nuclear regulators will ensure new nuclear power stations, including the one proposed for Moorside, will be located, constructed, operated and decommissioned with the long-term impacts of climate change in mind.


19th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the expertise and staff resources of the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency are sufficient to monitor effectively the investment and inputs in the nuclear industry by China, Japan, France and other foreign investors.

The Department meets regularly with the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency to review their current and planned resources to deliver their programme of work. Based on these agreed project and workforce plans, I am confident both regulators will continue to have the resources they need across all disciplines to carry out their current and planned future programme.


12th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that all personnel working in the nuclear generation sector are briefed and adequately prepared to deal with cyber attacks.

Government, through the National Cyber Security Programme, has provided training to key personnel within the civil nuclear industry to continuously improve the cyber security of the nuclear sector. We are doing this by facilitating training for the regulator and civil nuclear personnel, and carrying out risk reviews of sites within the civil nuclear sector to provide recommendations on how their cyber security can be enhanced. Additionally, operators of nuclear power plants in the UK must operate in accordance with the UK’s very stringent safety and security regulations and legal framework. These are enforced by the independent Office for Nuclear Regulation.


The UK’s Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 require all site licence companies to detail their arrangements for physical, personnel, and cyber security, which includes the protection of equipment and technology, in a security plan that is approved by ONR. These plans are routinely tested and exercised. Furthermore, as a requirement for security plan approval, ONR also seek assurance that all personnel are adequately trained and competent to undertake their role and that dutyholders encourage a strong security culture through regular briefings on a wide range of threats.’



7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has sufficient human resources of the necessary calibre and expertise to ensure that construction work at Sellafield is being effectively managed and supervised; whether that work is on course to meet all the necessary deadlines; and what progress has been made with that work.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is responsible for ensuring that it and its delivery partners (the Site Licence Companies) have the right skills and capability to deliver its mission. The Department monitors closely the work of the NDA – a specialist contracting authority - and its contractors, which manage and operate the sites on its behalf.

The current NDA team bring decades of technical and commercial experience to the oversight of these major contracts and the Department is assured that the NDA has the necessary resource and expertise to oversee work at Sellafield and its other sites.

In light of the decision, announced by the Secretary of State in January 2015, to change the ownership model for Sellafield, bringing the Sellafield Ltd Site Licence Company under the direct ownership of the NDA as a wholly owned subsidiary with effect from April 2016, the NDA is re-assessing its future resource requirements. The model change has prioritised accessing world class capabilities to all levels of the site.

Performance at Sellafield has been improving steadily since the NDA took ownership in 2005, prior to which there was little investment in the legacy infrastructure and no progress with decommissioning. Sellafield Ltd has on average met 86% of its milestones in recent years and is making good progress against its work plan for 2015/16.

The NDA publishes reports on its website on progress on priority programmes and projects. The latest version of the document can be viewed at:

http://www.nda.gov.uk/publication/programmes-and-major-projects-report-pilot-3/

An update is scheduled for later this Autumn.

21st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of their decision to endorse the site at Moorside in West Cumbria for the construction of a new nuclear power station, what action they are taking to ensure that any consequent or related infrastructure, including that proposed by National Grid, fully complies with the law and with the undertakings of the government that landscapes designated as of the highest quality, including the landscapes of the National Park, should be protected and not damaged by electricity infrastructure development.

Moorside is one of the eight sites listed as potentially suitable for the construction of new nuclear power stations in the Nuclear National Policy Statement published in 2011. In the event of an application for development consent being made, the Nuclear National Policy Statement sets out how the Planning Inspectorate should consider impacts, including at section 3.10, landscape and visual impacts, before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State. Section 2.8 of the National Policy Statement for Electricity Networks Infrastructure makes similar provisions for related Grid developments. The Energy National Policy Statements are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-policy-statements-for-energy-infrastructure

9th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they are making in their national survey to establish the most suitable, and least hazardous, geological sites for the long-term storage of nuclear waste.

As one of the actions in the 2014 Implementing Geological Disposal White Paper, Radioactive Waste Management Limited (RWM) are carrying out a national geological screening exercise, based on existing geological information. This screening exercise will not target or select individual sites for development of a geological disposal facility (GDF). Its purpose is to provide authoritative information that can be used in future discussions with communities thinking about possible GDF developments.

The process will involve two steps: guidance will be produced by RWM in 2015, which will be subject to expert review, by an Independent Review Panel established by the Geological Society, and public consultation. The final guidance will be applied during 2016, using the specialist expertise of the British Geological Survey. Outputs will be in the form of narratives describing characteristics of the geological environment across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the relevance of these characteristics to safety. There is a large range of potentially suitable geological environments in the UK, and no single ‘most suitable’ type of geological environment for a GDF. There are several programmes at an advanced stage in different parts of the world, focussing on different geological environments, each designed to be safe.

The Independent Review Panel held a public meeting with RWM on 23 June to discuss the draft screening guidance. This meeting was streamed live on YouTube and the draft guidance has been published on the web. RWM has given presentations to eleven Geological Society Regional Groups, and held six meetings with stakeholders, including Local Authority representatives and other members of the public who have expressed interest.

The public consultation on the draft screening guidance will take place in the autumn.

This work will support the process of formal engagement with communities interested in hosting a GDF, which will start in 2017. Current estimates are that it will take between 15 and 20 years to agree a site through the national siting process. After this, GDF construction should proceed from the 2030s, with disposal of radioactive waste in the facility starting from the 2040s.

9th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to increase the contribution made by thermal heating and other low-carbon heat technologies, and by building regulations, to the fulfilment of their 2020 carbon emissions reductions target, and to sustained reductions beyond 2020.

The main policy to support the uptake of low-carbon heat technologies is the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The RHI is a financial incentive scheme, designed to bridge the gap between the cost of fossil fuel heat sources and renewable heat alternatives. The 2014 projections suggested that in 2020 the RHI would account for 5% of the total reduction in emissions delivered by policies.

The RHI budget for 2015-16 is £430million. Budget for future years are the subject of the Spending Review

9th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to improve the security of the nuclear waste currently stored at Sellafield; and what arrangements are in place to monitor progress, efficiency and value for money.

Security of nuclear waste and Sellafield is a high priority for the Government. However the Government does not comment on security at nuclear sites. Expenditure on security is subject to the same processes and rules as other public expenditure.

1st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of their 2020 carbon emissions reduction target they intend to achieve through the development of thermal heating capacity in the United Kingdom.

The Climate Change Act (2008) requires the Government to set legally binding ‘carbon budgets’ to meet the objective of reducing emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. The Act requires that the UK’s emissions in the third carbon budget period, which covers 2020, are at least 34% below the 1990 baseline for emissions.

The Government has not set specific targets for how much of the emissions reductions required for each carbon budget should come from different emissions sources, for example heat, electricity or transport. This is to provide sufficient flexibility to ensure carbon savings are delivered across the economy in the most cost effective way.

However, DECC does produce projections of UK emissions that account for the impact of Government policies. The last projections published in September 2014 [1] showed that the UK was on track to meet the second (2013-17) and third (2018-22) budgets having already met the first carbon budget (2008-12).

In 2020, policies [2] which drive improvements in energy efficiency (across all sectors) are projected to contribute 61% of the total reduction in emissions and policies influencing the uptake of low-carbon heat technologies are projected to contribute 5%. Other policies such as Building Regulations also support the reduction of heat emissions from buildings for example through the requirement to install a condensing boiler in most cases when a boiler needs to be replaced.

[1] Updated Energy and Emissions Projections: 2014 (DECC)

[2] Source: Annex D of the Updated Energy and Emissions Projections (EEP): 2014 (DECC). Based on all policies listed in EEP, including those introduced before as well as after the publication of the Low Carbon Transition Plan (LCTP) 2009

1st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of their 2020 carbon emissions reduction target they intend to achieve through energy efficiency measures.

The Climate Change Act (2008) requires the Government to set legally binding ‘carbon budgets’ to meet the objective of reducing emissions by at least 80% in 2050 from 1990 levels. The Act requires that the UK’s emissions in the third carbon budget period, which covers 2020, are at least 34% below the 1990 baseline for emissions.

The Government has not set specific targets for how much of the emissions reductions required for each carbon budget should come from different emissions sources, for example heat, electricity or transport. This is to provide sufficient flexibility to ensure carbon savings are delivered across the economy in the most cost effective way.

However, DECC does produce projections of UK emissions that account for the impact of Government policies. The last projections published in September 2014 [1] showed that the UK was on track to meet the second (2013-17) and third (2018-22) budgets having already met the first carbon budget (2008-12).

In 2020, policies [2] which drive improvements in energy efficiency (across all sectors) are projected to contribute 61% of the total reduction in emissions and policies influencing the uptake of low-carbon heat technologies are projected to contribute 5%. Other policies such as Building Regulations also support the reduction of heat emissions from buildings for example through the requirement to install a condensing boiler in most cases when a boiler needs to be replaced.

[1] Updated Energy and Emissions Projections: 2014 (DECC)

[2] Source: Annex D of the Updated Energy and Emissions Projections (EEP): 2014 (DECC). Based on all policies listed in EEP, including those introduced before as well as after the publication of the Low Carbon Transition Plan (LCTP) 2009

3rd Nov 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what calculations they have made about the size and scale of potential security, environmental and public safety consequences of any potential failure in nuclear waste storage systems at Sellafield; and when they will publish details of those calculations.

Government and licensees take very seriously the need to decommission legacy facilities, including those at Sellafield. This work is underpinned by periodic safety reviews, which are assessed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). In addition to this, nuclear operators have a legal obligation under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2001 (REPPIR) to identify, evaluate and assess their hazards and risks, which enables the ONR to determine the off-site emergency planning area in line with its assessment principles:

http://www.onr.org.uk/depz-onr-principles.htm.

3rd Nov 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with Sellafield Ltd, the Office of Nuclear Regulation and other relevant bodies about existing, or potential, public safety, wildlife vulnerability and security risks arising from the condition of nuclear waste storage ponds at Sellafield; what was the outcome of any such discussions; and what action they are taking to deal with any risks that may have been identified.

It is a national priority to reduce the hazard and risk at Sellafield in a safe and timely manner and progress in addressing the hazards at Sellafield is kept under frequent review. The actual detail of the programmes and the actions to maintain safety, are matters between Sellafield Ltd. as the site licence company and ONR as the independent nuclear regulator. Sellafield is ONR’s highest regulatory priority and receives a significantly enhanced level of regulatory attention.

Security at Sellafield is specifically designed to address a wide range of credible threats, with measures including perimeter and internal physical barriers, detection and surveillance technologies and an armed response provided by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. In line with internationally established principle of continuous improvement, the Sellafield site has seen a series of security enhancements over the last few years to ensure security remains robust.

15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Royal National Institute of Blind People Turned Out 2019, published on 13 October; and what steps they are taking to address the findings of that report.

The Government is committed to improving the accessibility of the electoral process for voters with sight loss and other disabilities, and is already in the process of taking forward some of the recommendations made in the report while considering other measures.

The Government is looking at trialling ways to provide blind and partially sighted voters with electoral information in more accessible formats and is working with electoral partners, including the Electoral Commission, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Association of Electoral Administrators to ensure the support available to voters with disabilities is effectively publicised.

We will continue working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to improve processes and will review what additional support might be provided to help voters with sight loss to vote by post.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place to ensure that, following the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, there is designated ministerial representation at the National Security Council specifically to deal with international development matters and to speak for them.

Membership of Cabinet Committees is decided by the Prime Minister and is regularly published on GOV.UK.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish comparative statistics of death rates from diseases including (1) tuberculosis, (2) heart disease, (3) influenza, (4) diabetes, and (5) similar diseases, to contextualise death rates from COVID-19 and improve public understanding.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Dear Lord Judd,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what plans there are to publish comparative statistics on death rates from diseases including (1) tuberculosis, (2) heart disease, (3) influenza, (4) diabetes, and (5) similar diseases, to contextualise death rates from COVID-19 and improve public understanding (HL5854).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for publishing mortality statistics for deaths registered in England and Wales. The most recent annual figures published are for deaths registered in 2018[1]. The finalised annual death registrations for 2019 will be presented in the forthcoming Death Registrations[2] publication, due to be published on 1 July 2020.

We also publish provisional data on weekly deaths registrations, which are currently published for deaths registered up to 5 June 2020[3]. National Records Scotland (NRS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) are responsible for publishing the number of deaths registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

The ONS has recently published an article that presents additional data on deaths involving COVID-19, for deaths that occurred between 1 March and 30 April (and registered up to 5 May 2020), in England and Wales[4]. This publication provides a breakdown of the 10 leading causes of death during this period, which include ischaemic heart disease, influenza and pneumonia. Figures 3 and 4 in this publication compare the age-standardised mortality rate for the 10 leading causes of death against the 5-year average. Age-standardised rates are used because they provide a better measure of mortality than the number of deaths, as they account for the population size and age structure. They are also better for comparing between areas and over time.

Table 1[5] reports the number of deaths occurring between 1 March and 30 April 2020, grouped by leading causes, including COVID-19. An extract of the data containing the conditions you have requested is below. Unfortunately, due to the way we analyse the data, we are unable to separate those deaths where the cause of death was registered as influenza or pneumonia. An update of this dataset will be published on 23 June 2020[6].

Our future analysis workplan includes further investigation of deaths involving COVID-19 and those from other causes.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Number of deaths by select causes, England and Wales, deaths occurring between March and April 2020[7],[8],[9]

England and Wales

England

Wales

ICD-10 codes

Cause of death groups

March

April

March

April

March

April

U07.1-U07.2

Coronavirus

4,379

27,764

4,208

26,396

158

1,326

A15–A19, B90

Tuberculosis

13

8

12

7

1

1

E10–E14

Diabetes

655

851

616

809

38

41

I05–I09

Chronic rheumatic heart diseases

94

69

89

64

5

5

I10–I15

Hypertensive diseases

669

714

633

675

34

39

I20–I25

Ischaemic heart diseases

4,624

4,053

4,307

3,815

311

236

I26–I28

Pulmonary heart disease and diseases of pulmonary circulation

219

225

205

208

13

17

J09–J18

Influenza and pneumonia

2,554

1,806

2,386

1,698

163

106


Source: Office for National Statistics

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsregisteredinenglandandwalesseriesdrreferencetables

[2] https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/deathsregisteredinenglandandwales2019

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/weeklyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwales/latest

[5]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwales

[6]https://www.ons.gov.uk/releases/deathsinvolvingcovid19englandandwalesmay2020

[7]England and Wales includes deaths of non-residents. England and Wales separately excludes deaths of non-residents.

[8]Based on the data a death occurred rather than when a death was registered.

[9]Based on the bounderies as of February 2020.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that officials from the Department for International Development are able to contribute to the forthcoming Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review.

The review will involve officials from a wide range of Government departments including the Department for International Development. The review will reassess the nation’s place in the world, covering all aspects of international policy from defence to diplomacy and development.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that relevant sectors of civil society, including non-governmental organisations, are able to contribute to the forthcoming Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review.

The review will engage and collaborate with a range of external stakeholders to ensure proper challenge and scrutiny. We will listen and learn from different voices across society, from the public, academics to international partners. Good practice from previous reviews and strategies will be explored when formulating the right approach.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
23rd Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they are making to ensure that the roles of (1) the intelligence services, and (2) the police, including community policing, are taken fully into account in the Strategic Defence Review.

The government remains focused on implementing the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which was published in 2015. In July the government announced a review of national security capabilities, in support of SDSR implementation, to ensure that we have a full suite of effective and efficient national security capabilities to achieve our three national security objectives: protecting our people, projecting our global influence and promoting our prosperity. The work is being coordinated by the National Security Adviser, with individual strands taken forward by cross-departmental teams, which has involved a range of Government departments and our law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government, in the light of their commitment to a more outward-looking Global Britain, what steps they are taking to ensure that Government departments refrain from anti-internationalist rhetoric.

As the Prime Minister said to the UN General Assembly, the United Kingdom has always been an outward-facing, global partner at the heart of international efforts to secure peace and prosperity for all. She also pledged that the UK will be a confident, strong and dependable partner internationally – true to the UN's universal values. Both the rhetoric, but also the policy at the heart of this government's approach, make it clear that our posture must be internationalist as we build a new, deep and special partnership with our European neighbours and seek to strengthen our global role and relations. This sets a clear tone for all Government departments' approach.

28th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that National Security Council objectives are scrutinised by Parliament.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review set out the long term direction to meet the strategic objectives of ensuring domestic security and resilience, and shaping a stable world. The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, comprising members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, scrutinises the National Security Strategy and the structures for government decision-making on national security, particularly the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser.

The NSC brings together departments, including DFID, to take collective decisions, balancing the mutually–reinforcing elements of national security including domestic, foreign, development, defence and economic policy. The NSC has introduced, from April 20145, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and associated governance reforms. Together these looking systematically at deployed overseas dealing with the risk of instability. links NSC strategic decision making with programmes on the ground.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that National Security Council country strategies are informed by critical analysis and by in-country stakeholders.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review set out the long term direction to meet the strategic objectives of ensuring domestic security and resilience, and shaping a stable world. The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, comprising members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, scrutinises the National Security Strategy and the structures for government decision-making on national security, particularly the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser.

The NSC brings together departments, including DFID, to take collective decisions, balancing the mutually–reinforcing elements of national security including domestic, foreign, development, defence and economic policy. The NSC has introduced, from April 20145, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and associated governance reforms. Together these looking systematically at deployed overseas dealing with the risk of instability. links NSC strategic decision making with programmes on the ground.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that objectives within National Security Council country strategies are consistent and focussed on the long term.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review set out the long term direction to meet the strategic objectives of ensuring domestic security and resilience, and shaping a stable world. The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, comprising members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, scrutinises the National Security Strategy and the structures for government decision-making on national security, particularly the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser.

The NSC brings together departments, including DFID, to take collective decisions, balancing the mutually–reinforcing elements of national security including domestic, foreign, development, defence and economic policy. The NSC has introduced, from April 20145, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and associated governance reforms. Together these looking systematically at deployed overseas dealing with the risk of instability. links NSC strategic decision making with programmes on the ground.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the National Security Council define national security when reviewing country strategies.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review set out the long term direction to meet the strategic objectives of ensuring domestic security and resilience, and shaping a stable world. The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, comprising members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, scrutinises the National Security Strategy and the structures for government decision-making on national security, particularly the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser.

The NSC brings together departments, including DFID, to take collective decisions, balancing the mutually–reinforcing elements of national security including domestic, foreign, development, defence and economic policy. The NSC has introduced, from April 20145, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and associated governance reforms. Together these looking systematically at deployed overseas dealing with the risk of instability. links NSC strategic decision making with programmes on the ground.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
28th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the National Security Council country objectives are consistent with those of the Department for International Development; and what steps they will take to resolve any differences.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review set out the long term direction to meet the strategic objectives of ensuring domestic security and resilience, and shaping a stable world. The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, comprising members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, scrutinises the National Security Strategy and the structures for government decision-making on national security, particularly the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Adviser.

The NSC brings together departments, including DFID, to take collective decisions, balancing the mutually–reinforcing elements of national security including domestic, foreign, development, defence and economic policy. The NSC has introduced, from April 20145, the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund and associated governance reforms. Together these looking systematically at deployed overseas dealing with the risk of instability. links NSC strategic decision making with programmes on the ground.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what priority they will give to specific economic green development in West Cumbria in their post-COVID-19 reconstruction plans.

We are seizing the initiative to build back better, greener, and faster from COVID-19. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution is part of the government’s mission to level up across the country, mobilising £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK including in West Cumbria, helping recovery from the pandemic and spurring over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

We have previously funded the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to produce the Cumbria Local Energy Plan helping businesses develop low carbon and renewable energy projects which will contribute to sustainable economic growth. As part of a restructuring of the North West Energy Hub, the Cumbria LEP will gain a dedicated Energy Officer to assist in the delivery of the Cumbria Local Energy Plan.

Over the coming months, we will bring forward further bold proposals to deliver on our ambitious climate commitments and further cement a green recovery from Covid-19, including a Net Zero Strategy, to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to develop opportunities for geothermal energy generation to help address climate change.

Opportunities for geothermal electricity generation in the UK are limited and only likely to be economically feasible in certain locations, such as the far South West of England. The Government is supporting the development of the United Downs Deep Geothermal Project in Cornwall.

The most promising use of geothermal energy in the UK is for low temperature applications such as district heating schemes. BEIS has been providing support to the deployment of district heat networks from geothermal through the Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) and the Heat Networks Investment Project (HNIP). We also announced a further £270m from 2022 to 2025 in the Green Heat Network Fund at the March budget and we will be consulting on eligibility criteria in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the School of Advanced Study’s proposals to close the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute of Latin American Studies (1) for the Commonwealth community, and (2) for the UK’s post-Brexit relations with Latin America; what representations they are making to the School of Advanced Study about the implications of these proposals; and what plans they have, if any, to provide support to help maintain these institutes.

Universities are independent, autonomous organisations and are therefore responsible for their decisions relating to research priorities and which activities to support. We would expect universities to regularly review and develop their strategic research priorities, and that this may result in some internal restructuring to better support these priorities.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give immediate priority to the development of hydrogen as a potential source of energy.

The Government is committed to exploring the development of hydrogen as a strategic decarbonised energy carrier. In line with this we are already investing up to £121m in hydrogen innovation across the value chain and are developing new policy to help bring forward the technologies and supply chain we will need to grow the UK hydrogen economy. This includes business models to support the deployment of, and investment in, low carbon hydrogen production and a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to stimulate capital investment. We will be engaging with industry on both schemes throughout the year.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide legal enforcement for the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment “to ensure high standards of workers’ rights, environmental protection and consumer rights” post-Brexit; and whether any such steps will include upholding and enhancing all such existing rights and protections.

In the Queen’s Speech the Government announced a new Employment Rights Bill which will include enhancing workers’ rights, encouraging flexible working, introducing an entitlement to leave for unpaid carers, and ensuring workers keep their hard earned tips.

The Government will also shortly be introducing the Environment Bill – which will strengthen environmental protections. The Bill will enshrine environmental principles in law. The Bill will also include measures to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats. It will create legally-binding environmental improvement targets and establish a new independent Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). This will collectively ensure that environmental ambition is at the heart of Government once we leave the EU.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they are taking to establish a state system of accountancy for safeguarded nuclear materials which will match that applied by Euratom.

The Government is working to implement a new domestic UK nuclear safeguards regime when Euratom arrangements no longer apply to the UK. The new regime will be regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and will be equivalent in effectiveness and coverage to that currently provided by Euratom.

Parliament has passed the Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018 which provides the legal framework for setting up a domestic nuclear safeguards regime; and Government is consulting on draft Nuclear Safeguards Regulations, which set out the proposed detail of the regime.

The ONR will run the UK's State System of Accountancy and Control (SSAC) of Nuclear Material as part of the new domestic regime. The ONR is working to ensure it can have in place by 29 March 2019 the IT systems and safeguards inspectors needed to deliver safeguards arrangements that meet international standards and to build, over time, to coverage and effectiveness equivalent to Euratom.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that UK nuclear regulators retain at least associate status at European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group meetings in order to maintain alignment with EU nuclear regulatory developments and to continue to influence decisions that may affect the UK; and if so, how.

Maintaining nuclear safety is and always will be a top priority for this Department. The UK has a well-established domestic civil nuclear safety regime which will continue to operate as now following the UK’s departure from the Euratom community.

Irrespective of our future relationship with Euratom, the UK will continue to be a committed and constructive member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and will continue to follow international standards on nuclear safety.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they are making to ensure that nuclear issues specifically relevant to the UK's relationship with the Republic of Ireland are reviewed before the UK withdrawal from Euratom is completed.

The Department regularly discusses matters of mutual interest in the nuclear field with government counterparts in the Republic of Ireland. The Department, in partnership with the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, holds a biannual Contact Group on Radiological Matters with Irish government officials and environmental regulators. This Contact Group provides an opportunity to exchange information and to discuss approaches on a wide range of nuclear issues, including Euratom Exit. This is in addition to the regular contact between Ministers in my Department and the Government of Ireland on a range of matters including energy.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to expedite an increase in the number of people in the Office for Nuclear Regulation and to fulfil the agreements recently reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency during and following withdrawal by the UK from Euratom.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation is responsible for its own recruitment.

The ONR currently has more safeguards inspectors than its own instructed minimum and is continuing to recruit to ensure the UK can deliver a domestic safeguards regime that honours our international obligation.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they are taking to ensure that during and after the withdrawal of the UK from Euratom there will be seamless access to nuclear technology, decommissioning skills, and intellectual property as currently provided by membership of Euratom.

The UK and EU have agreed in principle the terms of an implementation period running from 30 March 2019 until 31 December 2020. As outlined in the draft Withdrawal Agreement published on 19 March, such a period will include the provisions of the Euratom Treaty.

Alongside this, the Government has stated in its White Paper on the UK’s Future Relationship with Euratom (Cm 9593) that the UK will be seeking a close association with Euratom which will come into force when Euratom arrangements no longer apply.

The Government has also published a technical notice on civil nuclear regulation (DEP2018-0836). This notice explains to the civil nuclear industry and stakeholders how the sector will be affected in the UK in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU and Euratom in March 2019 with no agreement in place.

The Nuclear Sector Deal announced on 28 June 2018 will also promote new opportunities in the sector including a focus on innovation to develop the technology and skills needed to maintain the UK’s position as one of the world’s leading nuclear nations.

5th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure an agreement to replace Euratom in order to guarantee the seamless continuation of research and development work with the remaining EU member states and other relevant countries.

The UK’s objective is to seek association to the Euratom Research and Training Programme as part of an ambitious Science and Innovation Accord with the EU. This would ensure collaboration with the EU across a range of nuclear R&D activities can continue uninterrupted.

The UK is also on track to have bilateral Nuclear Cooperation Agreements in place with key partners ahead of March 2019. This will facilitate continued, unimpeded civil nuclear trade and nuclear research cooperation with these countries.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to ensure a seamless continuity of legislation and regulatory standards, and the enforcement of industry’s compliance with them, throughout and following the UK’s withdrawal from Euratom.

Nuclear safety and security in the UK are currently regulated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and these arrangements will continue.

When Euratom safeguards arrangements no longer apply to the UK, the ONR will regulate safeguards in the UK. The ONR is confident that they will have in place the IT system and safeguards inspectors needed to ensure the UK continues to meet its international obligations when Euratom arrangements no longer apply.

The Government has made significant progress in our preparations to leave Euratom, to ensure a domestic nuclear safeguards regime can be in place from day one of exit, including passing the Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018 and proposing draft Nuclear Safeguards Regulations.

As outlined in the White Paper published on 12 July, the UK has proposed that we will be seeking a close association with Euratom, including regulatory cooperation on nuclear safeguards and technical cooperation on nuclear safety. We are well advanced in our work to address the issues that may affect the civil nuclear sector if an agreement is not reached with the EU.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures, if any, they are introducing prior to the UK's withdrawal from Euratom to ensure that each of the basic standards applied to the nuclear industries are checked and amended as necessary to ensure that each remains as valid and effective as those required by Euratom.

Nuclear safety in the UK is currently regulated by the UK’s independent regulator the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and this will not change. We remain absolutely committed to maintaining high standards of radiation protection for workers, the public and the environment.

As of February 2018, the UK has transposed the majority of Euratom’s 2013 Basic Safety Standards Directive (2013/59/Euratom) into UK legislation, which sets updated standards for radiation protection. We are committed to completing the transposition of the remaining parts as soon as possible to ensure that the UK continues to be recognised internationally as a leader in radiological safety.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements, if any, they have made for regular consultation with the Nuclear Institute during the process of withdrawal from Euratom.

The Government regularly engages with stakeholders in the civil nuclear sector on Euratom Exit. The Nuclear Institute has participated in Euratom Industry Fora for interested stakeholders, hosted by Richard Harrington, the Minister of State for Business and Industry. Government also frequently communicates progress towards Euratom exit with a wider range of stakeholders, including the Nuclear Institute.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their timetable for replacing each of the provisions of the Euratom Treaty with equivalent alternative arrangements.

We are putting in place appropriate measures to ensure uninterrupted cooperation and trade in the civil nuclear sector when Euratom arrangements no longer apply to the UK, whether at the end of March 2019 or at the end of an implementation period. These arrangements include new safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency, nuclear cooperation agreements with key trading partners and a domestic nuclear safeguards regime. We will present the new international agreements relating to Euratom exit to Parliament for ratification in the Autumn.

The Government has published quarterly updates to Parliament on progress towards the UK’s exit from the Euratom Treaty in March 2018 and June 2018. These reports contain further information on the arrangements being put in place. The next such quarterly update will be published in October.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to consider a future relationship with Euratom similar to Switzerland's; and if not, why not.

The Government has made clear that it is seeking a close association with Euratom. In the White Paper on our Future Relationship with the European Union (Cm 9593), the Government set out its vision for a relationship with Euratom that is broader and more comprehensive than any existing precedent. The Government proposed that this close association should be based on a comprehensive Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the UK and Euratom. This would help ensure the UK’s standing as a leading and responsible civil nuclear state is maintained, and would be mutually beneficial for the UK and the Euratom Community.

24th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which existing nuclear waste facilities are foolproof against (1) all possible types of security threat from land, sea and air, and (2) the consequences of climate change.

All nuclear sites, including nuclear waste facilities, are required to develop and maintain a site security plan in order to be licensed to operate by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. These site security plans are required to demonstrate compliance against the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003, which includes having to plan for managing all types of potential security threats. Implementation of the plans is also overseen by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Flooding and climate change considerations are a major element of the Safety Case that must be developed and maintained for every nuclear facility as part of the licence conditions against which sites must operate. These Safety Cases are also assessed and approved by the by the Office for Nuclear Regulation. In addition, operators of nuclear waste disposal facilities must produce Environmental Safety Cases which demonstrate the safety of disposals of nuclear waste, now and in the future, managed within assessed risk scenarios consistent with regulatory guidance. These risk scenarios include the potential consequences of climate change. It is the Environmental Safety Case that determines if disposals may continue or not and what limitations or conditions may be required to minimise any impact to the environment.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to ensure that (1) National Parks, (2) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and (3) other such protected areas, are excluded as potential sites for the disposal of nuclear waste; and if so, how.

A Geological Disposal Facility will provide a permanent and safe solution for disposing of the UK’s inventory of higher activity radioactive waste. The Government recently consulted on a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for geological disposal infrastructure. This draft National Policy Statement follows the approach of the National Planning Policy Framework and all other non-site specific National Policy Statements, by not excluding all development in designated areas such as National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and other such protected areas. Rather, the proposed draft NPS sets out that development for a Geological Disposal Facility should only be consented in nationally designated areas in exceptional circumstances and where it would be in the public interest to do so. Even if such development were consented, the developer would be required to take a number of measures to protect and where possible improve the environment. Existing UK legislation already provides a high degree of protection for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other such protected areas; the proposed draft National Policy Statement reinforces this. The Government is currently analysing responses to the consultation on the draft National Policy Statement and will publish a response in due course.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to ensure that all local authorities that would be adversely affected by the construction or operation of a nuclear waste facility, including a facility for radioactive gases, are fully involved in any consent process; and whether local authorities will have powers of veto over such construction in their areas.

The Government recently consulted on draft policy proposals for delivering a consent-based process for identifying a suitable location to site a Geological Disposal Facility, which will provide a permanent and safe solution for the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. The proposals recognise that the relevant principal local authorities, including county councils, unitary authorities and district councils will have an integral role in this process through their role on ‘Community Partnerships’ which will be developed in all areas that wish to put themselves forward as potential sites for developing such a facility. The partnerships are proposed to be used to share information, raise awareness and make decisions on behalf of their local area. The proposals set out that as members of the Community Partnership, relevant principal local authorities will have the ability to invoke a right of withdrawal from the engagement process. Also, before making any final decision on where to locate the facility, it is proposed that there will need to have been a test of public support that demonstrates community support for the development at a particular site. A test of public support cannot be designed or enacted without the support of the relevant principal local authorities. The Government is currently analysing responses to the consultation on the draft proposals for delivering a consent based process and will publish a response in due course.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their plans for (1) Ennerdale, and (2) the Ennerdale granite, in their future nuclear waste disposal policy.

The Government has no plans for Ennerdale and the Ennerdale granite in its proposals for developing a Geological Disposal Facility to provide a permanent and safe solution for the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. The Government recently consulted on draft policy proposals for delivering a consent-based process for identifying a suitable location to site such a facility. The Government is currently analysing responses to the consultation and will publish a response in due course. No sites have been identified and it is proposed that any interested communities will be able to begin formal discussions with the Government following the publication of the response to the consultation and the launch of the siting process.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the soundness of the fabric and installations currently containing nuclear waste in (1) the short-term, (2) the mid-term, and (3) the long-term; and, in the light of that assessment, what assessment they have made of the urgency of constructing new facilities.

The safety and integrity of installations currently containing nuclear waste are kept under constant review by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, as the regulatory body responsible for the safety of nuclear installations in the UK. In 2009, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority carried out a national review of nuclear waste stores it is responsible for on behalf of the Government. This work has informed the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s current strategy for the safe and secure management of radioactive waste installations, which was last updated in 2016 and includes an ongoing programme of radioactive waste retrieval, treatment and storage.

Modern radioactive waste stores are designed to store waste for at least 100 years and operated to provide an environment necessary to ensure the longevity of the waste packaging. Packages for radioactive waste in the UK need to meet the appropriate regulatory standards and expectations to ensure their suitability for long-term storage and compatibility with the requirements for permanent disposal in the future.

18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will make public their findings of the relative geological suitability of all parts of the UK, including potential offshore sites, for the disposal of nuclear waste.

Ahead of the launch of a siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility, the Government will publish the findings from a National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise that brings together existing information about England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s geology relevant to the long term safety of a geological disposal facility. These findings will be presented in the format of a series of brief narratives describing the key characteristics of the geological environment and their relevance to safety for siting a Geological Disposal Facility for the whole of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, subdivided in to 13 regions and out to 20 kilometres from the shore. The narratives will be illustrated with maps, where appropriate. For some attributes, information will be presented at a national level only, because data are very sparse or vary little across all regions, and so there will also be a short national output presenting this information, which is applicable to all regions. The findings will be made available in an accessible form, providing authoritative information that can be used in early discussions with communities about their geological potential to host a disposal facility.

18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to evaluate the suitability of offshore sites at (1) 5km, (2) 20km, and (3) other distances from the shoreline for the disposal of nuclear waste.

The Government has undertaken generic design work on the construction requirements for a Geological Disposal Facility, which demonstrate that the depth of the underground facilities are expected to be between 200m and 1000m. This work demonstrates that while the surface structures and access points of a Geological Disposal Facility will be located on land, the design could allow the underground facilities to extend offshore if accessed from onshore surface sites. Therefore the National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise will bring together existing information about England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s geology relevant to the long term safety of a geological disposal facility examines geological attributes out to 20 kilometres from the shore which is the extent of UK territorial waters.

18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to assess (1) which areas of the UK are most geologically suitable for the disposal of nuclear waste, and (2) which areas are less geologically suitable; and what priority they will give to the outcome of that process in consulting local communities prior to designating a site.

Ahead of the launch of a siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility, the Government will publish the findings from a National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise that brings together existing information about England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s geology relevant to the long term safety of a geological disposal facility. The findings from this exercise will not assess areas as either ‘suitable’ or ‘unsuitable’, but will provide an initial indication of the likely geological suitability of an area where the local community is interested in participating in the consent-based siting process for the disposal facility. There are a large range of potentially suitable geological settings in the UK, and the findings will inform early discussions with communities and provide the basis of subsequent detailed, site-specific geological investigations, which will be necessary to assess the degree to which a location is suitable or unsuitable.

18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking as part of their consultation on geological disposal infrastructure for nuclear waste to screen out those areas of the UK that are geologically unsuitable for the disposal of nuclear waste.

Ahead of the launch of a siting process for a Geological Disposal Facility, the Government will publish the findings from a National Geological Screening (NGS) exercise that brings together existing information about England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s geology relevant to the long term safety of a geological disposal facility. The findings from this exercise will not assess areas as either ‘suitable’ or ‘unsuitable’, but will provide an initial indication of the likely geological suitability of an area where the local community is interested in participating in the consent-based siting process for the disposal facility. There are a large range of potentially suitable geological settings in the UK, and the findings will inform early discussions with communities and provide the basis of subsequent detailed, site-specific geological investigations, which will be necessary to determine, whether a location is suitable or unsuitable.

7th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they still intend to take steps to ensure that any site proposed by them for a national nuclear waste repository will be dependent on the approval and consent of all the relevant local, county and regional authorities.

The Government is committed to a consent based approach for siting a geological disposal facility, which will involve working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process. In the 2014 Geological Disposal White Paper Government recognised that local representative bodies – including all levels of local government – will need to have a voice in this process.

In addition, a Geological Disposal Facility and associated boreholes have been brought within the definition of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects under the Planning Act 2008. The development consent process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects places specific requirements on the developer to consult local communities, local authorities, statutory bodies, and other interested parties before any application for development consent is made.

7th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made by the national geological screening process to establish, in terms of the long-term geology and safety, what sites within the UK will be most appropriate for the siting of a national nuclear waste repository; and whether the screening includes possible maritime sites.

Radioactive Waste Management, the delivery body for a geological disposal facility, are gathering information about the type of rock, rock structure, groundwater, natural processes and resources for regions across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that will be relevant to a geological disposal safety case. This information will be made publicly available, and will help communities better understand their potential suitability to host a geological disposal facility. It will not determine if any particular location, region or area can definitively host one. That can only be done through extensive local investigations. No sites have been selected or are under consideration. The Government is committed to a consent based approach for siting a geological disposal facility, which will involve working with communities that are willing to participate in the siting process.

The design of a geological disposal facility could allow the underground facilities to extend offshore if accessed from onshore surface facilities. Therefore screening will consider the geological environment up to 20km offshore in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

6th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the BBC Panorama programme broadcast on 5 September concerning safety and its management at Sellafield; whether they plan to take any remedial action in the light of that programme; and if so, what.

The Government disagrees with Panorama’s presentation of safety at Sellafield. The site is a legacy of the UK’s early nuclear programmes. The independent Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has confirmed that it remains safe. The Government’s objective is to decommission its facilities safely, cost-effectively and as quickly as possible. This is an enormously complex task, but we are making significant progress and we expect that to continue.

Our nuclear industry is one of the most highly regulated in the world and the ONR inspects all civil nuclear sites on a regular basis to ensure high levels of safety. The ONR have stated that hazard and risk reduction at Sellafield remains their number one priority, with over 50 highly qualified and experienced inspectors working to ensure the site operates as safely and securely as possible.

12th Dec 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding in the report by YMCA Cut Loose, published on 6 December, that local authorities have cut more than £781 million from youth services since 2010; and what steps they are taking to address this.

Local authorities are responsible for allocating public funding to youth services in their area. We believe they are best placed to know what is required in their communities.

Government recognises the transformational impact that youth services can have for young people. Since 2014/15 the Office for Civil Society, which is now in DCMS, has spent more than £667 million on youth programmes.

Government has also committed to review the guidance which sets out the statutory duty placed on local authorities to provide appropriate local youth services to improve young people’s wellbeing.

Lord Ashton of Hyde
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
23rd May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy towards the future of the European Youth Orchestra, and the role of the EU in its future.

Last week the commission announced the continuation of the orchestra for a further year, until the end of 2016. British donors and foundations are prominent among its funders, reflecting the generosity of British philanthropy in the arts.

12th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the contribution to agriculture in the UK (a) regionally, and (b) nationally, by Newton Rigg College in Cumbria, and (2) the potential future contribution of the College to agriculture in the UK; and what steps they plan to take to ensure longevity for the College and its resources.

In 2020, the Further Education Commissioner undertook a local provision needs analysis of Newton Rigg Campus, located near Penrith, at the request of the governing body of Askham Bryan College. Its purpose was to establish whether there is a need for further education provision in the general location of the current campus. The analysis provided the governing body with options to consider regarding the future of provision at the campus. The analysis considered travel to learn data and mapping for young people and adult students, including enrolment density by ward and travel to learn time and pattern, based on public transport and by actual travel time by car. Most students studying agricultural provision at Newton Rigg at the time of the analysis tended to live closer to the campus and were mainly from Cumbria and surrounding counties.

Further Education Colleges in England are independent of government and the decision to close Newton Rigg Campus in July 2021 and subsequently dispose of the site has been made by the governing body of Askham Bryan College.

From September 2021, Kendal College have confirmed they will offer agricultural and other land-based provision from level 1 to level 3, which will be delivered in the Penrith area. In addition, a partnership between Myerscough College and Ullswater Community College will provide further education for young people in animal management and agriculture in the local area surrounding Newton Rigg.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Music Education, the Incorporated Society of Musicians and the University of Sussex Music Education: State of the Nation, published in January 2019; and what steps they have taken to improve music education in schools.

The government agrees with the report’s stated ambition that all pupils should receive a high-quality music education.

That is why music remains compulsory in the National Curriculum from ages 5 to 14. Music is also stated as one of the subjects that schools should continue to teach as part of a broad and ambitious curriculum in the guidance on the full opening of schools earlier this autumn. The guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

To support teachers in providing high-quality lessons, the department has worked with an expert panel to develop a non-statutory model music curriculum for Key Stages 1 to 3. This expands on the National Curriculum programme of study and acts as a benchmark for all schools. The model music curriculum will be published shortly.

The department has also invested nearly £500 million of central programme funding between 2016 and 2020 on a diverse portfolio of music and arts education programmes. This includes £300 million for Music Education Hubs that provide specialist music education services to around 90% of state-funded schools. It also includes almost £120 million for the Music and Dance Scheme, which currently supports over 2,300 exceptionally talented children and young people to attend specialist music and dance schools and training centres each year. More information about this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multi-million-pound-culture-boost-for-children-in-schools.

In January 2020, the department announced a further £80 million investment in Music Education Hubs for the 2021-22 financial year to ensure that all children, whatever their background, have access to a high-quality music education.

The government remains committed to continued support for music education, and following the one-year Spending Review settlement, our partner organisations will be updated soon on funding for the 2021-22 financial year.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that child victims of criminal exploitation are not excluded from school.

It is critical for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, for pupils and teaching staff, and it is important that they remain as such.

There is no right number of exclusions, but we are clear that permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort. Exclusion from school should not mean exclusion from good quality education or from support needed to reduce risk and vulnerability.

We are taking forward an ambitious programme of work on school behaviour and are working to rapidly improve the availability of good alternative provision, so that permanently excluded children and children at risk of exclusion receive high-quality education and support suited to their individual needs. We are also working with Ofsted to clamp down on off-rolling, which is never acceptable.

We will also revise guidance on exclusions to make it clearer and more consistent, so that head teachers have the information they need to use exclusion properly and proportionately. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders including Just for Kids Law when revising guidance.

Schools must have due regard to the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance, when carrying out their duties, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This guidance already provides information for all staff as to what abuse, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and peer-on-peer abuse look like, indicators to be aware of, what to do and who to report to, if they have a concern about a child.

On 1 September 2020, a revised version of KCSIE was published. This includes more detail regarding child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation in part one, which all staff should read. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

It is right that, where it comes to individual cases, local professionals are best placed to decide on the measures to support victims and child perpetrators.

In addition, the department provided £7 million to the See, Hear, Respond service led by Barnardo’s which will deliver, among other things, street-based youth work to identify and support children at risk of harm outside of the home, including criminal exploitation. Additionally, the £13 million Trusted Relationships Fund (2018-22) funds 11 different local authorities across England delivering innovative approaches to supporting children and young people, aged 10-17 years, at risk of child sexual exploitation or abuse, criminal exploitation and peer-on-peer abuse.

The department is also funding a £2 million Tackling Child Exploitation support programme to help safeguarding partners in local areas develop an effective response to extra-familial harms such as child sexual and child criminal exploitation.

The Home Office has invested £70 million into Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to help tackle serious violence in the 18 worst affected areas. VRUs are non-statutory partnerships which offer leadership and strategic coordination of the local response to serious violence by bringing together police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them.

This government is also investing £20 million this year to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and having a devastating impact on our communities. This includes investment to significantly uplift the law enforcement response to county lines, develop several wider national capabilities, and increase specialist support for young people and their families who are affected by county lines exploitation.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Just for Kids Law, Excluded, exploited, forgotten: Childhood criminal exploitation and school exclusions, published on 26 August; and what plans they have to include new provisions to protect children vulnerable to exploitation in their forthcoming guidance on exclusions.

It is critical for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, for pupils and teaching staff, and it is important that they remain as such.

There is no right number of exclusions, but we are clear that permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort. Exclusion from school should not mean exclusion from good quality education or from support needed to reduce risk and vulnerability.

We are taking forward an ambitious programme of work on school behaviour and are working to rapidly improve the availability of good alternative provision, so that permanently excluded children and children at risk of exclusion receive high-quality education and support suited to their individual needs. We are also working with Ofsted to clamp down on off-rolling, which is never acceptable.

We will also revise guidance on exclusions to make it clearer and more consistent, so that head teachers have the information they need to use exclusion properly and proportionately. We will continue to engage with key stakeholders including Just for Kids Law when revising guidance.

Schools must have due regard to the Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) statutory guidance, when carrying out their duties, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This guidance already provides information for all staff as to what abuse, sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation and peer-on-peer abuse look like, indicators to be aware of, what to do and who to report to, if they have a concern about a child.

On 1 September 2020, a revised version of KCSIE was published. This includes more detail regarding child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation in part one, which all staff should read. The guidance is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

It is right that, where it comes to individual cases, local professionals are best placed to decide on the measures to support victims and child perpetrators.

In addition, the department provided £7 million to the See, Hear, Respond service led by Barnardo’s which will deliver, among other things, street-based youth work to identify and support children at risk of harm outside of the home, including criminal exploitation. Additionally, the £13 million Trusted Relationships Fund (2018-22) funds 11 different local authorities across England delivering innovative approaches to supporting children and young people, aged 10-17 years, at risk of child sexual exploitation or abuse, criminal exploitation and peer-on-peer abuse.

The department is also funding a £2 million Tackling Child Exploitation support programme to help safeguarding partners in local areas develop an effective response to extra-familial harms such as child sexual and child criminal exploitation.

The Home Office has invested £70 million into Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) to help tackle serious violence in the 18 worst affected areas. VRUs are non-statutory partnerships which offer leadership and strategic coordination of the local response to serious violence by bringing together police, local government, health and education professionals, community leaders and other key partners to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them.

This government is also investing £20 million this year to crack down on the county lines gangs who are exploiting our children and having a devastating impact on our communities. This includes investment to significantly uplift the law enforcement response to county lines, develop several wider national capabilities, and increase specialist support for young people and their families who are affected by county lines exploitation.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to discuss with the YMCA the findings of its report Back on Track: Supporting young people out of lockdown, published in August; and what action they are proposing as a result of any such discussions.

Every child and young person in the country has experienced unprecedented disruption to their lives as a result of COVID-19. Supporting young people during this time is our upmost priority.

My noble Friend, the Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, has received the report with thanks and noted its findings. Officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have contacted the YMCA and plan to meet with them to discuss the results in more detail.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pupils attending illegal, unregistered schools.

Ofsted continues to investigate potential illegal schools including consideration of new intelligence. Where appropriate, Ofsted have liaised with local authorities and other statutory bodies to consider whether there is appropriate action that should be taken, for example, to close settings where people are gathering illegally during the COVID-19 outbreak.

13th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that comprehensive support is available in England to enable all refugees to learn English; and when they plan to match the provisions available in (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, and (3) Northern Ireland.

The government recognises that learning English is essential in enabling refugees to rebuild their lives. We are working across government to develop a new strategy for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) in 2019, which will include addressing the needs of refugees.

The department funds ESOL through the Adult Education Budget (AEB), which is allocated to providers on an annual basis. Colleges and adult learning providers have the freedom and flexibility to determine how they use their AEB allocation to meet the needs of their communities. This includes planning, with local partners, the ESOL courses that they will deliver locally.

The Home Office and Department for Education have provided £10 million to enable refugees resettled through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme to access additional classes.

12th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance and training they provide to teachers and educational institutions about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller culture; and how they ensure full understanding amongst teachers of that culture.

Our education reforms, including those aimed at improving teaching, encouraging good attendance and behaviour, and strengthening the curriculum and examination system, are designed to deliver opportunity and high standards for all pupils, whatever their background. Teachers, schools and local authorities also have access to information and best practice‎ in supporting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils, as well as advice from community representative organisations.

The government does not prescribe the content of initial teacher training (ITT) courses. It is for individual ITT providers to determine the content, structure and proportion of courses. However, courses must be designed so that teacher trainees can demonstrate that they meet all of the Teachers' Standards at the appropriate level. The Standards set out the key elements of effective teaching and the minimum expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers. These include the requirements that they have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. In order to be awarded Qualified Teacher Status, trainees must satisfy the Standards.

The Teachers’ Standards can be found here and attached: www.gov.uk/government/publications/teachers-standards.

The ‘Framework of Core Content for ITT (2016)’ states, “Providers should ensure that trainees are equipped to identify the needs of all pupils, avoiding labelling by group, and make provision for them.” This framework can be found here and attached: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/initial-teacher-training-government-response-to-carter-review.

For training to be effective, it must be tailored to the needs of the teacher. That is why decisions relating to continuous professional development (CPD) rightly rest with schools, headteachers, and teachers themselves. To support schools, in 2016, the department published the ‘Standard for Teachers’ Professional Development’ and we have re-convened the CPD Expert Group to develop recommendations that ensure that all teachers have access to high-quality, meaningful support and CPD.

12th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place to safeguard against bullying and harassment of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children in schools and to prevent off-loading of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children when any such bullying and harassment occurs.

The government has sent a clear message to schools that bullying is unacceptable and should never be tolerated. All schools are legally required to have a behaviour policy with measures to prevent all forms of bullying. The public sector Equality Duty means that schools must have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, and victimisation. Schools must also have regard to the need to foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic, including race, and people who do not share it. Policies should reflect this where appropriate. We have issued guidance to schools about how to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy.

The department is providing over £2.8 million of funding between September 2016 and March 2020 to 4 anti-bullying organisations to support schools tackle bullying. This includes the Anne Frank Trust, who have developed the Free to Be debate programme, encouraging pupils to think about the importance of tackling prejudice, discrimination, and bullying.

The department’s preventing and tackling bullying guidance is clear that schools should do all they can to ensure bullied pupils continue to attend school. Removing bullied pupils from school, even for a short time, disrupts their education, and fails to address the causes of the problem.

In 2017, the department wrote to all secondary schools, reminding them of the rules surrounding exclusion. All schools must notify the local authority when a pupil’s name is to be deleted from the admission register. The law is clear that a pupil’s name can only be deleted from the admission register on the grounds prescribed in regulation 8 of the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006, as amended.

Ofsted already considers records of pupils taken off roll and has also recently consulted on proposals that will see a strengthened focus on this issue. From September 2019, where Ofsted inspectors find off-rolling, this will always be addressed in the inspection report, and where appropriate will lead to a school’s leadership being judged inadequate.

11th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to establish an independent inquiry into variation in access to children's services across England and the consequent impact on outcomes for vulnerable children; and if so, when.

Under the Children Act 1989, local councils have responsibility to provide services for the purposes of safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. It is important that every local council has clear criteria for taking action and providing help across the full continuum of need. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (and their replacements under new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements) should agree with the local council and their partners what services are to be commissioned and delivered so that the right help is given to children at the right time.

The government is supporting best practice, for example, through the dissemination of learning from the £200 million Social Care Innovation Fund, through which we have invested £5 million specifically to test targeted support to improve outcomes for children in need. In future, the new What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care will become the first port of call for evidence and latest research on the impact of government programmes, helping to inform local service design.

The government does not have plans to establish its own independent inquiry into children’s social care but we are engaging with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s newly announced inquiry into thresholds for children’s social care, a follow up to their ‘No Good Options’ report of March 2017. We will consider the inquiry’s findings in due course.

11th Jan 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Education has undertaken to provide personal data of pupils, including their names, addresses, recent addresses, school addresses and attendance records, to the Home Office specifically for immigration enforcement purposes; and, what steps are they taking to ensure that the collection and transfer of such data do not encourage stigmatisation or racial profiling.

The data in the National Pupil Database helps give us a clear picture of how the school system is working. We take privacy extremely seriously and access to sensitive data is strictly controlled. Allowing vetted researchers and academics access to excerpts of this data under strictly controlled conditions, can help the development and improvement of our education system for the benefit of all.

As has always been the case, where the police or Home Office have clear evidence that a child may be at risk or there is evidence of criminal activity, including illegal immigration, limited data including a pupil’s address and school details may be requested from the National Pupil Database. It is right that we share this data if it helps to keep a child safe from harm or to prevent a crime. This does not include nationality and country of birth information recently introduced into school census, which is not placed into the National Pupil Database.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DfE and the Home Office sets out how this process works and the data which is shared. A copy of the MoU between the Home Office and the DfE, which covers the sharing of limited information between those parties, is available in the house library.

11th Jan 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that schools are places where children feel free and safe to learn and grow; and how they intend to ensure that schools are not subject to overt or indirect pressure to play an active role in the operation and policing of immigration policies.

All schools are bound by requirements of the Equalities Act 2010. The Act makes it unlawful for the responsible body of a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a pupil or potential pupil:

  • in relation to admissions,
  • in the way it provides education for pupils,
  • in the way it provides pupils access to any benefit, facility or service, or
  • by excluding a pupil or subjecting them to any other detriment.

Further information on schools’ responsibilities under the Equalities Act is attached.

The school an individual child attends will hold information about that child which will be used by the school to help ensure the child receives the best possible education. Every term the school is required, by law, to send some of this data to the Department for Education (DfE) via the school census. This process has been in place for more than 10 years and the information is used to provide a clear picture of how the school system is working, at local and national level. It helps us to make sure we are allocating funds where they are needed and that no groups of children are missing out on the education they deserve.

This year we also asked schools for additional information on pupil nationality and country of birth as well as data on proficiency in English. The return of nationality and country of birth data is completely optional and parents are under no obligation to provide it if they don’t want to. These new data items on nationality, country of birth, and English proficiency will not be passed to the Home Office, or anyone else. They are solely for the Department for Education to use for research.

Separately, where the police or Home Office have clear evidence that a child may be at risk or there is evidence of criminal activity, including illegal immigration, limited data including a pupil’s address and school details may be requested from the Department for Education. It is right that we share this data if it helps to keep a child safe from harm or to prevent a crime. This does not include nationality and country of birth information recently introduced into school census. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DfE and the Home Office, which is available in the house library, sets out how this process works and the data which is shared.

23rd May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what comparative analysis they have conducted of the number of children in privately operated children's homes and those in other homes who become entangled in the criminal justice system, and what action they are taking as a result.

As at 31 March 2015, there were 4,390 looked after children in privately operated children’s home provision[1] of which 60 were looked after under a youth justice legal status[2]. A further 2,180 children were looked after in children’s homes not run by private sector providers (e.g. local authority or voluntary sector provision) of which 20 were looked after under a youth justice legal status.

The Government has asked Sir Martin Narey to undertake an independent review of children’s homes. As part of his review, Sir Martin will consider how to reduce any inappropriate criminalisation of children in children’s homes.

[1] Includes children in secure, regulated and unregulated children’s homes.

[2] Includes children remanded to local authority accommodation or to youth detention accommodation; children placed in local authority accommodation under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act; and those sentenced to a Youth Rehabilitation Order (Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, as amended by Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, with residence or intensive fostering requirement).

23rd May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultations they have had with (1) the Howard League for Penal Reform, (2) The Children's Society, (3) Barnardo's, (4) the NSPCC, (5) other children's charities, and (6) the police, about the number of children in care who become entangled in the criminal justice system, and what action they are taking to reduce that number.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that children in care avoid criminality. As of 31 March 2015, there were 69,540 looked after children. Of the 31,820 10-17 year olds who had been in care for a year or more, 5% had been convicted of an offence or were subject to a final warning or reprimand (Department for Education Statistical First Release - 34/2015).

To improve residential care, Sir Martin Narey has been asked to undertake an independent review of children’s homes. As part of this, Sir Martin will consider how to reduce any inappropriate criminalisation of children in children’s homes. As part of his review of the youth justice system, Charlie Taylor has consulted a wide range of organisations, including about children in care who offend. He will report this summer with recommendations on how to improve the treatment of young people in the youth justice system. The National Offender Management Service has also established a National Care Leavers’ Forum which brings together stakeholders from a range of internal and external bodies, including the Care Leavers’ Association.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the importance of play as a key element of policy on parenting and life chances, and what consequential action they are taking.

The Department for Education recognises that play has an important role in supporting all young children to develop and prepare for later learning.

Play is integral in the early years and is covered in the statutory Early Years Foundation Stage framework which states: “Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, to think about problems, and relate to others.”

The Government’s forthcoming Life Chances Strategy will set out a comprehensive plan to fight disadvantage and extend opportunity. Within this, we are considering how we can support early years and parenting to give children the best start in life.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ring-fence special education funding within their new national funding formula.

We are currently consulting on arrangements for new national formulae for schools and high needs funding (funding to provide high cost support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities). Both funding streams, along with early years funding, make up the dedicated schools grant (DSG), which is ring-fenced so that local authorities can only spend it on specified elements of education. The DSG will continue to be ring-fenced when the national funding formulae are in place. We have also protected the schools and high needs budgets in this Parliament. This year we are adding £92.5 million to local authorities’ 2016-17 high needs allocations.

At the Budget we also announced that we will provide £500 million over the Spending Review period, on top of per pupil protection, to speed up implementation of the national funding formula for schools and get extra funding quicker to those schools that need it most.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that developmental play services, including Portage, are a statutory service for disabled children under the age of two.

The Government recognises that play has an important role in supporting all young children to develop and prepare for later learning and a child’s experiences in their first five years have a major impact on their future life chances. This is covered in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) statutory framework for children from birth to five years of age.

The commissioning of support services for disabled children, such as Portage, is a decision for local authorities. Each local authority should consider the needs of its population, in collaboration with parent carers and early years providers, to ensure that support services in the area reflect local circumstances and need. The Children and Families Act requires all local authorities to publish a ‘local offer’, setting out in one place information about provision they expect to be available in their area across education, health and social care for children in their area who are disabled or have SEN, including those who do not have EHC plans. This should include details of any Portage services that are available for children aged 0 to 5 years.

The Department recognises the importance of Portage and has provided £150,000 to the National Portage Association through the voluntary and community sector (VCS) grants for 2015-16. The National Portage Association has been using their funding to build on existing grant-funded work to support and develop Portage services.

8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that overseas food producers growing food for UK consumption are assisted to transition to a low carbon economy.

Sustainable agriculture and land use are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and objectives of the Paris Agreement. The 2019 IPCC land-use report sets out the critical role that sustainable land use must play in climate mitigation and building resilience. The 2019 IPBES report warns of a pending collapse of nature, with land use change identified as the main driver. We need a food systems and land use revolution on the same scale of the transition to clean energy. A revolution with people, planet and prosperity at its heart.

The COP26 Nature Campaign aims to raise the profile of this agenda, building on the Just Rural Transition (JRT) launched at the UN Climate Action Summit and providing a platform to highlight actions that leading countries are taking to deliver change. The Government is delivering on the building and securing political ambition through several pillars of the campaign through:

  • Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade Dialogue – a global dialogue between producer and consumer countries of internationally traded forest and agricultural commodities to establish collectively how we will work together to support sustainable supply chains, protecting forests and reducing biodiversity loss while promoting trade, market access, economic development and food security;
  • Sustainable Agriculture and JRT – accelerating effort for a transition to sustainable agriculture through policy action, innovation and investment, for healthy diets, economies and people;
  • Mobilise increased Finance for Nature– mobilising investment in the private sector, public sectors and with multilateral development banks to deliver increased and more sustainable climate finance to scale up investment in nature, including Nature based Solutions.

Defra continues to position the UK’s commitment to sustainable agriculture through Government Trade Dialogues and Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Defra also runs a number of Agricultural Dialogues with partner countries which provide opportunities to share UK values on environmental and sustainability issues by exchanging policy and best practice on sustainable agriculture and supply chains in light of the UK’s Due Diligence legislation. Collaboration through dialogues such as these are key to promoting the UK’s environmental objectives while assisting overseas trading partners in achieving the transition to a low carbon economy.

Defra’s International Climate Finance (ICF) contributions enable the UK to meet international commitments on the environment by supporting developing countries promote sustainable livelihoods and low carbon agriculture. For example, since 2012, the UK has invested £62 million to promote sustainable agriculture in Brazil through the Low Carbon Agriculture (LCA) Programme. Phase I of the LCA brought 46,472 hectares of land under sustainable land management and resulted in over 8.9 Mt of avoided greenhouse gas emissions.

Defra is also playing a key role in catalysing the private sector to support environmentally sustainable land-use. Through its ICF, Defra has invested in the Land Degradation Neutrality fund and Eco.Business Fund, impact investment funds which seek to encourage private sector investment in more sustainable production and consumption practices to protect nature and reduce climate change.

The UK has committed to increase finance for nature through its ICF to at least £3bn from 2021 to 2026. The Government is also currently considering the findings of Professor Dasgupta’s landmark review of the economics of biodiversity and will respond in Spring 2021.

18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ban the sale of real fur in the UK.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

There are restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts.

We have established controls on fur from endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and we do not allow imports of fur from wild animals caught using methods which are non-compliant with international humane trapping standards.

Now our future relationship with the EU has been established the government is considering any further steps it could take in relation to fur.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of (1) soil restoration, and (2) kelp, forests for carbon sequestration.

The most recent published Government review of the evidence on the benefits of soil restoration for carbon sequestration is available at:

http://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=12186_SP1113Finalreport.pdf.

The Government recognises the importance of effective soil management and the social, economic and environmental benefits it can provide, including biodiversity, carbon storage, flood protection and improved productivity. The 25 Year Environment Plan sets out Government’s ambition to have sustainably managed soils by 2030, helping soils to function better to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services.

The Government is also committed to publishing an England Peat Strategy to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration. It will set out a holistic plan for the management, protection and restoration of our upland and lowland peatlands, so that they deliver benefits for climate and nature. We intend to publish the strategy before the end of the year.

Kelp forests are productive ecosystems and in England are estimated to store 0.06 million tonnes of carbon in their biomass. However, the long-term carbon sequestration benefits are uncertain as the fate of carbon from these habitats is not well understood. Long-term carbon storage from kelp may occur in sediments outside of the habitat or be recycled within the ocean system. We are currently undertaking an evidence review to assess kelp carbon stock and accumulation rates in the UK.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to establish a tree planting target for England to achieve an increase in England’s woodland cover; and how they plan to ensure that progress towards any target is achieved.

We are committed to increasing planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025 and are exploring whether a statutory target for trees in England would be appropriate, under the process proposed by the Environment Bill.

Our ambitious England Tree Strategy, being published early next year, will set out more detailed plans for achieving this unprecedented increase in woodland creation, supported by the £640 million Nature for Climate Fund announced in the March Budget.

Plans to help kickstart the nation’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund were announced on 18 November. This will include the expansion of protected landscapes, increased access to nature, stronger flood resilience, and the creation and retention of thousands of green jobs.

Over 500 hectares trees will be planted across England’s ten Community Forests, from Yorkshire to Somerset over the next five months, backed by £12.1 million of investment. This will also build the pipeline of projects for community planting in future years.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in implementing the findings of the report by Julian Glover Landscapes Review, published on 21 September 2019; and what assessment they have made of the response to those findings by civil society organisations.

The Government is committed to ensuring our Protected Landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The Glover Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We welcome this ambition and recognise the importance of actively engaging with civil society organisations and the Landscape organisations to inform and develop our response

We have therefore established the ‘National Landscapes Stakeholder Reference Group’ and have been working closely with them to help shape our response to the Review, with a focus on those recommendations requiring collective action and new ways of working nationally.

The Government will come forward with firm proposals for implementing the Glover Landscapes Review in due course.

4th Jul 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that Natural England is fulfilling its duties and responsibilities.

The relationship between Defra and Natural England is clearly set out in Natural England’s Framework Document. Priorities and performance measures are agreed across the Defra Group and with the Secretary of State. Performance is monitored and challenged within Natural England through monthly reports to the non-Executive Board, and to Defra through reporting against the Single Departmental Plan on a quarterly basis. The Secretary of State also reviews performance at biannual meetings with Natural England’s Chair and Chief Executive. Financial management is reviewed monthly between Natural England and Defra Finance teams.

4th Jul 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the funding for Natural England to enable it to discharge its duties and responsibilities.

Natural England, like all other Defra sponsored bodies, receives an appropriate budget to carry out its duties and responsibilities in line with what is affordable and the priorities set out by the Secretary of State.

21st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to enshrine all the provisions of Article 191(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union in British law after the UK leaves the EU; and if so, how.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will preserve environmental principles where they are included in directly applicable EU regulations (which are converted into UK law by the Bill); or in EU-derived domestic legislation (which is preserved by the Bill); or in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (which is relevant to the interpretation of retained EU law). For example, the precautionary principle, referred to in Article 191(2), is included in the REACH Regulation (1907/2006) and the Invasive Alien Species Regulation (1143/2014) and so will be preserved by the Bill in those areas. . The ‘polluter pays’ principle, also referenced in Article 191(2), is referred to in the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 which will also be preserved by the Bill. Similarly, CJEU case law on chemicals, waste and habitats, for example, includes judgments on the application of the precautionary principle to those areas. This will likewise be preserved by the Bill.

Although environmental principles are already central to government policy, they are not set out in one place other than the EU treaties. The Secretary of State therefore announced on 12 November our intention to create a new comprehensive policy statement setting out the environmental principles to underpin future policy making. We will consult on this early next year alongside proposals for a new, independent statutory body to uphold environmental standards.

21st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to enshrine the "polluter pays principle" and the "precautionary principle", as it relates to environmental protection, in British law after the UK leaves the EU; and if so, how.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will preserve environmental principles where they are included in directly applicable EU regulations (which are converted into UK law by the Bill); or in EU-derived domestic legislation (which is preserved by the Bill); or in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (which is relevant to the interpretation of retained EU law). For example, the precautionary principle, referred to in Article 191(2), is included in the REACH Regulation (1907/2006) and the Invasive Alien Species Regulation (1143/2014) and so will be preserved by the Bill in those areas. . The ‘polluter pays’ principle, also referenced in Article 191(2), is referred to in the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 which will also be preserved by the Bill. Similarly, CJEU case law on chemicals, waste and habitats, for example, includes judgments on the application of the precautionary principle to those areas. This will likewise be preserved by the Bill.

Although environmental principles are already central to government policy, they are not set out in one place other than the EU treaties. The Secretary of State therefore announced on 12 November our intention to create a new comprehensive policy statement setting out the environmental principles to underpin future policy making. We will consult on this early next year alongside proposals for a new, independent statutory body to uphold environmental standards.

11th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking, in co-operation with relevant authorities, to ensure that farming and land management are focused on securing environmental enhancement and regeneration.

England’s Rural Development Programme allocates around £3bn to improving the environment between 2014 and 2020. Agri-environment schemes are voluntary agreements that provide payments to farmers and land managers to manage their land in an environmentally sensitive way.

Leaving the EU presents a major opportunity for UK agriculture. We will design new policies which benefit British agriculture, countryside and the environment specifically and provide better value for money to the taxpayer. The Government is committed to working with others to devise a new agri-environment system which will support farmers and other land managers to deliver environmental benefits.

10th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that, in arrangements for strategic planning in the UK, all proposed developments in areas adjacent to National Parks are required to take into account any negative consequences for the special qualities of National Parks, in particular their scenic views.

The government is committed to making sure that national parks are subject to the highest protection in national planning policy, including on cross boundary issues. Local planning authorities, in preparing their plans, have a legal duty under the Localism Act 2011 to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of local plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters. The National Planning Policy Framework is clear that great weight should be given, by local authorities when setting out their plans, to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in national parks and the Broads. In addition, national park authorities are statutory consultees on any planning application where development is likely to affect land in a national park.

10th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will support English Nature in fulfilling its statutory responsibilities for designated landscapes.

Natural England is the government’s advisory body for the natural environment in England, for which Defra is the sponsor department. Natural England’s responsibilities include helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. Natural England is responsible for designating landscapes and protected areas in England. Defra works closely with Natural England to agree shared objectives on a strategic basis.

10th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that all important areas for biodiversity and wildlife, including those within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are protected and maintained when the UK leaves the EU.

The government remains committed to being the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it. We will deliver this vision through an ambitious 25 year environment plan.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill will make sure the whole body of existing EU environmental law continues to have effect in UK law. The Bill will preserve EU law where it stands at the moment before we leave the EU.

We are committed not only to maintaining but to enhancing environmental standards as we leave the E.U.

10th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that, within their 25 year plan for the environment, the ways in which they will protect and enhance the special qualities of the National Parks will be spelt out, in particular their commitment to the principle that those special qualities should take precedence over other conflicting demands for economic development.

National parks cover nearly 10% of England’s land area and contain almost 30% of England’s internationally important wildlife sites. Plans to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage in national parks will be an important component of the 25 year plan for the environment. The plan will ensure that we use the insights of natural capital thinking to develop an approach which will help guide us.

14th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultations they have had with Natural England about ensuring the protection of the national parks from major development; and what was the outcome of those consultations.

National park authorities and Natural England have clear roles with respect to the planning system. National park authorities are required to consult Natural England on development plans and must take into account any advice Natural England provides on them. Natural England is a statutory consultee on development requiring an environmental impact assessment and nationally significant infrastructure projects, and provides advice to national park authorities, local planning authorities and the Secretary of State where it considers there will be significant adverse impacts on national park purposes. In addition, Natural England has a duty to provide advice where any local authority consults it about proposals for the development of land in a national park.

Natural England’s advice is provided in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework, which affords national parks the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. Where a local planning authority is minded to grant planning permission contrary to Natural England’s advice, Natural England may request the Secretary of State to call in the application for its determination. Natural England liaises regularly with the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government on planning and development issues relating to national parks.

13th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the high level of planning protection afforded to National Parks, and the specific responsibilities and duties that apply to development decisions both within the Parks and their adjacent settings; and whether this will be reflected in the new 25-year plan for the environment.

The National Planning Policy Framework is clear on the protections in place for national parks. We would only expect to see major development in exceptional circumstances. Our environment is enormously valuable, and we have long-standing protections for our most precious landscapes through our network of national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

On 23 March 2016, we launched an 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks. It sets out our priorities for improving National Parks in England over the period from 2016 until 2020.

We are committed to the goal of being the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it and we will publish a 25 year environment plan to deliver this ambition.

The plan has not yet been written but it is a manifesto commitment to publish in the course of this Parliament and we will engage with interested stakeholders, including national parks, to help inform its development.

13th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will refer to the National Parks in their 25-year plan for the environment; and whether this plan will set out arrangements for the National Parks' long-term protection and enhancement.

Our environment is enormously valuable and we have long-standing protections for our most precious landscapes through our network of national parks.

We are committed to the goal of being the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it and we will publish a 25 year environment to deliver this ambition.

The plan has not yet been written but it is a manifesto commitment to publish in the course of this parliament and we will engage with interested stakeholders, including national parks, to help inform its development.

We have an 8-Point Plan for England’s National Parks, launched on 23 March 2016. It sets out our priorities for improving National Parks in England over the period from 2016 until 2020.

9th Jan 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that all sensitive and important areas for biodiversity and wildlife in National Parks, sites of special scientific interest and elsewhere are fully protected and maintained after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government will soon be publishing and consulting on a green paper on the environment and our ambition is to become the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.

The Government is considering the impacts of the decision to leave the EU, including future arrangements for existing legislation. Any future changes in the law will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Prime Minister has announced our plans for a Great Repeal Bill that will convert current EU law, including environmental law, into domestic legislation. This will give consumers, workers and businesses as much certainty as possible by maintaining the existing laws.

The UK will continue to be bound by and implement the obligations under the international multilateral environmental agreements to which we are a Party.

5th Oct 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 September (HL1861 and HL1991), what further steps remain in the process of taking a decision about extending the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, and what timetable they have set for those further steps to be taken.

The Secretary of State is giving careful consideration to the inspector’s report on the inquiry into proposed extensions to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks and will issue her decisions in due course.

7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to announce their decision on the revision of National Park boundaries.

Following the public inquiry into proposals to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the inspector has submitted his report to Defra. The Secretary of State is considering the report and will issue her decisions in due course.

7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the amount of government, public-sector and third-sector funding and resources expended so far on preparing for and considering the revision of National Park boundaries.

For clarity, the costs referred to here are for the preparation and consideration of proposals for boundary variations to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

The costs to Defra to date, including for the public inquiry, are £122,360. This includes Planning Inspectorate costs, the cost of an inquiry manager, notice of the inquiry, and the costs of venues for the inquiry. In addition, there are costs of staff time which have not been quantified.

The estimated costs to Natural England are £490,000 since 2009. This includes the costs of extensive technical assessments of the areas concerned and the production of detailed reports, public and statutory consultations, printing costs, and the costs to Natural England of the public inquiry. It does not include staff costs.

No estimate has been made of any funding and resources expended by the third sector.

5th Mar 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to make their decision on the future boundaries of the Lake District and West Yorkshire national parks before the forthcoming general election.

Following the public enquiry into Natural England’s proposals to extend the boundaries of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, the inspector’s report has been submitted to Defra and is now being considered. The Secretary of State will issue her decisions in due course.

19th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish their decision on the extension of boundaries of national parks.

A public inquiry into proposed extensions to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks was held in June last year. The Planning Inspector's report was submitted to Defra in October and is being given careful consideration by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State's decisions will be issued in due course.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with UNWRA about any additional funding required to meet costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; and what assessment they have made of the decision of the governments of Germany and Italy to increase contributions to that organisation.

We are aware of increasing needs in the region due to the impact COVID-19, including in Palestinian refugee camps and continue to monitor the situation closely. We are currently reviewing options for support to UNRWA and recognise the central role it plays in the region until a just solution is found for refugees. Until that time, we support all efforts to increase funding to UNRWA, including from key partners such as Germany and Italy.

9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they are having with international development related non-governmental organisations; and how they plan to incorporate the experience of such organisations into the future policy of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

UK and international NGOs play an invaluable role in our fight against poverty. We will continue to engage closely with them as we shape the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, which will unite our development expertise and first-class diplomatic service to make the UK a greater force for good in the world.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place (1) to safeguard, and (2) to maintain, the experience and expertise in international development of staff from the Department for International Development with their own dedicated administrative structure within the new merged department of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, (a) in the UK, and (b) in its operations overseas.

The creation of the new Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy and create new opportunities for staff. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will be at the heart of the new department – taking forward the work of UK aid, which will remain central to our mission. There will be no compulsory redundancies and we will work closely with staff throughout the process of implementing the merger. The full details of the merger, including the structure of the new department, will be set out in due course. This work will take place over the coming months, and we will engage fully with staff throughout this process.

25th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have in place to ensure that UK aid remains party to the Development Assistance committee rules of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on minimum international standards of aid spending.

Spending 0.7 percent of our national income on aid is enshrined in law and the UK continues to abide by the OECD DAC rules for aid. We will continue to look at how this money can be spent most effectively in our national interest, including through the Integrated Review – which will inform the priorities of the new department.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to ensure that at least 50 per cent of their overseas aid budget remains committed to fragile and conflict afflicted states; and what proportion of that budget is earmarked for conflict resolution and peace building.

DFID’s work on addressing the underlying drivers of fragility, conflict and instability in fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS) is vital. This is why the UK is pursuing a strong and co-ordinated global response to COVID-19, particularly for the most vulnerable countries. DFID is taking steps to ensure that both our immediate responses to COVID-19 and long-term recovery efforts do not exacerbate conflict and instead help to build peace and improve governance, especially in FCAS.

DFID has consistently spent at least 50% of its Official Development Assistance in fragile and conflict affected states from 2015 to 2017. Figures for 2018 will be published in due course.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to contribute to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan to tackle COVID-19.

The UK strongly supports the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan to tackle COVID-19. Our latest UK aid funding of £200 million, announced on 12 April, will enable humanitarian organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries which often lack the healthcare systems to track and halt the virus. This funding includes £130 million to UN agencies in response to their COVID-19 humanitarian appeals and £50 million to the Red Cross to help its efforts in difficult to reach areas, such as those affected by armed conflict. We continue to urge other countries to step up to support international appeals.

Additionally, the UK has pledged £50 million to match £50 million from Unilever for a joint global hygiene project targeting up to a billion people with awareness and behavioural change campaigns to promote handwashing and providing 20 million hygiene items like soap and bleach to help the most vulnerable communities protect themselves.

This humanitarian funding brings the total amount of UK aid committed to fight COVID-19 to £744 million. This includes support to develop new vaccines, tests and treatments; humanitarian aid and support for the International Monetary Fund to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable countries.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to granting an immediate, condition free moratorium on debt interest payments for developing countries in order to release resources for such countries to deal with COVID-19.

We are supporting the poorest countries, which represent a quarter of the world’s population, to avoid economic collapse. Economic disruption hits the world’s poor hardest and would deepen a global recession, making it harder for all of us to bounce back and prosper. The UK is providing up to £150 million of UK aid funding which will go the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment Relief Trust to help developing countries meet their debt repayments. This will allow them to focus their available resources on tackling COVID-19. The UK has also worked closely with other G20 creditors and the Paris Club to provide a temporary suspension of debt repayments from the poorest and most vulnerable countries that request relief, further boosting countries’ capacity to respond to the crisis.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for the future role of the Department for International Development.

This government has confirmed its commitment to 0.7 and has set out a series of ambitious development targets in the manifesto. This includes ending preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030 and leading the way in eradicating Ebola and malaria.

4th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 30 May (HL15801), what was the outcome of discussions on the Funding Compact at ECOSOC in May; and what action they are taking as a result of that discussion.

The UN Secretary General set out the purpose of the Funding Compact during his address to the May 2019 ECOSOC Operational Activities Segment (OAS), welcoming it as a means “to shift away from funding practices that fragment action by UN country teams.”

While the content of the Funding Compact was discussed at ECOSOC, the Resolution summarising agreement on the matter is expected to be finalised later this month. The UK remains committed to the Secretary General’s reform agenda, of which the Funding Compact is a key component.

16th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that aid programmes of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the UN system in general have long-term sustainability.

The UK supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict and the UK Government believe that the only way to achieve a lasting solution for refugees is a negotiated solution to the conflict.

In the interim, the UK is a leading donor to UNRWA and will provide up to £80m over the next two years. This will help to provide essential services, including healthcare and education, for millions of Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The Government has also acted to ensure the long-term sustainability of the UN system in general by supporting the Secretary General’s reform agenda, including the Funding Compact which is being discussed at ECOSOC in New York in late May.

The UK is committed to getting the best value for the UK taxpayers’ money in our aid programmes. We work closely with our UN partners to ensure programmes deliver the best development outcomes and value for money.

7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken during the past two weeks to ensure that shelter, food supplies, clean water and other essentials are being adequately provided for English speaking victims of violence, threatened violence and conflict in Cameroon.

On 13th December we announced a £2.5m contribution to the UN appeal for the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, with £2 million disbursed immediately to UNICEF. This support will begin to: treat 1,300 children who are most at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition; provide essential drugs to treat 5,700 children for deadly diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections; provide 10,000 people with water and sanitation kits including water purification supplies and other household items including washable sanitary napkins and tooth brushes; provide 2,000 mosquito-nets to prevent malaria; vaccinate 3,500 children against measles; and identify and support many unaccompanied children.

7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taking during the past two weeks to ensure that medical support, educational resources and sanitation facilities are being adequately provided for English speaking victims of violence, threatened violence and conflict in Cameroon.

On 13th December we announced a £2.5m contribution to the UN appeal for the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, with £2 million disbursed immediately to UNICEF. This support will begin to: treat 1,300 children who are most at risk of dying from severe acute malnutrition; provide essential drugs to treat 5,700 children for deadly diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, and acute respiratory infections; provide 10,000 people with water and sanitation kits including water purification supplies and other household items including washable sanitary napkins and tooth brushes; provide 2,000 mosquito-nets to prevent malaria; vaccinate 3,500 children against measles; and identify and support many unaccompanied children.

10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) action they are taking, and (2) funding they are designating, to protect Rohingya women in refugee camps with specific reference to (a) improving lighting for safety, (b) toilets and washrooms that provide privacy, and (c) special assistance for the most vulnerable.

DFID is supporting a range of organisations providing specialised help to women amongst Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh. A third of our latest £70m allocation will be spent on protection services including services for women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health. This includes funding for women’s centres, emergency nutrition and midwifery care to pregnant women, and support for survivors of gender based violence. Our funding is improving lighting for safety in the camps. We are supporting provision of women friendly spaces that include toilets and washrooms with privacy. We are also providing psychosocial first aid to vulnerable adults and adolescents to ease trauma, and child friendly spaces.

10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure the participation and leadership of Rohingya people of all ages and genders in programmes intended to safeguard women in the refugee community in Cox's Bazar.

The UK recognises that Rohingya communities need empowerment, leadership and influence within camps in Cox’s Bazar. The UK ensures that our partners work alongside the refugee community when implementing programmes and has funded coordination work between partners on communicating with refugees, including ensuring that the voices of girls and women are included.

10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to assist local organisations with expertise on gender issues in their contribution to the safety and well-being of Rohingya women refugees.

The UK is leading the way in supporting a range of organisations providing specialised help to women and survivors of sexual violence in Bangladesh. DFID funds the UNFPA and UNHCR who have local implementing partners, such as Brac and Mukti, who provide access to sexual and reproductive health care and support for survivors of gender-based violence for over 200,000 refugees. DFID works with UN agencies to incorporate refugee feedback and voice in the humanitarian response. The UK recognises the importance of including Rohingya leadership, especially women, in the humanitarian response and discussions on the future of the Rohingya people.

4th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that the schools for Palestinian children operated by United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees can continue their work throughout the coming academic year.

The UK is committed to ensuring that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) continues to deliver a high-quality education to over 500,000 children across the region. The UK has announced £17 million of funding over the past four months, in addition to our original budget of £28.5 million, to protect UNRWA’s vital services, including education. We continue to work with international partners to help unlock further funding for UNRWA.

18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report by the International Crisis Group, Electoral Poker in DR Congo, published on 4 April, in respect of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The UK recognises the concerns outlined by the International Crisis Group (ICG) in its latest report and regularly raises the issue of tackling the root causes of conflict and insecurity that are driving the humanitarian crisis with the Government of DRC. Key to this is the holding of elections in December 2018. This is critical to a peaceful and democratic transfer of power, and longer-term peace and stability in DRC.

My colleague, the Minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin visited the DRC last week, where she saw first-hand the impact of the conflict and insecurity upon the Congolese population. She announced a further contribution of £22 million to the humanitarian appeal for the DRC, bringing UK aid’s support to £227 million over 5 years (2017-2022).

17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what inter-governmental deliberations are currently taking place regarding the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

International deliberations on the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen are being led by the UN. The UK welcomes the recent appointments of Martin Griffiths as the new UN Special Envoy to Yemen and Lise Grande as the new UN Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator for Yemen. The UK will continue to support their efforts to work with all parties to bring about peace and end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The UK is also playing a leading role in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. As the pen-holder on Yemen at the UN Security Council the UK proposed and coordinated a UN Security Council Presidential Statement adopted on 15 March, which called on all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, facilitate humanitarian access, and emphasised the need for an inclusive political solution. The UK will continue to press for a political solution to the conflict in the next Quad meeting between the UK, US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UK is also taking a leading role in the Yemen Donor Coordination Group.

21st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) bilaterally, and (2) internationally, to safeguard the children of the Kasai region of the Congo from dying from starvation; and what steps they are taking to ensure that the funds of the World Food Programme are adequate to support work in that region.

My colleague, the Minister for Africa, Rory Stewart visited Kasai Central, in the DRC, in November 2017 to see for himself the impact of the conflict. 294,000 children are at risk of dying from malnutrition. UK bilateral aid is already supporting 25,800 children with lifesaving assistance. Over the next 5 years we will support a further 220,000 children under the age of 5 with vital nutrition. We support the World Food Programme (WFP) operated humanitarian air service ensuring that vital aid is delivered to those in need. However, the humanitarian appeal in DRC remains chronically underfunded. This needs an urgent international response and the UK Government is actively lobbying the international community to increase its response to this forgotten crisis.

11th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report produced by Oxfam and Doctors for Human Rights on the experience of refugees, not least women, fleeing war, persecution and poverty while they are in or transiting Libya; and what action they are taking to ensure that their policies are designed to meet the humanitarian needs of such people, and to ensure rights of safe passage.

DFID are aware of Oxfam’s recent report and share their concerns. The UK provides humanitarian aid to migrants and refugees in Libya and specific support to women and girls at risk of sexual and gender based violence and trafficking. So far this year, DFID has supported more than 20,000 emergency interventions such as healthcare, psychosocial support, hygiene kits and safe shelter. The UK Government has also helped more than 1,400 vulnerable migrants to return home from Libya.

Our resettlement schemes provide refugees with a safe and legal route to the UK, rather than risking hazardous journeys towards Europe. We also support the principle of family reunification.

13th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what measures they have put in place to ensure that UK funding provided in response to the central Mediterranean migration crisis is utilised in a way that protects vulnerable migrants and refugees.

The UK contribution to the Mediterranean migration crisis is delivered through trusted humanitarian agencies such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Our programmes take account of context and risks, as well as humanitarian principles, and are designed to provide life-saving assistance and protection for the most vulnerable migrants and refugees.

The Department for International Development holds partners to account for ensuring the protection of vulnerable migrants and refugees by using robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks which enable tracking of project performance. Visits to project sites, including by staff located in the region, enable us to cross-check partner reports and ensure that funding is being used as agreed, and monitor risk and human rights compliance.

13th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what measures they have put in place to ensure that UK funding which is intended to address the central Mediterranean migration crisis is not used to finance the increased detention of refugees and migrants in a manner which denies them their right to asylum.

The UK contribution to the Mediterranean migration crisis is delivered through trusted humanitarian agencies such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As the UN agency mandated to protect and support refugees, UK support for UNHCR is specifically designed to help ensure that refugees are supported to access asylum procedures. UK assistance inside detention centres is not provided to increase detention capacity, but to protect migrants’ and refugees’ human rights and meet basic needs, including by advocating for alternatives to detention for vulnerable groups. We also assist migrants to return home, if they wish to do so.

13th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to ensure that UK funding which is intended to mitigate the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean is not used to finance the indefinite detention of migrant and refugee children.

The UK contribution to the Mediterranean migration crisis is delivered through trusted humanitarian agencies such as the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Through these agencies, UK aid in detention centres is specifically designed to protect migrants’ and refugees’ human rights and meet basic needs, including by advocating for alternatives to detention for vulnerable groups like children. We also assist migrants to return home, if they wish to do so.

10th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government, in the light of findings published by CAFOD in its report UK support for energy in developing countries that between 2009 and 2013 43 per cent of UK spending in the energy sector in developing countries was focussed on fossil fuels and 19 per cent on renewable forms of energy, whether they are planning to seek to reverse those proportions; and if so, what action they are taking to achieve that objective.

Between 2011 and 2016, UK Aid provided 12 million people with improved access to clean energy and installed more than 400 MW of clean energy capacity.

The percentages cited in the CAFOD report draw on several sources and appear to include a wide range of funding, including funding which is not classified as Official Development Assistance.

The UK government has committed £5.8bn over the April 2016 and March 2021 period for tackling climate change overseas. This commitment will continue to drive support for developing countries to move to low-carbon economies including renewable energy, as well as building their resilience and helping them to manage their natural resources more effectively.

The DFID bilateral programme will not support new coal plants or new investments in existing coal-fired power plants. We will only consider supporting proposals for multilateral development banks to finance coal-fired power plants in the world’s poorest countries where no other economically feasible alternative exists, the investment is part of a credible low emission development strategy and where there is a clear poverty reduction case.

3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what role they are seeking for UNESCO in the battle for hearts and minds, in the cause of defeating terrorism and building world security.

UNESCO’s mandate is to coordinate international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication to strengthen ties between nations and societies, including freedom of expression, universal respect for human rights and global citizenship. It is committed to developing more inclusive and prosperous societies, which are also more resilient to the poisonous ideologies of extremism. UNESCO has delivered some good work in the area of education and extremism, including a useful Teacher’s Guide on Preventing Violent Extremism. We will be pushing UNESCO to ensure its advice is informed by evidence and that any activities they implement in this area are rigorously evaluated to assess what works.

29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government what priority they will give to increasing support for, and strengthening the effectiveness of, the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations through the UK’s Official Development Assistance programme.

The Government recognises the valuable role that the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations perform in the agreement and enforcement of international norms, standards and regulations. The UK focuses its support on agencies that are best placed to deliver on the Government’s strategic priorities and which demonstrate excellent performance including value for money for UK taxpayers’ investments. The Multilateral Development Review published in December 2016 explained how the Department for International Development is working with several Specialised Agencies to improve their effectiveness, including the introduction of performance agreements to reinforce priority reforms.

18th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the statement by the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to the second bi-annual UNRWA Advisory Commission meeting for 2016 held in Amman, stressing the case for UNWRA to be placed on a more stable financial footing.

The UK is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), providing over £60 million in 2015/16 in Gaza, the West Bank and the region. We regularly discuss with UNRWA how it can resolve its financial situation. As a major donor, we encourage UNRWA to implement reforms to put it on a more sustainable financial footing and we press for other donor contributions.

12th Sep 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response they are making, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to the statement on 8 September of the Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine at the extraordinary general meeting called to discuss the acute financial challenges currently faced by the organisation.

The UK is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and we regularly discuss with UNRWA how it can resolve its financial situation. The UK remains committed to supporting the Agency and Palestinian refugees at this difficult time in the region. My officials are in close contact with UNRWA’s senior management about the current funding position.

19th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to ensure that people from Iraq who have been displaced as a result of the current fighting in that country have access to assistance.

The UN’s latest assessment is that over 3.3 million Iraqis have been internally displaced, with over 10 million people across Iraq requiring some form of humanitarian assistance. The UK is working with the Government of Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government, United Nations, and non-governmental organisations to make sure that humanitarian support is provided to the most vulnerable, including internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Since summer 2014, the UK has pledged £129.5 million of humanitarian support for Iraq. This includes £50 million of additional assistance announced on 20 July 2016. Through our contribution, as the largest donor to the Iraq Humanitarian Pooled Fund, UK funding has helped a number of programmes supporting IDPs leaving Fallujah.

19th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are providing to the Kurdish authorities to help them cope with the number of people who have fled fighting in Iraq and are now displaced within the region.

In response to the crisis in Iraq, since summer 2014 the UK has pledged £129.5 million of humanitarian support. This includes £50 million of additional assistance announced on 20 July 2016. To date, we have provided cash assistance, access to clean water, food, medicines and other life-saving assistance for the most vulnerable – irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. This funding has supported the response in northern Iraq and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), as well as helping other vulnerable people across the country.

Given the importance of a coordinated response, we have provided £1 million of funding to UNDP to support the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Centre (JCC), as well as its equivalent for the Government of Iraq, the Joint Crisis and Monitoring Centre (JCMC). In close collaboration with the JCMC, the United Nations, donors and non-governmental organisations, the JCC is leading humanitarian efforts in the Kurdistan Region.

8th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recent survey by the American University of Beirut and UNRWA on the socioeconomic status of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon; and what bilateral and multilateral action they are taking to meet the challenges identified by that survey.

The UK Government is aware of the survey by the American University of Beirut and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). DFID staff attended the survey’s launch event and have noted its findings.

The UK is a long-term supporter of UNRWA, including in Lebanon, providing over £60 million in 2015/16 and remaining the third largest donor to the UNRWA General Fund. We also provided £12m in total to UNRWA in Lebanon through the 2015 and 2016 Syria Emergency Appeals, and £1.9m this year through the UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund, supporting Palestinian youth with vocational and English skills training and job placement.

DFID has also committed to spending up to £40m a year on education in Lebanon, with a major programming element aimed at providing non-formal education to the most vulnerable children and youth, including Palestinians.

28th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) about the condition of Palestinian refugees and UNRWA staff following the recent bombing near Qabr Essit camp, Sayyida Zeinab, including threats to life, and access to food, water, and health services; and what action they are taking both multilaterally and unilaterally to relieve the situation.

Da’esh has claimed responsibility for indiscriminate attacks in the Sayyida Zeinab area that have killed dozens of civilians since the beginning of the year. We share UNRWA’s concerns about the volatile situation on the ground, including its impact on the Palestinian refugee camp at nearby Qabr Essit.

We have given over £59 million to UNRWA to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees affected by the violence in Syria. Through the International Syria Support Group and UN Security Council, we are pushing for improved humanitarian access to all those in need across Syria and supporting attempts to find a political settlement that will end the conflict.

7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to improve access for humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to civilian populations in Syria.

The UK is committed to supporting the most vulnerable people in need inside Syria wherever they are, in accordance with international humanitarian principles. The UK co-sponsored and lobbied hard for UN Security Council Resolutions 2165 and 2191 which enable the UN to deliver aid across border, without the consent of the regime, to assist those in the hardest to reach areas.

8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to ban all arms exports to countries that are not part of NATO or in a formal alliance with the UK.

HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to stop granting export licences for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to suspend (1) the granting of arms export licences, and (2) military support, to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners involved in operations in Yemen.

HM Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and will continue to assess all export licences in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the ‘Consolidated Criteria’). HM Government will not grant an export licence if to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria, including if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.

In addition, HM Government is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated Criteria

The United Kingdom has an ongoing defence relationship with Saudi Arabia, including training courses, advice and guidance, which support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to protect its national security. This also supports the Saudi military’s compliance with international humanitarian law.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to the actions of the government of Saudi Arabia (1) in that country, and (2) in Yemen, when deciding to resume granting export licences for arms sales to Saudi Arabia; and what assessment they have made of the compatibility of that decision with the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime, announced on 6 July.

The Written Ministerial Statement of 7th July 2020 set out the steps that HM Government has taken to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 20th June 2019 regarding licences for military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

To address the Court of Appeal’s judgment, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations which it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft reflecting the factual circumstances that the court proceedings concerned.

To be clear, allegations have been subject to detailed analysis by reference to the relevant principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and in the light of information and intelligence available. An evaluation has then been made, in respect of each incident, whether it is possible that it constitutes a breach of IHL or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach.

The Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime is a separate issue entirely though. This new sanctions regime will give the United Kingdom a powerful new tool to hold those individuals involved in serious violations of rights and responsibilities to account.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to ensure that Parliament and relevant sectors of civil society, including the charitable sector, are able to scrutinise all current and future trade negotiations with the United States, with particular reference to their direct or indirect implications for (1) economies, (2) trade, and (3) vulnerable people, in the least developed countries.

This Government is committed to transparency and will ensure that parliamentarians, UK citizens, businesses and charities have access to the information they need on our trade negotiations. For the UK-USA Free Trade Agreement, the Government has set out its negotiating objectives, alongside a response to the public consultation as well as an initial economic assessment.

We engage with businesses, civil society, academics and consumer groups through the Strategic Advisory Group (STAG) and Expert Trade Advisory Groups (ETAGs), as well as through regular conversations outside of these formal channels.

The UK also remains committed to ensuring developing countries can reduce poverty through trading opportunities.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure a comprehensive, UK-wide interoperable vehicle charging network to improve consumer take-up of electric vehicles.

The Department is committed to ensuring consumers have reliable access to a comprehensive vehicle charging network so that they can easily and conveniently charge their cars wherever they live and travel. The Government will invest £1.3 billion to accelerate the roll out of charging infrastructure, targeting support on rapid charge points on motorways and major roads to dash any anxiety around long journeys, and installing more on-street charge points near homes and workplaces to make charging as easy as refuelling a petrol or diesel car. To increase confidence in the charging network and reduce range anxiety, the Department will work with industry to make?chargepoint?data available so that drivers can easily locate and access available?chargepoints. Government will consult on using its powers under the Automated Electric Vehicles Act to mandate minimum requirements to improve people’s experience when using a public chargepoint.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
29th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Sugg on 31 October (HL Deb, col 1360) on future railway investment, what steps they intend to take to improve rail services in West Cumbria and on the Newcastle to Carlisle line.

The following train service improvements will be delivered by December 2019:-

  • More frequent trains will be provided from Carlisle to MetroCentre and Newcastle (2tph), at least 10 of which per day will be high-quality Northern Connect services using fully refurbished trains.

  • Up to six extra services will be provided per day to stations on the Cumbria Coast route between Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle, with more capacity on the busiest services and the timetable better suited to employees at Sellafield and Whitehaven.

  • Sunday services from Carlisle to Whitehaven will be extended to Barrow-in-Furness and frequency enhanced, providing a Sunday service on the full length of the Cumbria Coast route.

29th Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Sugg on 31 October (HL Deb, col 1360) on railway investment, what assessment they have made of the cost-effectiveness and impact on reliability of investments in signalling on the West Coast Mainline.

Network Rail regularly monitors the reliability of its infrastructure, and this monitoring indicates a broad improvement in signalling asset reliability across the West Coast Main Line resulting from the ongoing replacement and modernisation of the infrastructure. Network Rail’s monitoring indicates overall reductions in delays from track circuit, signalling system and power supply failures following resignalling and other measures.

The Office of Rail and Road undertakes yearly reviews of Network Rail’s expenditure and efficiency, to help customers, funders and other interested parties gain a better understanding of Network Rail’s financial performance. This is published in the Annual Efficiency and Finance Assessment of Network Rail.

20th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of increasing work-related benefits on the level of other benefits which severely disabled people would be entitled to claim.

Increases in the level of Employment and Support Allowance payments – the main income-replacement benefit for disabled people and people who have a health condition – will have no impact on the levels of disability benefits such as Personal independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance, because these benefits are not means-tested.

20th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the Green Paper consultation <i>Improving Lives: Work, Health and Disability</i>, what assessment they have made of the ability to work of some disabled people with complex needs; and what measures they are taking to support those people.

We are committed to understanding what works for people in the ESA Support Group, many of whom have complex needs, and announced in the Green Paper that we will undertake comprehensive research and develop a large scale trial to test and learn from different approaches of offering employment support to people in this group taking into consideration views and ideas gathered through the consultation, which closed on 17th February.

In the Green Paper, we also announced the details of the Personal Support Package. This package includes a broad spectrum of employment support, with specific provision made for the hardest to help Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants placed in the work-related activity group (and Universal Credit equivalents). This comprises:

  • More places on the Specialist Employability Support (SES) programme; and
  • Trialling and testing new forms of employment support to continue to build our evidence base for the hardest to help, including:
  1. Testing a jobcentre-led alternative to the SES programme;
  2. Testing locally delivered Supported Employment; and
  3. Testing the use of Supported Work Experience for young people.
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of concerns raised by local authorities, in particular those raised by Cumbria County Council, about the performance of private companies carrying out track and trace operations to address the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to divert the resources provided to those companies to local authorities to ensure that contact tracing is local by default.

We are working with local authorities and other community partners to minimise the risk of local outbreaks occurring to respond swiftly and effectively to stop the spread of COVID-19. As of 18 December, we have over 270 local contact tracing partnerships in place, with more in implementation. In the week 3 to 9 December, 96.6% of contacts where communication details were given were reached and told to self-isolate, an increase from 92.5% in the previous week.

To support these local responses, we have already made £700 million additional funding available for local authorities in England to develop robust, tailored outbreak control plans to identify and contain potential outbreaks.

19th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the review by the Royal Society Vitamin D and COVID-19, published on 18 June, which noted both the high levels of Vitamin D deficiency in the UK’s population and its important regulatory role in the human immune system, what steps they are taking to prevent vitamin D deficiency as a public health measure.

Between October and March, the United Kingdom population does not get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D can be found in a small number of foods. However, since it is difficult for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, Public Health England (PHE) recommends that all adults and children over four years old (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D, especially during winter. This advice is on the National Health Service website online and comes from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition’s 2016 report Vitamin D and Health.

PHE re-issued this advice in April 2020 which reminded people to consider taking vitamin D supplements, especially if they were not going outdoors during lockdown. This advice emphasised the importance of vitamin D for bone and muscle health.

We continue to consider what additional communication messages might be needed to ensure this information remains accessible to the public and health professionals as we move into the winter months.

6th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of Vitamin D in promoting good health and resistance to COVID-19 and other infections.

In 2016, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) published a robust assessment of the evidence on vitamin D and a wide range of health outcomes. Current United Kingdom vitamin D advice is focused on musculoskeletal health and based on evidence from this report.

In 2020, Public Health England (PHE) commissioned SACN to examine new evidence on vitamin D supplementation and the risk of Acute Respiratory Tract Infections (ARTIs). SACN’s rapid review concluded that evidence currently does not support vitamin D supplementation to prevent ARTIs in the general UK population.

In 2020, PHE supported the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to review emerging evidence on vitamin D for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. NICE’s review concluded that there is currently no robust evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk or severity of COVID-19.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to propose urgent action nationwide to combat childhood obesity.

We published Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives in July. The strategy demonstrates an overarching campaign to reduce obesity, takes forward actions from previous chapters of the childhood obesity plan, including our ambition to halve the number of children living with obesity by 2030, and sets our measures to get the nation fit and healthy, protect against COVID-19 and protect the National Health Service.

In addition, Public Health England launched the Better Health campaign, which calls on people to embrace a healthier lifestyle and to lose weight if they need to, supported by a range of evidence-based tools and apps providing advice on how to reduce the waistline.

A copy of Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives is attached.

14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Social Workers Union about the results of its survey which estimates that one third of social workers are now considering leaving the profession as a result of the deterioration in working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they are taking in response.

We are committed to providing ongoing support to social workers so that they are safe, supported, valued and able to continue the exceptional work they do. We continue to support local authorities and other social work employers to meet their duties regarding social work workforce planning and sharing best practice in recruiting, retaining and developing staff.

There are currently 98,000 registered social workers across the country, of whom 363 were surveyed by the Social Workers Union. The Chief Social Workers for Adults continue to have regular conversations with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the British Association of Social Workers, Social Work England and Principal Social Workers across the country and have ensured concerns are responded to as soon as they arise.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to monitor, together with the charitable sector and wider civil society, the adverse short- and long-term consequences of the (1) COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) Coronavirus Act 2020.

We are doing everything we can to tackle the pandemic and mitigate its impact. We are mobilising every element of Government to defend our people and our country.

On Wednesday 25 March, the Coronavirus Bill 2020 was given Royal Assent. An impact assessment and Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) assessment were conducted in relation to the provisions contained in the Coronavirus Act. The PSED requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out their activities, including those with protected characteristics. We will continue to consider the impacts on people with protected characteristics when considering how to use powers contained in the Act.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is proactively engaging across the charity sector to maintain a complete picture of the impact of COVID-19 and is working to identify the additional support charities require through this time of financial instability. On 8 April 2020 the Government pledged £750 million to ensure charities can continue their vital work supporting the country during the COVID-19 outbreak.

5th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to analyse (1) those elements of health and social care which need to be strengthened, and (2) those aspects of entitlements for disabled children and their families and carers which need to be clarified; and what consequent action they are taking.

The commissioning of health and social care services for children with disabilities is the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups and local authorities respectively. Local commissioners are best placed to assess the needs of the local population and which areas may need strengthening. Clinical commissioning groups must ensure that they secure health services to meet the needs of disabled children to a reasonable extent.

Children’s social care is the responsibility of the Department for Education. All disabled children are regarded as children ‘in need’ under the Children Act 1989 and may receive social care from the local authority. The Children and Families Act 2014 placed a duty on local authorities to assess whether a parent carer in their area has needs for support.

21st Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the YMCA and NHS campaign #IAMWHOLE; and what action, if any, they have taken in response to that campaign.

Campaigns such as #IAMWHOLE make an essential contribution to challenging the stigma that surrounds mental health, and Ministers have supported it. The Department has long funded, in partnership with charities, the Time to Change (TTC) campaign to challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness. TTC has campaigned on these issues for over ten years, and has reported to the Department that it estimates it has improved attitudes to mental health of over 4 million people in England.

1st Sep 2014
NHS
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Ministerial Statement on the NHS Commissioning Board: Annual Assessment and Annual Report and Accounts by Earl Howe on 22 July (WS 124–5), what factors they considered when they decided on which date to make that statement; and what arrangements they have made for parliamentary scrutiny of the NHS mandate for 2015–16.

We announced on 22 July 2014 in a Written Ministerial Statement on the NHS Commissioning Board: Annual Assessment and Annual Report and Accounts (WS 124-5) that the Government proposes to uphold all of the existing objectives in the current mandate and maintain a stable mandate for 2015-16. This announcement was made on 22 July so the annual assessment could be published before Parliamentary recess and alongside the annual report of the NHS Commissioning Board (known as NHS England). The timing of the publication of NHS England’s Annual Report and Accounts was determined by the annual reporting cycle of the Department and its arm’s-length bodies. The exact date of the Written Ministerial Statement was subject to other Government business.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires the Secretary of State to publish and lay before Parliament its mandate to NHS England. Before specifying any objectives or requirements in the mandate, the Secretary of State must consult NHS England, Healthwatch England and any other persons he considers appropriate.

We have been working closely with NHS England on the approach to the mandate and have been engaging with stakeholders over the summer, ahead of publishing and laying the final mandate before Parliament in the autumn. The mandate for 2015-16 will take effect from April 2015.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the data collected by the Palliative Care Funding Review; and whether they have plans to introduce the provision of free social care at the end of life.

The data collection exercise following the Palliative Care Funding Review concluded at the end of March 2014. These data are currently being analysed by NHS England, who intend to complete this analysis by the end of August.

Any decisions on the provision of free social care at the end of life will be based on a combination of the analysis of these data, other relevant data sources and wider policy and financial considerations.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of variations in cancer patient experiences.

The latest Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) results, from 2013, show that whilst variations between trusts still exist, the overall range of variation for many indicators has narrowed.

For example, in 2010 the proportion of patients saying that they had been given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist ranged from 92% in the highest performing trust to 59% in the poorest performing trust (33 points); by 2013 this had reduced to 97% to 76% (21 points).

NHS England is working with NHS Improving Quality to develop better ways of using CPES data within the National Health Service in order to maximise the impact of the survey, to be able to work with successful and struggling organisations to spread best practice for example. Their intention is that the learning from this can then be transferred across all surveys to understand what the barriers are to implementing change and to showcase best practice where real improvements can be demonstrated.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jul 2014
NHS
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the National Health Service Mandate in holding the National Health Service accountable to government.

The National Health Service Mandate, which is published annually, sets the Government’s objectives for NHS England which NHS England must seek to deliver, and its business plan sets out how it will do so. Following this, NHS Planning Guidance sets out expectations on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for their role in delivering the mandate, which CCGs are then expected to reflect in their plans. As such, the mandate provides a basis for holding NHS England and, through them, CCGs, to account.

The Department holds the NHS formally to account for its progress on achieving the objectives in the mandate through bi-monthly Secretary of State accountability meetings, of which the minutes are published. In July, the first Annual Assessment of NHS England was laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State, which covers the extent to which NHS England met its mandate in 2013-14.

As the Annual Assessment acknowledged, NHS England and the wider system have recently undergone a complex transition process. This means it is difficult at this time to assess the effectiveness of the Mandate as an accountability mechanism. Nevertheless, we will keep this under review.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
24th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to (1) peace builders, (2) women’s rights organisations, and (3) human rights organisations, working in Yemen.

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of Israel is planning to remove 37 Palestinian households from the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan areas of East Jerusalem; and what action are they taking, both unilaterally and multilaterally, to prevent any such removals.

We regularly make clear our concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February 2021. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa raised the issue of evictions of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Zimbabwe about the human rights situation in that country; and in particular, about (1) reports of corruption and abuse of state funds, and (2) the continued incarceration of Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.

We regularly engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to urge their adherence to their human rights obligations and to respect the freedoms and rights enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution. The Minister for Africa spoke to the then Zimbabwean Foreign Minister, Sibusiso Moyo in June last year, and wrote to him again in August to raise specific human rights concerns, including over the treatment of opposition members Ms Mamombe, Ms Chimbiri, and Ms Marowa. The Minister for Africa has followed their cases closely, and tweeted on 5 February 2021 to register his concern over their most recent arrests.

On 1 February 2021, the UK announced new sanctions to hold to account those individuals responsible for human rights violations in Zimbabwe. We also continue to urge the Government of Zimbabwe and the Anti-Corruption Commission to take the necessary steps to address corruption and illicit financial flows. The UK Ambassador met the new Chair of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission in December 2020 to reinforce these messages. Her Majesty's Government will continue to speak out, both privately and in public, where we have concerns and we will work alongside the international community to support a better future for all Zimbabweans.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking within appropriate multilateral institutions to develop a strategic response to the proliferation of cruise missiles (1) to foster maximum transparency, and (2) to develop a coherent safeguarding approach within arms control arrangements.

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

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

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) (1) to continue its overseas development work, and (2) to offer voluntary opportunities; and what assessment they have made of the contribution of the experience gained by returning VSO volunteers to wider society in the UK.

The impact of the global pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough but necessary decision to temporarily reduce our aid budget. We are now working through the implications of these changes for individual programmes, including for the Volunteering for Development grant. No decisions have yet been made. We understand the need to communicate with VSO in a timely manner regarding this grant.

The UK Government is proud of the outstanding contribution of returned volunteers to their home communities in the UK, particularly during the UK's Covid-19 pandemic response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the President of the United States' statement on 4 February that the conflict in Yemen has created a "humanitarian and strategic catastrophe"; and what steps they are taking in partnership with the government of the United States (1) to press for an end to the conflict, and (2) to avoid further acute food and medicine shortages in Yemen.

Yemen remains one of the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with two thirds of the entire population, requiring some form of humanitarian assistance. The recent fighting during February and March has already displaced thousands of civilians, and many more are at risk. The UK is playing a leading role in responding to the crisis in Yemen by contributing over £1 billion to the humanitarian response and through our diplomatic influence.

The Government welcomes the focus of the US administration on Yemen. We are working closely with them, and newly appointed Special Envoy Lenderking in particular, to help make quick progress towards a nationwide ceasefire. The Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa spoke with UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths on 1 March to discuss how the UK can best support the UN-led peace process. Ministers and officials regularly engage with all our international partners including the US to ensure life-saving humanitarian aid reaches the millions of Yemenis in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps, if any, they are taking to review the designation of the Houthi movement as a terrorist organisation.

We have no plans to proscribe the Houthis, but we keep the use of sanctions under review. We welcomed the US announcement to revoke the previous administration's designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. The UK had engaged closely with the US administration on this matter, sharing our concerns that designation would disrupt humanitarian operations in Yemen. However, we cannot ignore Houthi actions. We have condemned the Houthis' dangerous military escalation, including cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and their renewed offensive on Marib. In addition, the UN Security Council recently adopted a UK drafted resolution sanctioning Houthi official Sultan Zabin for the use of sexual violence as a tool of war. We must address the Houthi sense of impunity to make progress on the peace process.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are reducing the amount of aid they provide to Yemen.

The UK is facing the worst economic contraction in over 300 years, and a budget deficit of close to £400 billion. As announced last year, given the impact of this global pandemic on the economy and, as a result, the public finances, we will move to a target of spending 0.5% of Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2021.

On 1 March, the Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa announced that the UK will provide at least £87 million to Yemen over the course of our next financial year (2021/22), with the UK contributing over £1 billion since the conflict began. Our funding will feed an additional 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month, support 400 healthcare clinics and provide clean water for 1.6 million people. We will also provide one-off cash support to 1.5 million of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of the United Arab Emirates about the (1) continued detention, and (2) treatment, of Michael Smith; and when they last made any such representations.

The British Embassy Dubai sent a Note Verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August 2019 to clarify the terms of Mr Smith's continued detention. The FCDO Director of Consular Services also raised Mr Smith's detention in August 2019. We continue to speak with the local authorities regarding Mr Smith's welfare. Consular staff most recently spoke to the prison doctor on 28 January 2021.

Consular staff work incredibly hard and do all they can to assist people who ask for our help. We offer tailored support based on an assessment of a person's specific needs and circumstances.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from (1) NGOs, and (2) others, about (a) the World Trade Organization’s proposed ‘Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19’ (IP/C/W/669), and (b) the need of developing countries for immediate access to the COVID-19 vaccines currently available; what assessment they have made of any such representations; and what assessment they have made of (i) the humanitarian needs of people in developing countries, and (ii) the need to avoid new opportunities for the development and spread of COVID-19 mutations.

The UK is committed to rapid, equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, and has committed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to ensure COVID-19 vaccine access for low- and middle-income countries. We do not consider waiving intellectual property (IP) rights to be an appropriate course of action in boosting the manufacturing of safe, effective, and quality vaccines. The existing intellectual property framework has mobilised research and development to deliver a host of new medicines and technologies to detect, treat, and defend against COVID-19.

According to the UN Global Humanitarian Overview, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021. Humanitarian needs are the largest on record, driven in large part by the direct and indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK is a major humanitarian donor, providing over £2 billion in assistance to humanitarian crises in the last financial year. The emergence of new COVID-19 variants serves as a powerful reminder that viruses mutate by their very nature. As a result, over 4000 SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified across the globe. The UK's world-leading genomic sequencing continues to monitor these variants as they arise and develop, and we will offer this expertise to identify new variants to countries who do not have the resources to do so.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the health situation in Gaza; and how much financial assistance they intend to provide to that region to meet any health-related need.

The UK remains concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza and the impact of COVID-19 on an already fragile healthcare system. We are pleased that the OPTs will be among the first to benefit from the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines, with delivery of a first batch of more than 37,000 doses of the of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine anticipated in mid-February.

The UK was one of the first donors to provide funding to support the health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the OPTs. We have provided £1.25m funding (WHO with £630,000 and UNICEF with £620,000) to purchase and co-ordinate delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline health workers and scale up laboratory testing capacity - mainly in Gaza. The FCDO is currently running a prioritisation exercise across all its programmes, to ensure that every pound we spend goes as far as possible. The Foreign Secretary will communicate the outcome shortly.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Kenya about the clashes on the Kenya–Somalia border between 24 and 26 January.

The UK works closely with both Somalia and Kenya on matters of security and regional stability. The Secretary of State for Defence visited Kenya and Somalia from 25 to 27 January and urged both countries to focus on their many shared interests in these areas and work together to reduce border tensions.

In response to the reported recent clashes near the Kenya-Somalia border we have also encouraged regional institutions, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to conduct independent fact-finding missions and promote conflict resolution measures. We have no basis on which to believe that UK-trained troops were involved. The UK provides training to Somali National Army units in Somalia's South West State, to support internal stability and counter Al-Shabaab, but not in the state of Jubaland where the clashes were reported.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether any Kenya Defence Forces personnel assisted the forces loyal to the Jubaland state government that were involved in clashes on the Kenya–Somalia border between 24 and 26 January.

The UK works closely with both Somalia and Kenya on matters of security and regional stability. The Secretary of State for Defence visited Kenya and Somalia from 25 to 27 January and urged both countries to focus on their many shared interests in these areas and work together to reduce border tensions.

In response to the reported recent clashes near the Kenya-Somalia border we have also encouraged regional institutions, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to conduct independent fact-finding missions and promote conflict resolution measures. We have no basis on which to believe that UK-trained troops were involved. The UK provides training to Somali National Army units in Somalia's South West State, to support internal stability and counter Al-Shabaab, but not in the state of Jubaland where the clashes were reported.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether any UK-trained Somali National Army units were involved in clashes on the Kenya–Somalia border between 24 and 26 January.

The UK works closely with both Somalia and Kenya on matters of security and regional stability. The Secretary of State for Defence visited Kenya and Somalia from 25 to 27 January and urged both countries to focus on their many shared interests in these areas and work together to reduce border tensions.

In response to the reported recent clashes near the Kenya-Somalia border we have also encouraged regional institutions, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to conduct independent fact-finding missions and promote conflict resolution measures. We have no basis on which to believe that UK-trained troops were involved. The UK provides training to Somali National Army units in Somalia's South West State, to support internal stability and counter Al-Shabaab, but not in the state of Jubaland where the clashes were reported.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they intend to have with the government of the United States about the impact on the food and health situation for the people of Yemen of the decision to designate Ansar Allah as a foreign terrorist organisation and a specially designated terrorist entity; and what steps they are taking in response to any such impact.

We share the concerns raised by the UN and NGOs about the impact of designation on what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis. We have already engaged with the US to urge them to ensure that the vital humanitarian response, including food supplies, is not disrupted and will raise this urgently with the new administration. Our priority is to support the UN's peace process and ensure lifesaving humanitarian aid can reach the millions of Yemenis in need.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of an increase of COVID-19 cases in Gaza, what action they are taking with international partners to support the health care system in that region.

The UK remains concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza and the impact of COVID-19 on an already fragile healthcare system. Recognising the severity of the situation, we were one of the first donors to provide funding to support the health and humanitarian response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We have provided £1.25 million funding (the World Health Organisation with £630,000 and the United Nations Children's Fund with £620,000) to purchase and co-ordinate delivery of medical equipment, treat critical care patients, train frontline health workers and scale up laboratory testing capacity - mainly in Gaza.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the level of food insecurity in Palestine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) has exacerbated the humanitarian and food insecurity situation. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, food insecurity, driven by high poverty and unemployment, affected 1.6 million Palestinians - nearly a third of the population in OPTs.

We recognise the importance of tackling food insecurity. To support, we are providing £2.5 million to the World Food Programme to provide food and cash assistance to the most vulnerable Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza. We have also contributed £1 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's Emergency Appeal in the OPTs which will help provide emergency food to over one million food-insecure refugees in Gaza.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of the shortage of oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients in Gaza; and what steps they are taking, if any, to address any such shortage.

We remain concerned about the capacity of the Palestinian health system to cope with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, especially in Gaza. We welcome the recent 30% increase in hospital beds for patients suffering critical and severe cases and the recent procurement by World Health Organisation of two additional oxygen generators. The UK continues to monitor the situation closely.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding by the Foreign Secretary and the Egyptian Foreign Minister on 6 November 2015, what representations they have made to the government of Egypt about its use of anti-terrorist charges against (1) Karim Ennarah, (2) Mohammed Basheer, and (3) Gasser Abdel Razeq; and what discussions they have had with that government about the evidence on which such charges are based.

We welcome the release of Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer. The UK was clear from the outset that we had serious concerns about their arrest and detention, concerns shared by likeminded international partners. The Foreign Secretary raised the issue with his Egyptian counterpart on 19 November, the first Foreign Minister to do so. We continue to take a close interest in this case. We continue to have regular discussions with the Government of Egypt on human rights issues, raising concerns where we have them.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Egypt about the release of (1) Karim Ennarah, (2) Mohammed Basheer, and (3) Gasser Abdel Razeq; and what representations they have made to the government of Egypt about the importance of the work by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights in upholding human rights.

We welcome the release of Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer. The UK was clear from the outset that we had serious concerns about their arrest and detention, concerns shared by likeminded international partners. The Foreign Secretary raised the issue with his Egyptian counterpart on 19 November, the first Foreign Minister to do so. We continue to take a close interest in this case. We continue to have regular discussions with the Government of Egypt on human rights issues, raising concerns where we have them.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees cannot afford to pay the salaries of its staff,  what steps they are taking to support that agency.

The UK is a long-term supporter of UNRWA, and we recognise UNRWA's unique mandate from the UN General Assembly to protect and provide protection and core services to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East. We are providing £51m to UNRWA in 2020/2021. Reports that UNRWA may not be able to pay the salaries of its staff in full are very worrying. To that end, the UK is working with UNRWA and other donors to improve UNRWA's financial viability. This includes broadening UNRWA's donor base, and encouraging multi-year funding.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to secure the release of senior political detainees, including Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Turki bin Abdullah, in advance of the forthcoming G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia.

The UK will participate in the G20 Summit, which is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September noting our human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia and calling for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to their participation at the forthcoming G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia in view of the human rights record of Saudi Arabia and the detention of senior political prisoners including Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

The UK will participate in the G20 Summit, which is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. We raise concerns about individual cases regularly, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Embassy in Riyadh. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September noting our human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia and calling for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and are monitoring the situation closely.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs has been invited to attend a session of the House of Commons International Development Committee; if so, whether any such invitation has been accepted; and if not, why not.

The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs has been invited to attend a session of the House of Commons International Development Committee. He has informed the Committee of his intention to give evidence at the earliest opportunity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking (1) unilaterally, and (2) multilaterally, to protect lower and middle income countries from adverse impacts of COVID-19 on literacy rates.

Education is a top priority for this Government and FCDO is taking decisive steps internationally to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on learning. We have adapted our bilateral education programmes in 18 countries to provide child protection, continuity of learning (e.g. through radio and home learning kits) and are helping schools prepare to re-open safely. Improving foundational skills, especially getting more children reading by the age of ten, is central to our plan to ensure more girls benefit from 12 years of quality education.

Multilaterally, we are also leading efforts to build back better in education and protect learning. The UK is partnering with Kenya to co-host the 2021 Global Partnership for Education (GPE) financing summit, and as the largest donor, supported establishment of a dedicated $500 million COVID-19 accelerated funding window to maintain basic education. We topped up our contribution to the global fund Education Cannot Wait, to which we are the also the largest donor, and provided funding to support an additional 5,500 teachers in refugee camps via the UN refugee agency.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the analysis by Oxfam, published on 18 August, that on average one air raid has hit civilian infrastructure in Yemen every 10 days since March 2015; what action they have taken to curb such air raids; and what assessment they have made of the implications of those air raids on their policy towards Yemen.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is deeply concerned by reports of damage to civilian infrastructure from airstrikes in Yemen. The FCDO has reviewed Oxfam's report as part of the export licensing process, which draws on wide range of information from NGOs, UN bodies and other sources. The Government takes its export responsibilities seriously and assesses all export licences in accordance with strict licensing criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that peace talks in Yemen are inclusive of women, youth and civil society.

The UK champions and supports the important role women, youth and civil society can play in ending the conflict in Yemen. We are a global leader on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and the penholder on UNSCR 1325 at the Security Council.

We continue to support the work of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, who is actively engaging women in the peace process. We also fund Senior Gender Advisor and Senior Inclusion Advisor positions in his office. Complementing the UN's efforts to deliver a durable and sustainable peace deal, the UK's Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) supports a range of Track II (Influential Figures) and Track III (Civil Society and Local Groups) initiatives which promote a more inclusive political dialogue. We also support the Yemeni Women's Pact for Peace and Security (through UN Women), which aims to increase female leadership and inclusion in the peace processes, as well as a variety of projects aimed at supporting the work of grassroots women leaders and civil society organisations in communities across Yemen.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to recognise the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons on 26 September.

The Government will not attend the United Nations event on 2 October to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which is used by states to promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Government has no plans to recognise the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. However, we remain committed to disarmament, and to building the confidence and transparency we believe is vital to deliver our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We believe further progress towards this goal can only be made through gradual multilateral disarmament, using a step-by-step approach under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Government regularly engages in constructive discussions on disarmament. Most recently UK officials attended an event to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests on 26 August.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government at what level they will be represented at the United Nations General Assembly special high-level meeting on 2 October to recognise the significance of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

The Government will not attend the United Nations event on 2 October to mark the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, which is used by states to promote the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The Government has no plans to recognise the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. However, we remain committed to disarmament, and to building the confidence and transparency we believe is vital to deliver our long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We believe further progress towards this goal can only be made through gradual multilateral disarmament, using a step-by-step approach under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The Government regularly engages in constructive discussions on disarmament. Most recently UK officials attended an event to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests on 26 August.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement made by the Saudi Arabia Human Rights Commission on 27 August that the public prosecutor has referred the death sentences of child defendants Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher for review; what steps they intend to take to ensure that the review is carried out effectively and expediently; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Saudi Arabia about (1) the speedy release of those defendants, and (2) the abolition of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for all individuals charged with crimes committed as children, including Mohammed al-Faraj.

We welcome the recent announcement from the Saudi Public Prosecutor that Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher will have their cases reviewed. The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. This is especially the case for juveniles and for crimes other than the most serious. This is in line with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. In August, our Chargé d'affaires in Riyadh raised the issue of the death penalty with Minister of State Al Jubeir, including Mohammad al-Faraj's case. We will continue to monitor and raise concerns about the cases of al-Nimr, al-Marhoon, al-Zaher and al-Faraj. We regularly raise our concerns about the use of the death penalty with the Saudi Arabian authorities. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised the death penalty with Dr Awwad al Awwad, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission during his virtual visit in July. I raised the death penalty in a call with Dr Awwad in June and raised a range of human rights concerns during my visit last September. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights during his visit in March this year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last raised the cases of Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah and Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid with the government of Bahrain; and which individuals and government bodies (1) in the UK, and (2) in Bahrain, have been involved in senior level representation.

We last raised the cases of Zuhair Ibrahim Jasim Abdullah and Hussein Abdullah Khalil Rashid at a senior level with the Government of Bahrain via the British Embassy in Bahrain in July. The Government of Bahrain is fully aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they will make to the government of Bahrain about political prisoners at risk of execution, including the cases of (1) Mohamed Ramadan, (2) Husain Moosa, (3) Maher al-Khabbaz, (4) Salman Salman, (5) Hussein Ebrahim, (6) Mohammad Hassan, (7) Sayed Al-Abar, (8) Hussein Mohamed, (9) Hussein Marzooq, (10) Moosa Jafaar, (11) Zuhair Ibrahim, and (12) Husain Rashid.

We are following these cases, all of whom have been convicted of the murder of police officers, civilians or both, and will continue to make the Government of Bahrain aware that the UK is firmly opposed to the death penalty, in all circumstances. I reiterated our long standing opposition to the death penalty in my meeting with the Bahraini Minister of Foreign Affairs on 7 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement of the Global Human Rights sanctions regime, what actions they are taking to pursue those responsible for the abuse, torture and disappearances in Chechnya since the late 1990s.

We remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, including in Chechnya. In December 2018 the UK was one of 16 countries to invoke the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism, requiring an independent OSCE investigation into reports of serious human rights violations in the region. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism's independent 2018 report confirmed allegations of serious human rights violations in Chechnya including unlawful detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. We continue to urge Russia to implement the recommendations made in the Moscow Mechanism report and to end the climate of impunity for human rights abusers in Chechnya. The UK Government has raised this issue repeatedly with the Russian Government and made clear that Russia must abide by its international human rights obligations. On 17 June 2020, Minister Morton raised this with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.

As the Foreign Secretary made clear, the Global Human Rights sanctions regime gives the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. We will continue to consider designating persons under the Global Human Rights sanctions regulations in order to deter and provide accountability for serious human rights violations or abuses around in the world, as one response among other diplomatic tools.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to recognise the state of Palestine.

The UK will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. Without a negotiated settlement the occupation and the problems that come with it will continue.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the response to COVID-19 in (1) Somalia, (2) Sudan, and (3) Yemen, is conflict sensitive.

We continue to work closely with international partners towards peace in Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, as in other countries in conflict that have been impacted by COVID-19. The UK supports the UN Secretary-General's call for a global ceasefire in armed conflicts. In each of Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the impacts of COVID-19 and conflict are closely intertwined, as is UK action on both

UK support for Somalia's COVID-19 response includes tackling risks of increased instability and protecting existing state-building efforts. Our action includes promoting inclusive politics, helping to maintain the state's core functions (such as revenue-raising, managing public finance and security), and supporting the resilience of communities across Somalia plagued by al-Shabaab and the risks of conflict.

Sudan was facing economic collapse even before COVID-19. The UK is taking a leading role in helping the Government of Sudan to secure the international financial support it needs to avoid this, one of the greatest risks to stability and conflict. As the second largest bilateral donor in Sudan we are working with the Government of Sudan to ensure the most vulnerable continue to receive humanitarian support, and are monitoring how COVID-19 is impacting conflict dynamics so that programming avoids contributing to instability. This includes a £6m contribution to the UN COVID-19 response plan for Sudan.

In Yemen the UK will provide up to £10 million through our new Local Peacebuilding Programme over the next three years, which includes funding a Conflict Sensitivity Platform to support humanitarian and development agencies delivering aid in Yemen to do no harm and make positive contributions to peace and stability. The programme will work with local communities to address the drivers of conflict, and in turn, strengthen social cohesion in Yemen. We are also supporting the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in his efforts to find a political solution to the conflict. Given the threat of COVID-19 it is more important than ever that both the Houthis and the Government of Yemen agree to Griffiths' proposals.

29th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Saudi Arabia about the application of its royal decree to end the death penalty for crimes committed by minors; and what clarification they have sought as to whether that decree applies to all (1) children, and (2) adults whose alleged crimes were committed while they were children, who are currently on death row.

We welcome the decision by Saudi Arabia to end the use of the death penalty as a discretionary punishment for minors, including those under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime. We will monitor the implementation of this decision.

The Saudi authorities understand our position: we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and especially in cases that involve child defendants. This position is in line with the minimum standards set out in the 2008 EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty; the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and, the Arab Charter on Human Rights.

The former Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concerns about the death penalty with Deputy Justice Minister HE Abdullah Al Sulaimi on 11 February. The Foreign Secretary also raised our human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia during his visit in March this year.

We will continue to raise our concerns with the Government of Saudi Arabia to promote the protection of all child defendants against the death penalty regardless of the crime committed. We will encourage the authorities to review death penalty judgements for all minors, or individuals who were minors when the crime was committed.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the statistics published by Military Court Watch showing that in February, of the Palestinian security prisoners held by Israel, 81 per cent of adults and 75 per cent of children were held in Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the fourth Geneva Convention; and what was the outcome of any such representations.

The UK has serious concerns about the continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention. We continue to fund projects providing legal aid to minors and capacity building to local lawyers. Specifically, we advocate for the Israeli authorities to inform more consistently detainees of their legal rights. We continue to make representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions, if any, they have had with the government of Iran on the rights of women in that country.

We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record, including the rights of women who continue to face widespread discrimination. Iran has also been identified as a Human Rights Priority Country and the UK regularly calls on Iran to uphold its international human rights obligations. At the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, I reiterated the message that the promotion and protection of human rights remains a priority for the British Government for 2020 and beyond.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of escalating violence and human rights abuses towards Anglophone communities in Cameroon; and what steps they are taking to prevent any continued violence or abuse.

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for an end to the violence and investigations into all reports of human rights violations and abuses. We continue to maintain a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, at the United Nations (UN) and with international partners. The Government of Cameroon convened a National Dialogue in October 2019, and legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions was passed in December. These are welcome initial steps forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the crisis.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of harassment experienced by BBC personnel in Iran; and what action they are taking in response.

We condemn the judicial persecution of family members of employees and ex-employees of BBC Persian, and are deeply concerned by the reports of any threats against journalists in the UK. The British Government is committed to the promotion of media freedom, which is vital to functioning societies, and the principle that journalists must be able to investigate and report as they see fit. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues including restrictions on media freedom. On 29 January, the UK alongside Canada co-hosted the first official meeting of the Media Freedom Coalition in Geneva, a partnership of 35 countries working together to advocate the safety of journalists worldwide and to defend media freedom.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to (1) President Biya, and (2) the government of Cameroon, about that government's participation in the talks on the future of Cameroon proposed by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

During a visit to Cameroon in September 2019 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Permanent Under-Secretary urged the Government of Cameroon to undertake a national dialogue that was comprehensive and inclusive, and could deliver a lasting peace in the Anglophone regions. At a UN Security Council briefing session on 6 December 2019, the UK welcomed the National Dialogue called by the government, bringing parties together in early October. It is imperative that the Government of Cameroon continues to engage in inclusive discussions and helps deliver all the recommendations made from October’s dialogue.

We welcome the Swiss Government and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue mediation efforts between parties in Cameroon. We urge the Government of Cameroon to remain engaged in this process. The British High Commissioner to Cameroon regularly engages in high-level discussions with the Government of Cameroon on the Anglophone crisis, including the mediation process led by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. The UK stands ready to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statistics collected by Military Court Watch from the testimonies of Palestinian children who were detained by the Israeli military in the West Bank in 2019, published in May, and its findings that (1) 52 per cent were arrested at night, (2) 95 per cent were hand-tied, often painfully, (3) 91 per cent were blindfolded in contravention of the recommendations of Unicef, (4) 69 per cent experienced some form of physical abuse such as slapping, kicking and punching, (5) 67 per cent experienced threats, and (6) 74 per cent reported being denied access to a lawyer prior to questioning; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Israel about those testimonies.

​We are extremely concerned about the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons. Reports of the heavy use of painful restraints and the high number of Palestinian children who are not informed of their legal rights, in contravention of Israel's own regulations, are particularly concerning. We continue to make representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue and we remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding Palestinian children in detention in Israel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Egypt about the imprisonment and treatment of former President Morsi before his death in court; and what is their current assessment of the state of human rights in Egypt.

​We have been following recent developments in Egypt carefully and have been receiving regular updates. We await the results of the independent forensic report ordered by the Egyptian Prosecutor General into the causes and circumstances of former President Morsi's death.

Egypt is a human rights priority country for the UK, and we monitor the situation closely. We continue to voice our concerns, including in our recent statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 12 March and in our Human Rights Report, released on 5 June. In particular, prison conditions are one of our three human rights priorities in Egypt. We raise access to medical care and solitary confinement regularly with the Egyptian Government.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority is annexing land in the Palestinian Bab Al-Rahma cemetery and is digging up Palestinian graves in preparation for building a national park; and what representations they have made to the government of Israel about this.

​Whilst we have not made any assessment and have not raised this specific issue with the Israeli authorities, we continue to encourage all parties to work together to uphold the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem, including Bab Al-Rahma.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will be represented at the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Krakow on 2 August.

​The British Government will be represented at the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Krakow on 2 August by The Rt Hon Lord Pickles, Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to review and strengthen the effectiveness of conflict resolution policies of the UK to address persistent and accelerating conflict, and flashpoints, particularly in (1) Myanmar, (2) Sri Lanka, and (3) Southern Philippines; and what steps they are taking with partners in the Commonwealth, the EU, and the UN to review equivalent policies.

The UK Government’s actions in respect of addressing conflict and unrest in the regions listed include:

  • Maintaining our provision of practical support to the Myanmar Peace Process, delivered through the multi-donor Joint Peace Fund (JPF), as well as technical advice and expertise. The UK is an active member of the JPF Governance Board which includes 11 other donors including the EU, Australia and Canada. We have played a pivotal role in maintaining high level UN attention to the ongoing conflict in Myanmar.

  • Playing a leading role, together with Core Group members Canada, Germany, Macedonia and Montenegro, in achieving a new Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March. This continues Sri Lanka’s reconciliation and accountability commitments following the end of the civil war. We firmly believe that this is the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation. We will continue to refine our approach towards addressing conflict in Sri Lanka, working closely with local stakeholders and international partners including those in the Commonwealth, EU and UN.

  • We are spending £8.3m of Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) funding on interfaith dialogue, reconciliation, police reform and training, and demining in Sri Lanka. The CSSF is a cross government fund, which supports and delivers activity to tackle instability and to prevent conflicts which threaten UK interests. We regularly review and adapt our CSSF programmes to ensure they effectively contribute to post-conflict reconciliation.

  • As a founding member of the International Contact Group, a hybrid mediation support initiative supporting the peace process in Southern Philippines, the UK took active interest in the January 2019 plebiscite, which paves the way for an autonomous region for Muslim Mindanao. UK development assistance to the reconstruction in Mindanao is through multilateral partners such as the World Bank and Asia Development Bank.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to review and strengthen the effectiveness of conflict resolution policies of the UK to address persistent and accelerating conflict, and flashpoints, particularly in (1) Afghanistan, (2) Egypt, (3) Iran, (4) Iraq, (5) Libya, and (7) Syria; and what steps they are taking with partners in the Commonwealth, the EU, and the UN to review equivalent policies.

The British Government’s actions to prevent conflict in Afghanistan and in the Middle East and North Africa include:

  • Afghanistan: Continuing our close engagement with the Afghan government and our international partners to help bring about an inclusive and sustainable Afghan-led peace process as quickly as possible. We strongly support current US efforts to drive forward peace. The UK welcomed the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council in April that set out a clear path for how the EU will support peace in Afghanistan. We also support the important contribution made by the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Prospects for peace are probably better now than at any time since 2001. However, after decades of war and the lack of trust on all sides, achieving a credible and sustainable peace process is challenging.

  • Egypt: The UK plans to spend more than £50m from 2016 to 2020 to support Egypt’s continued stability, by providing economic opportunities for and protecting ordinary Egyptians, tackling radicalisation and safeguarding tourists and British nationals. The Home Office and Egyptian Ministry of Interior are committed to increasing cooperation across a wide range of areas, including counter-terrorism, illegal migration and organised crime.

  • Iran: We are working with regional and international partners to call for restraint in order to de-escalate the situation. Yet we remain determined to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, and are working with E3 partners to achieve this. This deal remains in our shared interests as long as Iran meets its commitments under the deal in full. It is a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in our shared security interests. We are deeply concerned at the heightened level of regional tension. Our priority remains de-escalation.

  • Iraq: Providing support, together with the Coalition and international partners, to the Iraqi security sector in countering the ongoing threat from Daesh, and addressing the root causes of this threat. This involves addressing the underlying political, social and economic drivers which led to Daesh’s rise. We continue to support, alongside UN partners, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) whose mandate renewal was unanimously approved on 21 May 2019. The UK held the pen on UNSCR 2379 which was unanimously adopted by the UNSC in 2017 and established the UN Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh (UNITAD). UNITAD will seek to ensure documentation and accountability for Daesh crimes and work with the Government of Iraq to support reconciliation efforts.

  • Libya: We are engaging in intensive diplomacy, involving the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, and partners in the UN and EU. The UK is clear that all parties must commit to a ceasefire, ensure humanitarian access, and return to UN-mediated political talks. The EU28 issued a statement on 12 April 2019 condemning the violence, and urging all parties to resume political dialogue.

  • Syria: Our diplomatic and programme efforts remain focused on bringing the conflict to an end through a UN-led negotiated political settlement. The UN-led Geneva process between the Syrian parties remains the forum to achieve this. We are also engaged in completing the enduring defeat of Daesh. As events unfold, we are keeping our approach under constant review.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to review and strengthen the effectiveness of conflict resolution policies of the UK to address persistent and accelerating conflict, and flashpoints, particularly in (1) Benin, (2) Burkina Faso, (3) Cameroon, (4) Central African Republic, (5) Chad, (6) Democratic Republic of the Congo, (7) Mali, (8) Nigeria, (9) Togo, (10) Somalia, and (11) Sudan; and what steps they are taking with partners in the Commonwealth, the EU, and the UN to review equivalent policies.

As outlined in our answer to HL16250, the British Government is taking a number of actions to prevent conflict. In Sub-Saharan Africa, we are:

  • Using funding from the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) which has led, for example, to the roll out of new peacekeeping-intelligence architecture in the three missions with the highest number of casualties - Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic. Our sizeable funding contribution to the UN is used as leverage to advocate for UN reform and improve the way it operates.

  • Promoting peace and security in Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali through diplomacy and targeted support. We support UN and French security efforts through direct contributions to MINUSMA in Northern Mali and the deployment of three RAF Chinook helicopters to France’s Counter-Terrorism Operation Barkhane. We work closely with the G5 and other partners to provide life-saving assistance and protection to people on the frontline of conflict. The UK is also focusing on developing programmes to tackle the long-term drivers of instability and poverty.

  • Urging all parties in Benin to engage in dialogue to overcome their differences and find a peaceful solution. We share the concerns of the EU, France, the US and the UN about acts of violence in Benin following the 28 April legislative elections.

  • Regularly addressing the situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon with international partners including the UN, EU, Commonwealth and African Union to encourage and support efforts to resolve the crisis. The UK remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in the Anglophone regions and the impact it is having on the lives of ordinary civilians. We have shared experiences with the Government of Cameroon (GoC) on conflict resolution; and remain ready to provide further support. We raised our concerns during briefings at the UN Security Council on 4 and 12 June, and led on a statement with Austria at the UN Human Rights Council in March, which was supported by 39 countries, calling on the GoC to establish a credible political dialogue to address root causes of the conflict.

  • Providing the Central African Republic (CAR) with significant humanitarian spend (£63m since 2013) and core contributions to key multilateral organisations on the ground, such as the World Bank and the EU. Support to UN peacekeeping efforts include assessed contributions (£40.5m per annum to MINUSCA peacekeeping mission and €2m to the EU Training Mission).

  • Pressing our long-term approach to stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including through significant contributions to the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). We are supporting security reforms, stabilisation and peace building initiatives through DFID programmes and the CSSF.

  • Providing training to Nigeria’s armed forces combat insurgent groups, support communities to better respond and manage the effects of violent conflict, and to support the reintegration of former members of Boko Haram. We are also working closely with the EU, US and UN to provide technical support to the Nigerian Government to address the underlying causes of intercommunal violence affecting many parts of Nigeria, including the recently announced National Livestock Transformation Plan, which aims to mitigate escalating violence between pastoralists and farmers. We are currently reviewing how we might further assist the Nigerian Government in their efforts to tackle conflict in the northeast of the country.

  • Building on the work of the UK-hosted London Conference on Somalia in 2017, which brought together Somalia’s key partners, including the UN, EU and a number of members of the Commonwealth. This established a set of agreements that provide the foundation for a more coherent international approach to Somalia with conflict resolution at its core. We are careful to ensure that all UK policies and programmes in Somalia maintain a focus on conflict sensitivity, and regularly undertake conflict analysis to support this. In particular, our work includes activity under the CSSF to address the drivers of conflict and build capacity at both local and regional levels.

  • Supporting community-based peacebuilding programmes, in concert with the UN and other international partners, namely the African Union, in areas of instability and conflict in Sudan. The UK has a long standing role in supporting sustainable peace in Sudan. As a member of the Troika and bilaterally, we have supported progress in the Peace Process seeking to find a solution to the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas. In addition the UK plays a leading role in the UN Security Council, particularly as the penholder on the mandate for UNAMID – the African Union hybrid Mission in Darfur.

  • The Minister for Africa met with Togolese President Gnassingbé and reiterated the importance of delivering 2020 Presidential elections on time and a return to inclusive politics. The UK continues to encourage all parties to avoid violence and respect the human rights of all Togolese people. The UK supports the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) brokered roadmap, along with the EU, which has seen Togo recently adopt two-term limits on presidential terms, in line with other ECOWAS states. The change however does not apply retrospectively and has been rejected by the opposition.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, both multilaterally and unilaterally, to respond to abuses and human rights abuses by the government and separatists in Cameroon; and what assessment they have made of reports that 450,000 people have been displaced since 2016.

​The British Government is deeply concerned about the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northwest and Southwest (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. We continue to raise these concerns at the highest levels. Based on UN reports we assess that over 530,000 people have been internally displaced with 35,000 UN registered refugees in Nigeria. The Minister of State for Africa raised concerns directly with the Government of Cameroon in a meeting on 30 April with Cameroon's High Commissioner to the UK and directly with the Prime Minister of Cameroon on 5 March. On 21 March the UK made a joint statement with Austria, supported by 37 other countries, at the UN Human Rights Council urging the Government of Cameroon to establish a credible dialogue to tackle root causes of the conflict. The UK welcomed the visit to Cameroon by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in May and continues to call for unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations, an end to violence and investigations into all reports of human rights violations and abuses.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to review and strengthen the effectiveness of conflict resolution policies of the UK to address persistent and accelerating conflict, and flashpoints, particularly in (1) Honduras, and (2) Nicaragua; and what steps they are taking with partners in the Commonwealth, the EU, and the UN to review equivalent policies.

​On Honduras, the UK recently joined the G16 group of donors, which supports efforts to address issues pertaining to security, human rights and the rule of law, and engages with the Honduran Government and civil society organisations. On Nicaragua, the UK has publicly called for an end to the violent repression of peaceful protests, the release of arbitrarily detained political prisoners and for the Government to engage constructively in political dialogue, including in Nicaragua's Universal Periodic Review and supporting EU Council Conclusions and statements.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to review and strengthen the effectiveness of conflict resolution policies of the UK to address persistent and accelerating conflict, and flashpoints; and what steps they are taking with partners in the Commonwealth, the EU, and the UN to review equivalent policies.

The British Government continues to strengthen its conflict prevention policies and institutions so that they are fit to meet modern challenges. The Conflict, Stability, and Security Fund (CSSF) was created in 2015 to support and deliver activity to tackle instability and to prevent conflicts, which threaten UK interests. The fund is an important driver of the government's Fusion Doctrine, which aims to improve the way cross-government capability is brought together. The CSSF is an inherently political fund which works closely with other donors, partner countries and multilateral institutions to deliver its programmes.

DFID's cadre of 70 accredited conflict advisers are deployed across DFID country offices overseas, DFID Headquarters in the UK, seconded to the FCO and the Stabilisation Unit, or embedded in international institutions. We are also working through the UK funded Women Mediators across the Commonwealth initiative, a network of over 35 peacebuilders from Commonwealth countries, currently engaged in conflict prevention and resolution efforts. We are working to ensure more women are meaningfully participating in conflict prevention, and resolution, to ensure more inclusive and sustainable peace. We will continue to look for opportunities to enhance existing training of our staff and development of early warning mechanisms. This includes continuing to work closely with the EU, UN, Commonwealth and other organisations to see how we might improve our policies.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that action on Cameroon is included in the work of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth is well placed to support Cameroon as part of efforts to address the situation in the Anglophone regions of that country. I recently exchanged letters with the Commonwealth Secretary General to encourage greater engagement with Cameroon to ensure the values of the Commonwealth Charter are respected. We remain in regular contact with the Commonwealth Secretariat and other Commonwealth member states on these issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 24 May (HL15677), whether in their discussions with the government of France they raised the impact of that country’s policies on the humanitarian situation in Cameroon; and what has been the response by the government of France to any such discussion.

​We regularly discuss the humanitarian situation in Cameroon with our French counterparts, who share our concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, as highlighted in statements made by the UK and France on 4 June at the UN Security Council briefing on the UN Regional Office on Central Africa. France supported the joint UK/Austria statement on Cameroon at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019 which called for safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations and for the establishment of an inclusive political dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict. We will continue to discuss developments in Cameroon with international partners, including France, to encourage and support efforts to resolve the crisis. It is vital that all parties now work together to secure a peaceful future for all Cameroonians.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 24 May (HL15677), what has been the outcome of their representations to the government of Cameroon about (1) the recent violence in that country, including the razing of villages and the killing of women and children, and (2) that government’s ban on the video recording of such violence.

​The UK remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon and regularly makes representations to the Government of Cameroon about high levels of violence, the urgent need for unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations and the importance of upholding human rights including freedom of expression. We welcome the recent visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of Cameroon's reported openness to working with the UN to address the severe humanitarian and human rights situation. It is imperative that urgent action is now taken by the Government of Cameroon, with the support of regional partners and the wider international community, to prevent further escalation of the crisis. This includes the establishment of a credible political dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict and the investigation of all human rights abuses and violations and abuses. The UK stands ready to support.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 29 May (HL15767), when they will assess the number of political detainees in Saudi Arabia; and what plans they have to review their policy of declining to intervene with the government of Saudi Arabia on allowing access to such detainees by independent monitors.

We closely monitor political detainees in Saudi Arabia, including women’s rights defenders. We raise concerns regularly and freely, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, including our Ambassador and Embassy team in Riyadh. The Foreign Secretary raised the detention of women’s rights defenders during his visit to Saudi Arabia in March. The British Government cannot intervene in independent monitoring or investigation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy towards the use, in all Government departments and services, of goods sourced from illegal settlements in the West Bank; and in particular, how the use of such goods applies to UK missions in Israel and Palestine.

Government departments and missions are aware of UK policy on this issue, which is that we do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including settlements in the West Bank, as part of Israel and indeed these settlements are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement which governs our trade with Israel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of the number of Palestinian children held in Israeli prisons; how many representations they have made to the government of Israel about this being a war crime under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; when those representations were made; by whom they were made; and what action they are taking under Article 146 of the Geneva Convention to provide effective penal sanctions for person committing unlawful transfers.

We understand 203 Palestinian children were in Israeli military detention at the end of December 2018. It remains our assessment that transfer of Palestinian child and adult detainees to prisons inside Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We continue to make representations to the Israeli authorities at Ministerial and senior official level outlining our concerns around Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli detention. Most recently officials at our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities on 18 March.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the suitability of the United States acting as a mediator of Israeli–Palestinian peace talks.

We continue to discuss Middle East peace efforts with the US Administration, including the Foreign Secretary with Jared Kushner on 10 April. We continue to encourage the US Administration to bring forward detailed proposals for a viable Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement that addresses the legitimate concerns of both parties.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking, and plan to take, to safeguard Khan al-Ahmar and other Bedouin villages from demolition; and what representations they have made to the government of Israel in this respect.

We regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities at senior levels, including with the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Attorney General, urging them not to go ahead with the proposed demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv discussed this issue with the Israeli National Security Council on 7 March and the Israeli Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories on 3 January. Officials from our Consulate General in Jerusalem continue to visit the Khan al-Ahmar community regularly, most recently on 28 March. The UK has repeatedly called on Israel to abandon demolition plans entirely, and instead provide a transparent route for construction for Palestinians in Area C.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the effectiveness of guidance given to UK businesses and banks against trading with illegal settlements in the West Bank; and what action they will take to strengthen that guidance where necessary.

​We routinely update our guidance to British businesses on the Overseas Business Risk website. We advise 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 Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the amount of UK financial involvement with illegal settlements in the West Bank; and what action they will take to curb it.

We have not made an assessment of this issue. It has long been our position that Israeli settlement activity is illegal. We do not recognise the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the settlements in the West Bank, as part of Israel and these settlements are not covered by the current EU-Israel Association Agreement which governs our trade with Israel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they will take to secure the release of political detainees in Saudi Arabia.

The British Government is concerned about allegations of mistreatment of those detained in Saudi Arabia because of their political views. We continue to monitor these cases. We consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to challenge it wherever and whenever it occurs. We have explained our position at Ministerial level to the Saudi authorities and will continue to do so. We also regularly raise concerns using diplomatic channels of communication, including our Ambassador. ​

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they will take should the evidence of the torture of political detainees in Saudi Arabia continue.

The British Government is concerned about allegations of mistreatment of those detained in Saudi Arabia because of their political views. We continue to monitor these cases. We consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to challenge it wherever and whenever it occurs. We have explained our position at Ministerial level to the Saudi authorities and will continue to do so. We also regularly raise concerns using diplomatic channels of communication, including our Ambassador. ​

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to assess any negative impact on Palestinians of the policies of business operating in, or with, Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

We routinely update our guidance to British businesses on the Overseas Business Risk website. We advise British businesses to bear in mind the British Government's view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. It has long been our position that Israeli settlement activity is illegal and undermines the viability of two states for two peoples. Ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but the British Government neither encourages nor offers support to such activity.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they use to judge when the recognition of the state of Palestine would be appropriate.

We will recognise a Palestinian state at a time when it best serves the objective of peace. Bilateral recognition in itself cannot end the occupation. Without a negotiated settlement, the occupation and the problems that come with it will continue. The UK is strongly committed to a two-state solution as the best way to bring about stability and peace in the region.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to obtain proof of life for all political detainees held in Saudi Arabia, including Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

The British Government is very concerned about allegations of mistreatment of those detained in Saudi Arabia because of their political views. While we have not requested this information from the Saudi authorities, we continue to monitor the case of Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to secure access by independent monitors to all political detainees currently held without charge in Saudi Arabia.

The British Government is very concerned about allegations of mistreatment of those detained in Saudi Arabia because of their political views. We continue to monitor these cases. We consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to challenge it wherever and whenever it occurs. We have raised concerns about these cases at Ministerial level a number of times with the Saudi authorities and will continue to do so. We also regularly raise concerns using diplomatic channels of communication, including our Ambassador. Saudi Arabia maintains that the issue of detentions is an internal judicial matter. The British Government cannot intervene in independent monitoring or investigation.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what involvement the UK currently has in conflict resolution in Cameroon; what plans they have, if any, to raise the conflict in Cameroon at the UN Security Council; and what representations they have made to the government of France about the impact of its policies on the government of Cameroon.

​The UK continues to be deeply concerned at high levels of violence in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, reports of human rights violations and abuses and the severe impact the deteriorating humanitarian situation is having on ordinary civilians. We continue to call for an end to violence on all sides and urge the Government of Cameroon to establish a credible political dialogue to address the root causes of the crisis. The UK has shared experiences with the Government on conflict resolution; we remain ready to provide further support. On 13 May, the UK participated in an informal discussion on Cameroon at the UN Security Council, noting that dialogue and humanitarian assistance were needed to exit the crisis. The UK also raised concerns in a statement at the bi-annual UN Office for Central Africa briefing in the UN Security Council on 13 December 2018, calling for urgent action by the Government to prevent further conflict. The UK regularly discusses developments in Cameroon with international partners, including France and the US, to encourage and support efforts to resolve the crisis.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th May 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Bahrain about the imminent execution of Ali al-Arab and Ahmed al-Malali; and about the legal processes which led to their sentences.

We are closely following the cases of Mr Almalali and Mr Alarab and have raised the cases with the Bahraini Government. The UK's position on the use of the death penalty is longstanding and clear; we oppose its use in all circumstances and countries. The Government of Bahrain are fully aware of our position. The British Government consistently and unreservedly condemns torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to combat it wherever and whenever it occurs. We urge allegations of this nature to be reported to the appropriate national human rights oversight bodies and continue to encourage these oversight bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any such concerns or allegations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Apr 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the resignation of senior permanent judge Christoph Flügge from the Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at the Hague on the grounds of political interference in the independent judicial functions of the court system by the United States and Turkey.

​We note the resignation of Judge Flügge from the International Residual Mechanism Criminal Tribunal (IRMCT) in January 2019.

The British Government supports the important role of the IRMCT in ending impunity for the most serious international crimes within its remit. We welcome the United Nations Secretary-General's [António Guterres] appointment of Judge Claudia Hoefer of Germany to the IRMCT, who will serve for the remainder of Judge Flügge's term of office.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Mar 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia about the detention, treatment and torture of Eman al-Nafjan and the other female prisoners whose trial began on 13 March; and what response they have received to any such representations.

We are closely following the case of Eman al-Nafjan and other women's rights activists. We continue to raise our concerns with the Saudi authorities about the alleged mistreatment and torture of women's rights activists in detention. We consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and it is a priority for us to challenge it wherever and whenever it occurs.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Feb 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they provide support to Palestinians brought before Israeli military courts in the West Bank to ensure that they have access to legal representation; and if so, whether they seek reimbursement for any such support from the government of Israel.

We are concerned by aspects of the Israeli military justice and detention system. We continue to fund projects providing legal aid to minors and capacity building to local lawyers. The British legal charity "Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights" has implemented a 'Know Your Rights' campaign in partnership with Defence for Children International-Palestine which works on projects, focused on protecting and promoting Palestinian human rights in the occupied West Bank if detained in Israel's military detention system. We remain committed to working with Israel to secure improvements to the practices surrounding Palestinians, including children, in detention in Israel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the blog by Saferworld Arms Trade Treaty report card for 2018: must try harder, published on 31 October 2018; whether they intend to take steps in response; and if so, what.

​Her Majesty's Government regularly engages at official level with Non-Government Organisations, including Saferworld, on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), and considers civil society suggestions on ways to enhance the ATT. We share some of their concerns about the implementation of the Treaty and are fully committed to working with a wide range of stakeholders to improve the operation of the Treaty, in line with its purpose and objectives. We are open to further official level engagement on the specific proposals.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia about the treatment of Samar Badawi, Shadan al-Onezi, Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul and Aziza al-Yousef, social activists who have been held in detention since May 2018 and who have allegedly been subject to torture, solitary confinement, sexual harassment and abusive interrogation; and what action they have taken to assist in securing access to those women by those concerned about their predicament including British parliamentarians.

​The British Government is very concerned about the allegations that women's rights activists have been subject to torture during pre-trial detention in Saudi Arabia. We have raised concerns a number of times about these cases at Ministerial level with the Saudi authorities and will do so again. We consistently and unreservedly condemn torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We raise our concerns wherever and whenever it occurs.

The UK is aware of the request made by the Detention Review Panel. The UK welcomes visits by Parliamentarians to enable greater bilateral understanding. We encourage Saudi Arabia to respond to the request.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken over the past month to promote policy formulation within the Commonwealth and the UN in keeping with other commitments to peace making, conflict resolution and conflict pre-emption to ensure appropriate action is being taking within those bodies to promote the fulfilment of those objectives in Cameroon.

On 13 December the UN Security Council received a briefing from the UN Special Representative for the UN Regional Office in Central Africa. The UK set out the need for the Government of Cameroon to address the situation in the Anglophone regions of the country through inclusive dialogue, confidence-building measures such as releasing detainees, decentralisation and implementing the bilingualism committee's recommendations, allowing full humanitarian and human rights access, and ensuring accountability for violations. The UK announced £2.5 million funding for the UN humanitarian response. We will continue to urge the UN to take an active role in addressing the crisis. The Commonwealth is well placed to support the Government of Cameroon to build a meaningful and inclusive dialogue. The UK will continue to discuss the situation in Cameroon with the Commonwealth Secretariat and other member states where appropriate, as it does a range of issues relating to the Commonwealth's fundamental political values, which are enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government which ministers have had direct discussion within the past month with the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth about the conflict in Cameroon; when next they will continue those discussions; and what has been the Secretary-General's response.

Ministers have not held discussions with the Commonwealth Secretary-General in the past month on Cameroon. The UK will continue to work alongside the international community, including through the Commonwealth, the EU, the African Union and the UN, to encourage and support efforts to resolve the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Nov 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that rules introduced by Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 apply only to conventional weapons, without prejudice to any other rules of international law applicable to other types of weapons, and in particular do not regulate or prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.

​The position of the United Kingdom remains that the rules introduced by the Protocol apply exclusively to conventional weapons without prejudice to any other rules of international law applicable to other types of weapons. In particular, the rules so introduced do not have any effect on and do not regulate or prohibit the use of nuclear weapons.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the context of international law, what assessment they have made of the case for referring the government of Israel to the International Criminal Court if the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar goes ahead; what factors they have taken into account in any such assessment; and what arrangements, if any, they have made to make such a referral.

We have not made an assessment of this. The UK remains deeply concerned about Israel’s planned demolition of the village of Khan al-Ahmar. Khan al-Ahmar is located in an area of strategic importance for the contiguity of a future Palestinian state. Its demolition threatens a major blow to the prospects for a two-state solution. At Prime Minister’s Questions on 17 October, the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s strong opposition to Israel’s proposed demolition of Khan al-Ahmar. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised our concerns with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 11 October.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) representations they are making to the government of Israel, and (2) steps they are taking in concert with other parties, to prevent the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar.

​At Prime Minister’s Questions on 17 October, the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s strong opposition to Israel’s proposed demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and urged Israel to reconsider these plans. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa also raised concerns with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 11 October. We also issued a statement on 10 September along with France, Germany, Spain and Italy reiterating our call to the Israeli Government not to go ahead with its plan to demolish the village – including its school – and displace its residents.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions of the report by Human Rights Watch Hiding Behind the Coalition: Failure to Credibly Investigate and Provide Redress for Unlawful Attacks in Yemen, published 24 August, that the Joint Incidents Assessment Team of the Saudi–UAE coalition lacks credibility and fails to provide credible, impartial and transparent investigations into alleged coalition laws-of-war violations; and whether, following that report, they intend to conduct their own investigation into the impact of air strikes and potential violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen.

The UK regularly encourages Saudi Arabia to conduct thorough and conclusive investigations into reports of alleged violations of international humanitarian law. The Coalition Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) is unparalleled in the region.

We welcome the release by the JIAT of the outcome of over 85 investigations into incidents of alleged breaches of international humanitarian law in Yemen. We continue to believe that Saudi Arabia has the best insight into their own military procedures, in line with the standards we set for ourselves and our allies.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the finding by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in its report Situation of human rights in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014, published 17 August, that it has reasonable grounds to believe that individuals in the government of Yemen and the Saudi–UAE coalition may have conducted attacks in violation of the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution that may amount to war crimes.

This UN report further underlines the deeply concerning human rights situation in Yemen and the importance of reaching a political solution to this conflict. We believe it is important to give the Group of Eminent Experts more time to fully examine the conflict and to ensure that its conclusions accurately reflect the conduct of all parties in future reporting. The UK joined the consensus on the Resolution that established the Group of Eminent Experts last year and we hope the UN Human Rights Council will renew its existing mandate this year.

We regularly raise the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law with the Saudi Arabian Government and other members of the Coalition. The Saudi-led Coalition Joint Incidents Assessment Team has so far announced the findings of over 85 investigations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to the government of Myanmar to address the issues and policies which have led to the Rohingya refugee crisis.

​The Government has consistently urged the Government of Burma to address the underlying issues in Rakhine, including discrimination against the Rohingya community. The UK supported the Rakhine Advisory Commission (RAC) and continues to push for full implementation of the RAC's recommendations as the best opportunity for a long-term and sustainable settlement in Rakhine State. The Minister for Asia and the Pacific discussed the situation in Rakhine during a telephone conversation with Minister for International Co-operation Kyaw Tin on 17 August whilst in the region. The UK has consistently raised the crisis in multilateral settings; most recently I chaired a session at the UN Security Council on 28 August under the UK's Presidency, and also raised the issue of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Community during my address to the Human Right's council on 17 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Jun 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian consequences and the implications for the peace process of an attack by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates backed troops on the city of Hodeida in Yemen; and what action they are taking, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to prevent such an attack.

We are in regular contact with the Coalition about the need to ensure that any military operations in and around Hodeidah are conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law, including in relation to the protection of civilians, and do not disrupt commercial and humanitarian flows through the port. The Coalition has assured us that it is incorporating humanitarian concerns into operational plans. It is vital to maintain the flow of food, fuel and medical supplies into Yemen. For their part the Houthis must not compromise port facilities or hinder the humanitarian response.

It remains imperative to resume work towards a comprehensive political settlement. Lasting peace and stability in Yemen will require dialogue and negotiation. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths is due to update the Security Council soon on his proposals for a negotiated settlement. We call upon all parties to throw their weight behind his efforts, for the sake of the Yemeni people and the security of Yemen's neighbours.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jun 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what bilateral and multilateral steps they are taking to uphold both international law and the principles of the Balfour Declaration to call for Israel to halt plans for the demolition of Khan Al Ahmar, the home of a Palestinian Bedouin community.

The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 1 June stating that the UK is deeply concerned by the proposed demolition of the village of Khan al-Ahmar, noting the UN has said that the proposed demolitions could amount to “forcible transfer”, in violation of International Humanitarian Law and urging Israel not to proceed. The Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa visited the community on 30 May to stress UK concerns about the impact of the court case and in his meetings with the Israeli government he urged them to reconsider options so the community did not have to move, and pressed for more Palestinian planning applications to be approved.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the short and long-term consequences for the UK and Europe of any collapse of the 1987 US–Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; and what consultation they have had with other European governments to seek to avert such an eventuality and to mitigate its implications.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has made a valuable contribution to Euro-Atlantic security for over 30 years. The Treaty eliminates Russian and US ground-launched missiles with ranges from 500 km to 5,500 km. Neither the US nor Russia has said that they wish to denounce the Treaty, or what they would do if it were no longer in force. We welcome efforts by the US and other NATO Allies to preserve the Treaty.

We have discussed the Treaty with our NATO Allies on many occasions at both Ministerial and official level. The Treaty remains important for security in Europe. NATO has urged Russia to resolve serious concerns about its compliance with the Treaty. NATO remains the world's largest military alliance, and we remain completely confident in its ability to deter and defend against, all threats.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the government of the United States on the decision no longer to refer to the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” in the United States State Department’s report, Israel and the Golan Heights 2017 Human Rights Report, published on 20 April, for the first time since the State Department began to issue Human Rights Reports in 1999; what is their assessment of the implications of this change for international law and United States policy; and whether they will re-affirm their own position on those territories and on Gaza.

While we have not raised this specific issue with the US, the UK position remains clear. We consider that the level of control that Israel retains over the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza amounts to occupation under international law, Hence Israel’s presence is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. The UK is firmly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights and compliance with international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and we continue to call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the United States State Department’s report, Israel and the Golan Heights 2017 Human Rights Report, published on 20 April, in particular (1) its reference to the conclusion of the UNICEF Report of 2013 that “the maltreatment of Palestinian children appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised”, and (2) its reference to the findings of the Military Court Watch, based on 400 testimonies collected since 2013, that 90 per cent of children continue to be denied access to a lawyer prior to questioning; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Israel on those issues.

The treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention remains a human rights priority for the UK. We will continue to call upon Israel to improve its practices in line with international law and obligations. We have offered to help the Israeli authorities through expert-to-expert talks with British officials. That offer still stands. While we recognise that Israel has made some improvements, it needs to do much more to safeguard vulnerable people in its care. Most recently I raised the issue of children in detention with Israeli Justice Minister Shaked during my trip to the region in April 2018.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd May 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 1 May (HL6988), in which they state that their policy towards preventing mass atrocities and promoting prevention and peace building activity “begins with actively looking out for countries with signs of instability, to reduce the risks of violence, promote good governance, support the rule of law, building inclusive societies, and enabling effective judicial and security sector reform” what progress they are making to assist reducing tensions in Cameroon.

The British Government remains concerned by the situation in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. We are keen to see the violence stop, political prisoners released, and creation of a meaningful process of national dialogue to address the core issues.

During the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Yang, and the Minister for Africa met Commonwealth Minister Mbayu. Both pressed for action to resolve the dispute, making clear that the UK stands ready to help. The Minister for Africa pressed these points again when she met the Secretary General of the Presidency on Thursday 3 May. President Biya has committed to dialogue. The British Government believes a meaningful, inclusive process must start swiftly.

We will continue to engage with the Government of Cameroon and underline that all parties have a responsibility to work for peace and stability and to use legal and peaceful means to voice grievances.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to Leading by Example: Reforming UK Nuclear Declaratory Policy, the briefing by the British American Security Information Council, and, in particular, its recommendation that the UK should maintain its lead role in multilateral disarmament by (1) explicitly declaring that UK nuclear weapons are only there to deter nuclear use or blackmail when the survival of the UK is in question, (2) strengthening the UK's negative security assurances to non-nuclear states, (3) committing never to use nuclear weapons first, and (4) clarifying that the UK's nuclear weapons are weapons of last resort, and what is meant by that.

The UK's independent nuclear deterrent remains essential for our security. But we are committed to maintaining the minimum amount of destructive power needed to deter any aggressor. We also have a strong track record on nuclear disarmament, reducing our nuclear forces by over half since the Cold War peak in the late 1970s. We intend to maintain a leading role in multilateral disarmament efforts; unilateral disarmament would undermine our security and not make the world a safer place. We regret that Russia is making a number of destabilising nuclear and missile investments and undermining existing arms control Treaties, and DPRK is developing its illegal nuclear programme in violation of UN Security Council Resolutions; this makes progress more difficult. We are fully committed to ensuring that the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) remains the cornerstone of international efforts to achieve our long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Our policy remains as set out in the 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review. This said, "We would use our nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence, including the defence of our NATO Allies. While our resolve and capability to do so if necessary is beyond doubt, we will remain deliberately ambiguous about precisely when, how and at what scale we would contemplate their use, in order not to simplify the calculations of any potential aggressor". The Review also said that "The UK will not use or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against any Non-Nuclear Weapons State Party to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This assurance does not apply to any state in material breach of those non-proliferation obligations." We will continue to keep our nuclear posture under review in the light of the international security environment and the actions of potential adversaries.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking action (1) bilaterally, and (2) multilaterally, to seek to ensure that Joseph Kabila does not stand as a candidate in the next presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The British Government has repeatedly called for President Kabila to honour both the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Constitution and the 31 December agreement and conduct a peaceful transfer of power in DRC via credible elections. The Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin MP, made these points directly with representatives of the DRC government when she visited DRC last week. Our Embassy in Kinshasa regularly presses the DRC authorities to ensure they enable the Congolese people to meet their democratic aspirations by electing a new President.

The UK continues to coordinate closely with the EU and at the United Nations on the DRC's electoral commitments. We are also working alongside regional partners; for example, in February in Addis Ababa the UK Special Envoy to the Great Lakes joined other members of the International Contact Group on the Great Lakes (ICGGL) to discuss presidential elections in DRC.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they are making of the continued provision of arms to Saudi Arabia following the announcement by other European countries of restrictions on the provision of such support; and what estimate they have made of the number of civilian deaths that have been caused by arms supplied from the UK.

The Government takes its arms export licensing responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. 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 factors at the time of the application. The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia in relation to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is whether there is a clear risk that those items subject to the licence might be used in a serious violation of IHL. The situation is kept under careful and continual review.

We do not maintain records of casualty figures for the conflict in Yemen. Gathering data is extremely challenging considering the complexities of the situation and the challenges faced by humanitarian monitors across the country. Estimates by the UN and non-govermental organisations vary considerably.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assurances, if any, they have received from the government of Saudi Arabia that, in response to the statement by the UN Security Council of 15 March 2016, that government will negotiate directly with Houthi leaders in Yemen without preconditions and in a way that ensures the participation of women and other under-represented groups at all levels of society.

A negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only way to end the Yemeni conflict and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and we continue to work with all our Yemeni, regional and international partners in support of this goal. As the 15 March UN Security Council Presidential Statement made clear, this will require the full involvement of women and other under-represented groups to ensure that the process goes beyond politics and reflects the aspirations of all Yemenis.

The imperative of reaching a political solution to the conflict in Yemen was agreed in the Joint Declaration by the UK and Saudi Arabia during the visit of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in March. The Joint Declaration expressed the UK's and Saudi Arabia's strong support for the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, and our resolve to work together closely to achieve a political solution.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what strategy they are developing to promote the prevention of atrocity crimes; and how that strategy relates to Yemen.

The Government's approach to preventing mass atrocities is rooted firmly in our wider conflict prevention and peacebuilding activity. This begins with actively looking out for signs of countries at risk of instability, to reduce the risks of violence, promote good governance, support the rule of law, building inclusive societies, and enabling effective judicial and security sector reform. We aim to foster environments where atrocity crimes are less likely to take place.

In Yemen we play a leading role in support of UN-led efforts political resolution of the conflict. We are also supporting a range of conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities through the Conflict Stability and Security Fund (with £7 million budget this financial year for Yemen). We take very seriously allegations of any violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by actors in the conflict in Yemen, and call upon all parties to abide by their obligations under IHL. We regularly raise the importance of compliance with IHL with the Saudi-led Coalition in Yemen.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action, if any, they are pursuing to table a UN Security Council resolution which gives substance to the statement on Yemen of 15 March 2016, in particular that the parties to the conflict should enter peace talks without preconditions.

The Government keeps under consideration whether a new UN resolution would support progress towards a political settlement in Yemen. Given the lack of agreement between the parties to the conflict at present, we judge that following the UN Security Council Presidential statement proposed by the UK in March, the best opportunity for progress comes through the appointment of Martin Griffiths as the new UN Special Envoy for Yemen. We encourage the parties to return to negotiations without pre-conditions and participate constructively in the UN-led political process.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that there is monitoring of the situation in Yemen by the UN Security Council; and whether they intend to seek Security Council agreement of substantive resolutions and statements on the situation in Yemen, including references to the conduct of Saudi Arabia.

The UN Security Council continues to receive regular updates regarding the situation on Yemen. Both the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, briefed the Security Council on 17 April. We will continue to use our role as penholder on Yemen at the UN Security Council to address the humanitarian crisis and support progress towards a political resolution of the conflict. In March this year, the UK proposed and coordinated a UN Security Council Presidential Statement (PRST). The PRST builds upon the text agreed on 15 June 2017, also sponsored and coordinated by the UK, by expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Yemen; calling for the parties to agree steps towards a ceasefire; welcoming the new UN Special Envoy for Yemen, and calling for a vaccination programme and unhindered humanitarian access. We will continue to work with our Yemeni, regional and international partners to ensure that words are converted into action.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether Russia's threshold for the use of nuclear weapons has been lowered, following the speech by President Putin to the Russian Federal Assembly on 1 March.

We regret President Putin's decision to develop new types of destabilising nuclear weapons systems, rather than working towards strategic stability. Russia's aggressive nuclear strategy poses a challenge to the UK and NATO Allies, which is why we will continue to keep our nuclear posture under constant review. We remain confident in our ability to deter all threats.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of the United States on (1) extending or negotiating a successor treaty to New START, and (2) attempting to resolve existing disputes with Russia over the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty.

Ministers and senior officials discuss nuclear issues often with US counterparts. The US set out in the Nuclear Posture Review published on 1 February its continuing commitment to implement New START. We support dialogue between the US and other signatories about the possibility of extending the Treaty. The Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty has made a valuable contribution to Euro-Atlantic security for over 30 years. We welcome US efforts to preserve the Treaty and continue to encourage Russia to resolve the serious concern of the UK and other NATO Allies about their new missile systems.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the proposal by the United States Congress to pursue research into a new ground launched cruise missile; and what is their assessment of the implications of that proposal for the requirements of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty.

We welcome the US Government's desire to preserve the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty and to encourage full compliance by Russia. The Administration's approach is outlined in their 'Integrated INF Strategy', published in December 2017. Proposals by Congress are for the Administration to consider.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the statement by the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, that the "US administration decision to develop new tactical nuclear weapons shows that the spiral of a new nuclear arms race has already been set in motion".

This is not our analysis. The US Nuclear Posture Review, published on 1 February, makes clear that the US has continued to reduce the number and salience of nuclear weapons, while others, including Russia and China, have moved in the opposite direction. The Review also makes clear that US decisions to modify a small number of existing warheads to provide a low yield option and, in the longer term, to pursue a new sea-launched cruise missile, are intended to enhance deterrence and to counter any perception of an exploitable gap in US capabilities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the governments of (1) Russia, and (2) Chechnya, about the use of the collective punishment in response to crimes allegedly committed by individuals.

We continue to have significant concerns about the use of collective punishment in Chechnya, including the burning down of houses of the relatives of suspected militants. We encourage Russia to implement European Court of Human Rights judgments relating to the North Caucasus – a vital step to ending the climate of impunity in the region. The UK will continue to call for action on individual cases in multilateral fora, such as the Council of Europe.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the state of human rights in Chechnya, including in connection with (1) extra-judicial killings, (2) collective punishment, (3) arbitrary detention, (4) the persecution of LGBTI citizens, (5) shrinking civil society space, and (6) impunity.

​The human rights situation in Chechnya continues to deteriorate. We remain deeply concerned about reports of serious human rights violations, including abductions, torture, collective punishment and extra-judicial killings. Ongoing reports of the persecution of LGBT individuals are seriously troubling. It is in Russia's interests to address the root causes of conflict and radicalisation in the North Caucasus, including poverty, governance and human rights issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to pursue the issue of the detention and prosecution of Oyub Titiev, Director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre, in Chechnya; and whether they intend to call for his immediate release.

​We remain concerned by the continued detention of Oyub Titiev. The Foreign Secretary expressed our concerns on 11 January, and the Minister for Europe and the Americas issued a statement on 18 January calling for the authorities to ensure Mr Titiev's safety and his right to a fair trial. Together with our partners, we will continue to reiterate this message to the Russian authorities. I made this assurance to representatives from the Russian non-governmental organisation Memorial when I met them on 21 February.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to support organisations working to provide access to justice for victims of human rights violations in Chechnya.

​We are providing financial and moral support to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society across Russia at a time when they are facing growing pressure. We currently provide funding to a number of NGOs working to counter violent extremism and promote human rights and the rule of law in the North Caucasus.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Russia about the need to ensure that those responsible for the death of human rights defender, Natalia Estemirova, are held to account.

Impunity for attacks on journalists in Russia remains deeply concerning. We continue to urge the Russian authorities to fully investigate these cases, including the unsolved murder of Natalia Estemirova, and ensure the safety of all activists and journalists. I expressed my condolences to Lana Estemirova, Natalia's daughter, when I met her on 21 February and made clear that the British Government will continue to support Russian civil society and the brave work of human rights defenders

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Dec 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote international nuclear, bacteriological and chemical disarmament.

As a responsible nuclear weapons state, the Government is committed to the long term goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We continue to work with partners across the international community to press for key steps towards multilateral nuclear disarmament, including the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. We continue to play a leading role in disarmament verification. The Government is also committed to upholding the global prohibition on possession and use of chemical and biological weapons. This includes work within the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN to promote compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, to encourage states still outside the Convention to join, and to support states parties to complete destruction of stockpiles. The UK plays an active role in supporting the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the UN Secretary General's Mechanism, including through supporting training and preparations to counter biological threats.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the date of their most recent representations to the government of Israel about the treatment of Palestinian children arrested by the army of Israel, including representations about the practice of blindfolding; by whom, and to whom, those representations were made; what was the response; and what further action they will take (1) bilaterally, and (2) multilaterally.

​The UK continues to have strong concerns about continued reports of ill-treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention, notably use of painful restraints and insufficient notification of legal rights. Our Ambassador to Israel raised concerns with Israeli Attorney-General Mandelblit on 3 October and the Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt also raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities during his visit to Israel in August 2017.

We will continue regularly raising this issue with the Israeli authorities, and to press them to secure needed improvements to the practices surrounding military detention of minors. Whilst we have not engaged in formal multilateral discussions on the matter, we have nonetheless engaged on this alongside a number of European Partners.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will vote on the proposals currently before the UN General Assembly concerning the dates and mandate for the 2018 UN international high-level conference for nuclear disarmament; who will represent them at the conference; what will be their objectives for the conference; and whether they accept the Tbilisi Declaration about the conference calling on all OSCE states "to participate in the 2018 UN international conference on nuclear disarmament at the highest level".

We will vote against the draft resolution at the UN in December on the holding of a UN high level conference in May 2018 to review progress on nuclear disarmament. We do not believe that a Conference mandated by this resolution will lead to effective progress on nuclear disarmament. It will not address the serious threats to international peace and security posed by nuclear proliferation nor will it take account of the international security environment. The Tbilisi Declaration was adopted by the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and not by the Government. If the Conference is held, we will consider our approach closer to the time.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Oct 2017
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the political and humanitarian situation in Southern Cameroons; and what action they are taking, (1) bilaterally, (2) multilaterally through the UN, (3) through the Commonwealth, and (4) with EU partners, to defuse the tensions threatening the security and stability of that region.

The Government is deeply concerned by reports of deaths and injuries in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, including reports that 17 civilians were killed by the security services and many more injured. The situation appears to have calmed down since 1 October.

The Minister for Africa released a statement on 4 October expressing the Government’s deep concern, urging restraint, and calling on all parties to reject violence and to enter into dialogue to find urgent solutions to Anglophone grievances.

The High Commissioner in Yaoundé has been following events in the Anglophone regions closely. He has raised the need for dialogue and restraint with the Cameroonian authorities. He met with Prime Minister Philémon Yang on 27 September and 10 October, the Minister of Communication on 9 October, the Minister of Defence, Director General of Intelligence, and the Minister of Higher Education on 10 October, and the Minister of External Relations on 11 October. He also reiterated the United Kingdom’s concerns in television interviews on 9 and 10 October.

The situation in Cameroon remains tense, and we urge the Cameroonian Government to accept the United Nations’ offer of help to support dialogue with the Anglophone community.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain concerning the arrest, alleged torture and general treatment of Ebtisam Al-Sayegh, a human rights worker; what was the outcome of those representations; and how that episode will affect the UK's support for future progress on human rights within Bahrain.

We have raised our concerns over these allegations with the Government of Bahrain. The UK continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments. We also encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to report these to the relevant human rights oversight bodies, including the National Institute for Human Rights and the National Security Agency Ombudsman Office.

The UK continues to support Bahraini-led reform through a package of technical assistance. We believe it is not good enough to criticise countries from the sidelines. Only by working with Bahrain can we bring about the changes we would like to see. Any assistance delivered by or on behalf of the Government complies with our domestic and international human rights obligations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government when they will publish a timeline establishing a date by when crown dependencies and UK overseas territories must have introduced the same standards on transparency in public registers on beneficial ownership as apply in the UK; and what arrangements they are making to ensure that those standards are enforced.

​The Government has made clear that if public registers were to become the new global standard, then we would expect the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to follow suit.

In the meantime, it is right to focus our efforts on ensuring that the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies deliver on what they have promised.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that arms control is emphasised within, and integrated into, their security strategy.

The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review presented to Parliament in 2015 set out the UK's commitment to countering the proliferation of illicit arms and weapons of mass destruction, while ensuring the right conditions for legitimate arms trade. Arms control remains an important element in our strategy, ranging from our support for the Arms Trade Treaty to our efforts in the UN Security Council to tackle North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
10th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to prioritise the prevention of atrocity crimes in the execution of British foreign policy at the UN and elsewhere; and what arrangements they have in place to ensure that this is prioritised by UK representatives in the work of the Security Council, together with advocacy of the responsibility to protect.

The British Government is a strong supporter of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and is committed to the prevention of atrocity crimes; through the UN system, bilaterally and also through other multilateral fora. The UK continues to prioritise this work in the Security Council: supporting debates, briefings from the Special Advisors on Genocide Prevention and R2P, and campaigning for swift effective action where the risk of mass atrocities exists. As the majority of atrocity crimes happen in and around conflict, our continued efforts in the Security Council to maintain peace and security ensure our representatives retain focus on these important issues.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to strengthen international agreement on the protection of human rights; and what policies they are pursuing to strengthen the UN Human Rights Council.

The Government strongly supports the Human Rights Council (HRC), the High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR) and his Office in promoting and protecting human rights worldwide. This introductory support was underlined during a recent call I had in my capacity as the UK's Human Rights Minister with the HCHR. The UK supports reform aimed at ensuring HRC membership elections are competitive, as well as efforts to increase the capacity of small states to engage with the Council and its mechanisms.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what preparations they are making for their representation and participation at the 2018 UN High Level Conference on nuclear disarmament.

The Government firmly believes that the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step-by-step approach and within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We will consider our approach to the 2018 UN High Level Conference closer to the time.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to improve diplomatic relations and trust between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states, through participation in relevant negotiations and by stimulating dialogue.

We discuss nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament frequently with a wide range of partners across the international community through UK Embassies overseas, with Embassies in London, in international organisations, and directly between capitals. We attended the first Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in Vienna in May, where we engaged with a wide range of states on how we can together tackle the challenges we face on non-proliferation and disarmament, and enable access to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
4th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to ensure that UK deployments in Somalia and South Sudan are fully committed to people-centred peacekeeping and robust implementation of a protection of civilians mandate.

The UK contributes strongly to support both the policy and the delivery of people-centred peacekeeping. The missions supported by British forces in Somalia and South Sudan have a strong focus on the protection of civilians. The important enabling functions carried out by British medics and military engineers on the ground will assist these missions to fulfil this vital task.

As a member of the UN Security Council, the UK has a key role in setting the mandates for peacekeeping missions. Working alongside our partners, we seek to ensure that all missions are mandated to protect civilians where relevant. All new UN peacekeeping missions since 1999 have had a protection of civilians element in their mandate, and for some it is the primary goal. The UK has also been a champion of the use of 'phased mandates' which prioritise the delivery of certain tasks, such as protection of civilians. All capacity building training provided by the Ministry of Defence covers International Humanitarian Law, and the Armed Forces deliver training on gender issues and the prevention and response to conflict-related sexual violence to more than 7,000 African peacekeepers each year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to support victim-centred accountability arrangements within the UN, to ensure that peace-keepers found guilty of sexual abuse are punished.

The UK fully supports the UN Secretary-General's zero tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by peacekeepers and his new approach to prioritise victims. The UK has made it a priority to tackle the abhorrent actions of these individuals which we unequivocally condemn. Where allegations are made against troops, the country that provided those troops must carry out investigations promptly, transparently and report their findings to the UN. The UK has provided £2 million of funding to the UN to implement the Secretary General's programme of action on prevention, enforcement and remedial action of SEA. We provide training on this issue to our own peacekeepers and to other countries who contribute peacekeepers. Furthermore since the inception of the office of the UN's Special Co-ordinator on Improving the UN's Response to SEA, we have provided funding to support its work.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to ensure that the requirements of the Arms Trade Treaty are fully implemented, including that the potential that arms could be used to commit war crimes and human rights violations is taken into account when arms exports decisions are being made; and how they are applying the Treaty provisions to Saudi Arabia, with particular reference to that state's activities in Yemen.

The Government operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU & National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the 'Consolidated Criteria'), taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application.

The Consolidated Criteria were updated in March 2014 following the signing of the Arms Trade Treaty. Criterion 1(b) says that the Government will not grant a licence if to do so would be inconsistent with "the UK's obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty". Criterion 2(a) states that the Government will "not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used for internal repression" and Criterion 2(c) states that the Government will "not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law".

A licence will not be issued for any items, including those destined for an end user in Saudi Arabia, if to do so would be inconsistent with these Criteria. We welcome the Divisional Court's judgment of 10 July recognising the rigorous and robust processes we have in relation to decisions about exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
3rd Jul 2017
Her Majesty's Government what are their priorities for working together with other world leaders in relation to the role of the UN Security Council.

As a ​permanent member of the Security Council, the Government routinely engages with world leaders on the top issues at the Council's agenda, such as Syria, DPRK, Somalia and peacekeeping. One such opportunity is the UN General Assembly Ministerial week, every September. The Government has also been working with the new UN Secretary-General on his priorities, since he took up the role on 1 January. One of these priorities is UN reform, to build a more effective and efficient UN.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, to strengthen the role of the Global Britain Fund.

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) uses a small proportion of its departmental budget to fund project-based activity globally in support of the policy priorities identified in the National Security Strategy and the Government's Aid Strategy: The Global Britain Fund is the internal working title used to bring previously separate strategic and bilateral programme funds under one umbrella to enable greater central oversight and strategic direction of all this spend and activity, and to reduce bureaucracy. This small-scale funding is a mix of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA, so that it can be spent around the world to promote British interests. The FCO's separate Global Britain Campaign aims to increase understanding, recognition and support, internationally and at home, for the UK's work and role in the world.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government whether they have a strategy to help strengthen the United Nations, particularly in relation to supporting the new Secretary-General and encouraging the merit-based appointment of senior officials across the United Nations.

The Government aims to strengthen the United Nations through providing support to the UN Secretary-General's reform programme. We have encouraged the UN to improve in its leadership, efficiency, accountability and performance, and we have mobilised our broad range of relationships and networks in support of UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Guterres to give him the best chance of progress. We encourage appointments based on merit. We are also supporting the UNSG's policy of appointing more women to senior positions to help redress the gender imbalance at the UN.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that UK foreign policy is always underpinned by the objective of enhancing the wellbeing of the international order.

The 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review sets out the UK's objective to "help strengthen the rules-based international order and its institutions". This objective remains central to our foreign policy. As part of this we championed the more open and transparent process in the selection of António Guterres as the new UN Secretary-General and strongly support his vision for UN reform. We have maintained our commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on Official Development Assistance. We have doubled the number of British troops deployed on UN peacekeeping missions and are leading international efforts to tackle modern slavery and conflict-related sexual violence. As we prepare to exit the European Union, the UK will continue to work closely with our allies and partners in Europe and across the world to promote and protect shared values and advance multilateral cooperation through a rules-based international order with the UN at its core.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2017
Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to enhance the level of public understanding of the relevance and value of international organisations and agencies to the wellbeing of the British people; including through both formal and informal education systems.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office conducts a variety of formal and informal outreach to promote the work of international institutions. We support the Model-UN initiative which reaches around 400,000 students from schools and universities every year, the civil-society led "1 for 7" billion campaign through our social and digital media platforms, which helped raise public awareness of the UN and the role of Secretary-General, and next year the UK will host the Commonwealth Summit and promote the importance of the Commonwealth to the British public in the run up and during the week of the Summit.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Mar 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel on the eight month delay by the Israeli Prison Service in supplying disaggregated, up to date prison statistics relating to the number of Palestinians, both adult and children, held in its facilities; and whether they have received any undertakings on when these will be provided.

We continue to encourage the Israeli authorities to publish information of interest to the wider public in line with the UK's transparency and good governance initiative "Open Government".

15th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the remarks by the Prime Minister at the Berlin summit in November condemning the atrocities in Aleppo and stating her agreement with "the need to keep up the pressure on Russia, including the possibility of sanctions on those who breach international humanitarian law", whether they have summoned the Russian Ambassador; and if so, how many times.

The Foreign Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) summoned the Russian Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 15 December. The Foreign Secretary made clear the UK Government’s concern over the actions of Russia in Syria, and in particular the situation in Aleppo where Russia has failed to uphold its obligations under international humanitarian law. The Foreign Secretary made similar points in his telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on 22 November.
15th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the consequences of the proposed legislation by the Knesset retroactively legalising Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank; what response, if any, they have received; and how they intend to pursue the issue.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr. Ellwood), raised the issue with the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister when they met in London on 12 December. Minister Ellwood also raised the issue with the Israeli Ambassador to London and issued two press statements on the issue. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised our concerns about the bill with the Minister for Strategic Affairs, the Minister for Science, the Deputy Finance Minister and a range of members of the Knesset. We continue to urge the Israeli Government to reconsider this legislation at the earliest possible opportunity.

14th Dec 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of preliminary approval having been given by the Knesset of Israel to a bill to retroactively legalise Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, what is the most recent estimate of the total number of unofficial Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank; what is their assessment of the impact of such legislation on any two-state solution for Israel; what representations they have made, alone and with other governments, to the government of Israel in respect of the plans; and what steps they are taking to monitor the impact of any such representations.

The UK is extremely concerned that the Knesset has passed the first reading of a bill which would retroactively “legalise” around 55 settlement outposts, expropriate privately owned Palestinian land and pave the way for a significant further expansion of settlements in the West Bank. This would be illegal under international law, and once again calls into question the Israeli Government's commitment to a two-state solution. The UK urges the Israeli Government to reconsider the land regulation bill at the earliest opportunity. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr. Ellwood), raised the issue with the Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister when they met in London on 12 December. ​Minister Ellwood also raised the issue with the Israeli ambassador to London and issued two press statements expressing the UK's concerns.

23rd Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the imminent demolition of the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran.

On 23 November the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr. Ellwood), raised with the Israeli Ambassador the concerns expressed in the House of Commons about plans to demolish the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev. Minister Ellwood also issued a public statement on 23 November, calling on the Israeli authorities and Bedouin community to work together to find a solution that meets the needs and respects the rights of the people affected.

8th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making bilaterally and multilaterally to the government of Turkey on the arrest of Turkish Members of Parliament, the implications for democracy and stability, and the risk of stimulating extremism.

We continue to follow developments in Turkey closely and underline the importance of the rule of law and the protection of freedom of expression.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan) raised these issues during his visit to Turkey on 19 October, and most recently with Turkey's Minister for Europe, Omer Celik, in a telephone call on 7 November. The Government also regularly discusses such issues in international fora. The EU issued a statement on 8 November expressing concern at recent events in Turkey, including the detention of Members of Parliament and journalists.

7th Nov 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making bi-laterally and multi-laterally to the government of Turkey about the detention of journalists in Turkey and its implication for the freedom of the press and free speech.

We continue to follow developments in Turkey closely and underline the importance of the rule of law and the protection of freedom of expression.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan) raised these issues during his visit to Turkey on 19 October, and most recently with Turkey's Minister for Europe, Omer Celik, in a telephone call on 7 November. The Government also regularly discusses such issues in international fora. The EU issued a statement on 8 November expressing concern at recent events in Turkey, including the detention of Members of Parliament and journalists.

17th Oct 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the changes to the selection process for the UN Secretary General, whether they are planning to initiate a review of the selection processes for the President of the World Bank and for similar offices in other international financial institutions and UN specialised agencies.

The Government strongly supported the more transparent and structured process that led to the recent appointment of the next UN Secretary-General and has promoted similar reforms in other multilateral organisations aimed at ensuring the best candidates apply for leadership roles. The scope for reform depends on the dynamics of each organisation, including their internal decision-making procedures and the views of other member states.

19th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Iraq about building a socially, religiously and politically inclusive society in that country.

We strongly support the Iraqi government in its efforts to build a more inclusive society, including uniting Iraq’s communities against Daesh and extremism, restoring public trust in the state, and delivering the services and opportunities that all Iraqis want and deserve. We welcome the commitments that the Government of Iraq has made to inclusivity, to protecting Iraqi citizens, and addressing human rights abuses and holding those responsible to account. We continue to promote progress against these commitments in our engagements with the Government of Iraq at both official and ministerial levels, emphasising the importance of political reconciliation to defeating Daesh and eradicating radicalism.

For the 2016/17 financial year we have allocated £3.7 million from the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund towards reconciliation in Iraq. This funding will support efforts to encourage political reform and reconciliation, including the passage and implementation of legislation. And following our announcement at the Iraq Pledging Conference on 20 July the UK is contributing £9.25m to the UN’s Funding Facility for Immediate Stabilisation. This will help the Iraqi government stabilise areas recently liberated from Daesh and re-establish security, basic services and inclusive local governance.

19th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to stop the further displacement of civilians in Iraq, particularly in Mosul, due to continued military action by coalition forces there.

The UK is working with the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government, the UN and international partners to ensure that all Coalition-supported military operations against Daesh in Iraq are under-pinned by comprehensive plans to minimise and manage expected displacement, and provide humanitarian assistance and stabilisation support. The Foreign Secretary, my Hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Mr Johnson), raised these issues with international partners at the counter-Daesh Coalition Ministerial meeting in Washington on 20-21 July.

On 20 July, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), announced £10.5 million in additional UK funding for stabilisation in Iraq, we expect a significant proportion of our contribution to support efforts in and around Mosul. This announcement brings the UK’s Iraq contributions on immediate stabilisation to £9.25 million, and on explosive hazards to £7.75 million.

Since summer 2014, the UK has pledged £129.5 million of humanitarian support. This includes £50 million of additional assistance announced on 20 July 2016.

11th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the most recent Quartet Report's statement that Israel's "continuing policy of settlement and construction" was "steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution", what specific actions they plan to take in response to the recent decisions by the government of Israel to approve new settlements and to provide a further $18 million to support settlements.

On 5 July, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the announcement of new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson statement, on 22 June, also expressed concern about Israel’s decision to provide an additional £12 million of funding for settlements. The position of the UK on Israeli settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We will continue to raise our objections to settlements with the Israeli government.

11th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what specific action they are taking in response to the number of Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories.

On 5 July, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), issued a statement expressing deep concerns about the announcement of new Israeli settlement units in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson statement, on 22 June, also expressed concern about Israel’s decision to provide an additional £12 million of funding for settlements. The position of the UK on Israeli settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We will continue to raise our objections to settlements with the Israeli government.

6th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to strengthen the resources available for the development of UK policies towards the UN, the UN Security Council, UN operational agencies, and international financial institutions.

The Government regularly reviews resources devoted to supporting policy development on key multilateral institutions, including the UN and international financial institutions.

6th Jul 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what policy priority they now intend to accord to the Council of Europe.

The UK continues to be an active member of the Council of Europe. We value its role in the rules based international system, which helps nations work together to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

6th Jun 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what new developments and initiatives they are currently undertaking as part of their support for British candidates for senior positions in the UN and for the deployment of UK civilian staff with relevant expertise to key roles in the UN, both in its operations and at the UN Headquarters.

It is in UK interests, and it is a Government priority, to encourage and support British candidates for senior positions in the UN and to promote the deployment of UK civilian staff with relevant expertise to key roles in the UN, both in its operations and at the UN Headquarters.

To this end the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has strengthened and restructured its team of officials working in this area. In collaboration with other government departments it is;

(i)

Targeting a broader range of UN agencies.

(ii)

Expanding the talent pool of potential UK candidates for top jobs and in parallel further developing pipelines for UK nationals coming through the ranks.

(iii)

Encouraging British nationals interested in international jobs to register on a specifically developed International Opportunities Database.

(iv)

Providing targeted support to candidates applying for positions of strategic importance to the Government.

(v)

Ensuring that these opportunities are communicated as widely as possible to attract candidates from diverse backgrounds.

18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prevalence of torture in Ethiopia.

We continue to be concerned about allegations of torture in Ethiopia made by organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in relation to people detained under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Those include members of the opposition groups, journalists, peaceful protestors, and others seeking to express their rights to freedom of assembly or expression. We continually monitor and assess a range of human rights issues in Ethiopia, including allegations of torture. We continue to make representations to the Government of Ethiopia on individual cases as well as more broadly through our Human Rights Dialogue. We also support the continued human rights discussions between international partners and the Government of Ethiopia.

18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of conditions faced by detainees in Maekalawi prison in Ethiopia.

We do not have access to Maekalawi prison and, therefore, are not in a position to make an assessment of the conditions within the prison. However, we are aware of the allegations contained in the Human Rights Watch 2013 report titled “They Want a Confession” and the subsequent response from the Government of Ethiopia to the report. Through our bilateral relationship with Ethiopia we will continue to lobby the government on the treatment of high-profile political prisoners, some of who are detained at Maekalawi prison.

18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made, bilaterally and multilaterally, to the government of Ethiopia about the case of Bekel Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, and 21 others, recently charged under the counter-terrorism law.

We remain deeply concerned about the handling of demonstrations in Oromia and the reported deaths of a number of protestors. We have repeatedly made representations to the Ethiopian government, including Prime Minister Desalegn, over the situation in that region. We also have concerns about those detained under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, including members of the opposition groups, journalists, peaceful protesters, and others seeking to express their rights to freedom of assembly or expression. We are developing a coordinated response in concert with international partners to consider how best to raise our concerns with the Government of Ethiopia on the continued detention of opposition leaders like Bekele Gerba.
18th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Bangladesh about (1) the arrest of Shafik Rehman on 16 April, and (2) the recent harassment of other journalists in Bangladesh; and what was the outcome of those representations.

Consular officials in Dhaka have registered the British Government’s interest in Mr Rehman’s case with the Director, Consular Affairs at the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and requested consular access to Mr Rehman. Our High Commissioner in Dhaka raised this case with the MFA’s Director General EU.

We have made clear our concerns about freedom of expression in Bangladesh, most recently in a press statement about the murder of Nazimuddin Samad. In that statement the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), restated the Government’s position that the right to freedom of expression and open debate in Bangladesh must be upheld.

12th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to fulfil their commitment in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review to regard UN Peacekeeping as one of its most important roles.

As set out in the Strategic Security and Defence Review, the UK attaches great importance to UN Peace Operations. The Government is committed to working with partners to further strengthen the UN’s capability to support global stability and end conflict. In the Security Council, we champion reforms that increases the efficiency and impact of UN engagement on conflict prevention and mediation, peace building and human rights.

We are working with the UN to finalise the new military deployments announced by the Prime Minister in September 2015. The UK will deploy up to 70 personnel to UN peace operations in Somalia, and 250-300 to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. We will continue to identify and offer policing expertise where UK skills match UN missions’ requirements with the objective of steadily increasing the number of officers the UK deploys. We will also continue to support British candidates for senior positions in the UN, and deploy civilian staff with relevant expertise to key roles in UN missions and at UN headquarters.

The UK will be hosting an international conference on UN peacekeeping which is part of a sustained effort to increase the capabilities available to UN peacekeeping. The Government is also in the process of forming a cross-Whitehall joint UN Peacekeeping Policy Unit to bring further focus to our efforts on peacekeeping.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to promote operational and headquarters experience in the UN for career development in the armed forces and police.

Multinational relationships are key to the security of the UK. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) recognises and values the experience that military personnel gain from deployments and postings to multinational operations and Headquarters, including the UN. This has been demonstrated by the increase in the number of UN Staff Officer posts filled by the UK in recent years and the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review commitment to double the number of troops deployed to UN Peace Operations.

Career development in the Armed Forces is based on a range of factors including such multinational deployments and postings. Relevant experience and performance from deployment to UN operations and headquarters would form part of an individual’s career assessment. Requirements for such deployments and postings are initiated and developed centrally by the MoD then apportioned to the Single Services to fill.

The UK also recognises the benefits of international deployments to the police service. Through the National Police Chiefs’ Council we are encouraging police forces to consider releasing officers to undertake international roles. The newly-established Joint International Policing Hub will consider ways of incorporating international deployments into careers in the police service.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their plans to strengthen UK contributions of military, police and civilian personnel both in operational activities and at headquarters level of the UN.

The Strategic Security and Defence Review sets out the Government’s plan to: double the number of military personnel the UK contribute to UN peacekeeping operations; increase UK law enforcement and civilian experts on UN peace operations and in UN headquarters; and continue to train international peacekeepers.

We are working with the UN to finalise the new military deployments announced in September 2015 by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Member for Witney (Mr Cameron). The UK will deploy up to 70 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations in Somalia, and 250-300 to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. We will continue to identify and offer policing expertise where UK skills match UN missions’ requirements, with the objective of steadily increasing the number of officers the UK deploys. We will also continue to support British candidates for senior positions in the UN, and deploy civilian staff with relevant expertise to key roles in UN missions and at UN headquarters.

11th Apr 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is both their short and long term policy towards support for, and participation in, UN Peace Operations and how much priority they are giving to its implementation.

As set out in the Strategic Security and Defence Review, the UK attaches great importance to UN Peacekeeping Operations. The Government is committed to working with partners to further strengthen the UN’s capability to support global stability and end conflict. In the Security Council, we champion reforms that increase the efficiency and impact of UN engagement on conflict prevention and mediation, peace building and human rights.

The Government plans to double the number of military personnel that we contribute to UN peacekeeping operations, increase UK law enforcement and civilian experts on UN peacekeeping operations and in UN headquarters, and continue to train international peacekeepers. The UK will be hosting an international conference on UN peacekeeping, which is part of a sustained effort to increase the capabilities available to UN peacekeeping. The Government is also in the process of forming a cross-Whitehall joint UN Peacekeeping Policy Unit to bring further focus to our efforts and coordination on peacekeeping.

19th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the recent report by Saferworld <i>Matching needs and resources: National Police Reserve and community security in Kenya's frontiers</i>, and whether they have had discussions with the government of Kenya about contributing to the professionalism and accountability of the National Police Reserve.

Through our High Commission in Nairobi, the British Government has regularly discussed police accountability and professionalism with the Government of Kenya, including the Kenya Police Service. This has included discussions on the role of the Kenya National Police Reserve, though we do not currently work directly with them. The UK is working with the Government of Kenya to strengthen community security in some of Kenya’s most marginalised areas. The Conflict Security and Stability Fund is working to build capacity to ensure security forces in the region are better governed, more accountable and effective and to build community resilience to respond to security challenges through work with civil society. In addition, the Department for International Development launched the £13.7million Improving Community Security programme in 2015. This programme will work with government departments and non-governmental organisations, including Saferworld, to increase the security and safety of men, women and children in Kenya through increasing the capacity of institutions including the police and county government, to prevent and respond to violence.

19th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that all human rights issues, including those resulting from Boko Haram activities in Nigeria, are at the top of the priority action list for the Commonwealth and its new Secretary-General.

We are committed to promoting efforts to address human rights abuses throughout the Commonwealth. We believe progress is fundamental to the Commonwealth’s ability to improve the lives of its people and develop peaceful societies. Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and in the wider region have brought untold misery to many. The UK remains firm in our determination to support Nigeria, and its neighbours, in their fight against terrorism.

The Leaders’ Statement following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta noted that Heads had discussed peace and security, especially the fight against radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism, which are worldwide threats.

While the Commonwealth Secretariat has done some work in this area, additional capacity is required to coordinate efforts and tie them in with wider efforts of the international community. At CHOGM, the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), announced UK funding of up to £5million over five years for a Counter-Extremism and Counter Radicalisation Unit in the Commonwealth Secretariat. This initiative is also supported by Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Australia has said that it will commit around £250,000 of funding.

We will work closely with the new Secretary-General when she takes up her post to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to play a role in supporting all members to meet their obligations on human rights as enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter.

18th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the legal opinion issued by Philippe Sands QC concerning alleged violation of national, European and international arms transfer control law by their continued authorisation of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, especially in the context of their alleged use in Yemen; and what action they are taking in this regard.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of this legal opinion provided on instructions from certain non-governmental organisations. In accordance with long standing Government policy we do not disclose legal advice given or received, and it would not be appropriate to discuss any potential or ongoing litigation matters. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent arms export control regimes in the world. All arms export licence applications are carefully assessed on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account all relevant information, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations, including under international law. A licence will not be issued for any country if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria. This includes the export of arms to Saudi Arabia.

18th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the humanitarian consequences in the acute winter season, especially for children, of the destruction by the Israeli Civil Administration of Bedouin homes and communities in Area C near East Jerusalem, including that of Abu Nwar on 6 January; and what discussions they have had with the Israelis about whether such actions accentuate counter-productive security consequences.

An official from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised our concerns on this issue with the Israeli Office for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories on 13 January. Officials from our Consulate General in Jerusalem and the Department for International Development visited Abu Nwar on 19 January alongside EU colleagues. The UK is deeply concerned by Israeli proposals to relocate the Bedouin population from the E1 area, which the UN have said could constitute forcible transfer. These plans could have a devastating impact on the communities concerned and will likely open the way for further settlement expansion – endangering the viability of a two-state solution. Our position is clear: demolitions cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; are harmful to the peace process; and are, in all but the most exceptional of cases, contrary to international humanitarian law. The Fourth Geneva Convention is clear that the destruction of any real or personal property in Occupied Territory is not justified unless it is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. We also make clear to Israel that forcible transfer would be a breach of international humanitarian law and would have serious ramifications on Israel’s international standing.
18th Jan 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made at the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe about the treatment of the Crimean Tartar leader, Akhtem Chiygoz, and other Crimean Tartars about their detention and about the general harassment of Crimean Tartars and its incompatibility with the membership of the council of Europe; and what has been the outcome.

The UK has raised the treatment of Crimean Tatars and the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea on a number of occasions in the Committee of Ministers during debates on Ukraine. We will continue to do so. This issue was also raised on 15 October during the meeting between Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington).
23rd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government at what level the UK will be represented in the Open Ended Working Group established on 5 November by the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (Disarmament and International Security) and to be convened in Geneva.

The UK and the four other Non-Proliferation Treaty Nuclear Weapons States voted against the Resolution “Taking forward multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations” in the UN General Assembly First Committee earlier this month which established an Open Ended Working Group. The Government believes that productive results can only be ensured through a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment. We remain open to an appropriately-mandated Open Ended Working Group provided that it is conducive to a constructive dialogue and we are considering whether to attend the meeting in Geneva in 2016.

23rd Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how far they expect proposals in the report of the earlier Open Ended Working Group of 2015 in Geneva, and developed in working papers to the 2015 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, to provide a basis for identifying which of those proposals could be negotiated in time to be submitted to the 2016 UN General Assembly in order to prepare for substantial negotiations to begin in 2017.

Any Open Ended Working Group mandated to address the issue of nuclear disarmament should consider proposals and papers related to this issue from previous UN and Non Proliferation Treaty meetings and should take a consensus-based approach that takes into account the wider global security environment. We remain open to an appropriately-mandated Open Ended Working Group provided that it is conducive to a constructive dialogue and we are considering whether to attend the meeting in Geneva in 2016.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of calls for a UN Commission of Inquiry into alleged human rights abuses by Egyptian security forces including those alleged to have taken place in July and August 2013.

We are aware that calls were made for a UN Commission of Inquiry shortly after the events of July and August 2013, as well as on the recent anniversary of these events. In December 2013, Interim President Adly Mansour established a Fact-Finding Committee into the events that followed the removal of former President Morsi in July 2013. The Egyptian government released an executive summary of the Committee’s findings on 26 November 2014, which included recommendations for the police, educational institutions, the legislature, investigative authorities and the media. Since the publication of the summary of the Fact-Finding Committee’s report, the UK has encouraged the Egyptian government to release the report in full, and has stressed the importance of accountability for the deaths that took place during the clearances.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will designate Egypt as a country of concern in the next FCO annual report on human rights and democracy.

The Foreign and Commonwealth reviewed the use of the designation “countries of concern” earlier this year. We now highlight “human rights priority countries” that we wish to work positively with wherever possible to improve their human rights trajectory.

Our criteria in designating a human rights priority country is an evidence-based assessment. We utilise internationally respected indicators and indices, such as the UN Gender Inequality Index and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, to form our assessments. Once we have the relevant data, we will take informed decisions as to which countries will be human rights priority countries in 2016.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their criteria for identifying countries of concern in the FCO annual report on human rights and democracy.

In the 2014 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy, we continued to use the criteria published in the 2012 report to determine whether a country should feature as a country of concern:

• the gravity of the human rights situation in the country, including both the severity of particular abuses and the range of human rights affected;

• whether a deterioration or improvement in the human rights situation in the country would have a wider impact in the region;

• whether the human rights situation in the country has an impact on wider UK interests; and

• whether we are able to influence the human rights situation there.

5th Nov 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the change in the state of human rights in Egypt since July 2013.

More political progress is essential for Egypt's long-term stability. This includes freedom of the press, as well as freedom of expression in all its forms. We also want to see better protection of Egyptians' constitutional rights and more space for non-governmental organisations and civil society. Ministers and officials regularly raise our concerns with their Egyptian counterparts. When the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), met President Sisi on 5 November they spoke about the need for political progress in Egypt as the essential foundation for Egypt's long-term stability. Further details of our assessment are available in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 2013 and 2014 Human Rights and Democracy Reports. Case studies on Egypt from both Reports are attached.

7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2139 and 2165 regarding Syria, in particular regarding the action or inaction of the governments of Russia and China.

As required by UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2139, the Secretary General has produced monthly reports to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria. UNSCR 2165 and its successor, UNSCR 2191, also continue to be implemented. According to the UN Secretary General’s most recent report, by 31 July 2015, the UN and its partners had delivered 154 shipments of aid into Syria. The UK has allocated £233 million for the provision of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, to be delivered through our UN and non-governmental organisation partners. However, the delivery of aid in Syria is complicated by the continued obstruction of aid delivery by the Assad regime, as well as by the regime’s indiscriminate attacks on population centres, especially through the use of barrel bombs. Countries with influence over the Syrian government, including Russia, must use that influence to press the Assad regime to comply with its responsibilities under international humanitarian and human rights law.
6th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking in the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to ensure that Russia implements the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on Chechnya; and how many of those rulings remain unimplemented.

The UK intervenes in every debate on the Chechnya cases in the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers. In conjunction with other Member States, we have submitted written questions on specific actions Russia has taken to implement judgements on Chechnya. We have raised the cases bilaterally with the Russian delegation in Strasbourg, pressing for full implementation. We are also regularly briefed on the Chechnya cases by human rights non-governmental organisations in Strasbourg, London and Moscow. We will continue to use the Committee of Ministers as a key forum for encouraging Russia to fully implement key judgements relating to the North Caucasus – a vital step to ending the climate of impunity in the region. The Council of Europe’s website holds further information on the status of Russia’s implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgements on Chechnya, together with details of all actions taken by the Committee of Ministers in their supervision of these judgements.

1st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to review the readiness of the United Kingdom to respond to crimes of atrocity and developing threats of genocide and other crimes against humanity anywhere in the world.

The British Government’s global network of embassies, strong international partnerships, and early warning mechanisms give the UK significant insight into emerging threats. The UK remains committed to the Responsibility to Protect and seeks to respond to developing threats of atrocity crimes or genocide including through prevention projects, sanctions regimes or support for justice systems. Our seat on the UN Security Council also means we swiftly engage where a threat of such crimes emerges. Where prevention has failed, it is the international community's responsibility to take collective action, through diplomatic, humanitarian and other means. Where necessary, the UN Security Council should be ready to authorise coercive measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

1st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have made to ensure that their Conflict, Stability and Security Fund provides adequate and effective support for both their responsibility to protect and their commitments to preventing atrocities.

The Conflict, Security and Stability Fund (CSSF) provides direct funding to both the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and the joint UN office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. This funding assists these organisations in their work to consolidate the concept of the Responsibility to Protect by continuing to build the institutional architecture to prevent mass atrocity crimes and to strengthen the capacity of countries, regional and sub-regional organisations and civil society to protect populations. In addition, the CSSF funds a wide range of activities regionally that, while not always explicitly labelled as atrocity prevention, nonetheless contribute to the prevention of atrocities. These include projects on preventing sexual violence, reducing intergroup tensions, strengthening justice systems and the rule of law, security sector reform, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.

1st Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have made to ensure that early warning systems and country analysis include indicators of genocide and crimes against humanity, and that there is sufficient interdepartmental co-operation to achieve this.

The British Government produces an annual internal risk report on fragile states called Countries at Risk of Instability (CRI). The report is used to help policy makers prioritise countries for Government engagement and ensure that policy responses are best placed to tackle evolving instability risks. As part of the CRI process, indicators that highlight a higher risk of mass atrocities occurring are used, such as levels of internal state repression, levels of inter-communal factionalism and the type of regime a country operates. The reports indicator set reflects best practice from many similar non-governmental organisations and partner governments approaches. Data is collected from a wide range of sources, including academia and Government subject matter expertise. The report is produced by the Cabinet Office and coordinates input from all relevant government departments and agencies.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what strategic estimates they are making of the likely growth in the number of political refugees, economic migrants and those displaced by conflict and climate change in the next five, 10, 20 and 50 years; and what plans they have to respond effectively to the political, social and economic consequences nationally and internationally.

The British Government conducts periodic strategic reviews of countries and thematic issues that affect UK interests and how we respond to them. Some of these global issues will generate medium and long term migrant flows, within and between regions around the World. These trends are extremely unpredictable and therefore difficult to forecast. The size and composition of migrant flows can also vary dramatically over time, given the large range of factors driving migration.

We do, however, seek to identify and address the root causes. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s long term security and prosperity agendas aim to help create the right conditions for growth, security and stability, and the Department for International Development’s developmental and humanitarian assistance help provide the stable conditions that allow people to remain in their homelands.

Furthermore, we have established a new, more strategic approach to work in conflict-affected states where the UK has key interests, with a £1 billion Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. It will help ensure our work in fragile or conflict-affected states supports the full range of UK objectives.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making at European and global level on behalf of the former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi.

The British Government remains concerned about the sentencing to death of former President Morsi. On 17 May the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), raised the case with the Egyptian Ambassador in London.

We have emphasised that it is vital that any judicial decisions are objective, transparent, and in accordance with the law. There are further stages in the legal process and we will continue to raise this issue with the Egyptian government.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the short-, medium- and long-term consequences for the stability and security of the region of alleged human rights abuses and failings in the rule of law in Egypt under President al-Sisi.

The UK believes that progress on the economy, democracy and human rights are essential for security and stability in Egypt. We do not under-estimate the threat Egypt and the region face from terrorism and violent extremism, and we are committed to deepening our partnership with Egypt to defeat terrorist violence. But this must be done within a framework of respect for human rights.

We urge the Egyptian authorities to apply the rule of law consistently in line with international standards, and to implement the rights contained in Egypt’s constitution by protecting the right to freedom of expression and association. In recent months, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have asked the Egyptian authorities to take action to release journalists and political detainees who remain imprisoned; to review mass judicial decisions; and to remove restrictions on civil society.

During the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in November 2014, we expressed our concern at the number of detainees in pre-trial detention; reports of mistreatment or torture; use of mass trials and trial irregularities; retention of the death penalty; and restrictions on Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly as well as the decreasing space for civil society and the media to operate.

23rd Jun 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of Egypt in the light of the reporting by Human Rights Watch about human rights abuses under President al-Sisi.

We raise our human rights concerns regularly with the Egyptian government, including some of the issues highlighted by Human Rights Watch. On 17 May, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), raised the death sentence for former President Morsi with the Egyptian Ambassador in London.

We continue to believe that stability and prosperity in Egypt is dependent on open and inclusive politics and on full respect for the rights contained in the Egyptian constitution. That is why in recent months Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have asked the Egyptian authorities to take action to release journalists and political detainees who remain imprisoned, to review mass judicial decisions, and to remove restrictions on civil society.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel and what response they have received concerning the second update by UNICEF issued in February 2015 on its report of March 2013 entitled "Children in Military Detention", with reference to the alleged ill-treatment of children during arrest, transfer, interrogation and detention.

Since the publication of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded independent report on Children in Military Custody in June 2012, there has been some progress on the issue of children held in military detention. This includes a pilot to use summons instead of night-time arrests, and steps to reduce the amount of time a child can be detained before seeing a judge. We have welcomed the steps taken to date, but we have called for further measures, including the mandatory use of audio-visual recording of interrogations, investigation into continued reports of single hand ties being used, and an end to solitary confinement for children. We continue to have concerns about mistreatment of Palestinian detainees, including during arrest, transfer, interrogation and detention and about Israel’s respect of its obligations in this regard as an Occupying Power under applicable international law. We have raised concerns over treatment of Palestinian detainees with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels. We have not made representations to the Government of Israel specifically concerning the second update by the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on its report, “Children in Military Detention”.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reported use in Israel of solitary confinement for children held in military detention.

Both the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have told us that there has been a drastic decrease in the use of solitary confinement of children over the past year. Israeli officials tell us that solitary confinement does not take place, but that children are held in isolation during the time of their interrogation to avoid them from collaborating their stories. We are following up on this point and have asked for statistics on the use of isolation. We have raised concerns over solitary confinement with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including with the Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser, and most recently with the Director of Human Rights.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reported methods of transportation used in Israel for children held in military detention.

Since the publication of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded independent report on Children in Military Custody in June 2012, there has been some progress on the issue of children held in military detention. This includes a pilot to use summons instead of night-time arrests, and steps to reduce the amount of time a child can be detained before seeing a judge. We have welcomed the steps taken to date, but we have called for further measures, including the mandatory use of audio-visual recording of interrogations, investigation into continued reports of single hand ties being used, and an end to solitary confinement for children. We continue to have concerns about mistreatment of Palestinian detainees on various issues but have not yet addressed methods of transportation. We continue to raise concerns over treatment of Palestinian detainees with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels.

25th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports by UNICEF that children in military detention in Israel have been made to sign untranslated written confessions in Hebrew.

Since the publication of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office-funded independent report on Children in Military Custody in June 2012, there has been some progress on the issue of children held in military detention. This includes a pilot to use summons instead of night-time arrests, and steps to reduce the amount of time a child can be detained before seeing a judge. We have welcomed the steps taken to date, but we have called for further measures, including the mandatory use of audio-visual recording of interrogations, investigation into continued reports of single hand ties being used, and an end to solitary confinement for children. We continue to have concerns about mistreatment of Palestinian detainees including that children in military detention in Israel have been made to sign un-translated written confessions in Hebrew, and about Israel’s respect of its obligations in this regard as an Occupying Power under applicable international law. Israeli interlocutors at the Ministry of Justice have told us that the security orders mandate that all documents must be written in both Hebrew and Arabic – including any information added by hand. We have raised concerns over treatment of Palestinian detainees with the Israeli authorities on many occasions, including at Foreign Minister, Attorney General and National Security Adviser levels. We will continue to follow up on these allegations and raise this issue as a serious concern.

10th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the February 2015 meeting of the "P5 Process", what proposals they will be making in preparation for the April 2015 Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference on (1) a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East, (2) the revitalisation of the Conference on Discrimination, (3) the implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and (4) the future of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

I refer the noble Lord to the statement made on 12 February 2015 by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), which I repeated in the House of Lords, Official Report, column HLWS256; and to the attached joint statement issued by the P5 States after their conference in London on 4-5 February.

20th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest assessment of the support given by the government of Lebanon to the refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria; and what proposals they have to share this burden.

Lebanon, with international assistance, is providing generous support to over 1.1 million registered refugees from Syria. This is placing huge strain on Lebanon’s infrastructure, economy and local communities. Since the start of the Syria crisis, the UK has provided around £160 million to help Lebanon in supporting and managing Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in easing the pressure on the country’s resources. This support is co-ordinated with that provided by other donors in line with the vision set out in the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), discussed the issue of Syrian refugees with the Lebanese Prime Minister and the Speaker for Parliament when he visited Lebanon in December and emphasised that the UK will continue to provide support to Lebanon.

20th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the scale of the use and proposed use of the death penalty in Pakistan; and what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan in the context of both human rights and the fight against extremism.

We are concerned about the resumption of capital punishment in Pakistan for terrorism cases. Pakistan has over 8,000 prisoners on death row. It has been reported that 500 of these may be affected by this change but it is not clear if all of these prisoners face execution. It is our longstanding policy to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We fully understand Pakistan’s resolve to protect society from terrorism but there is no conclusive evidence that capital punishment is an effective deterrent. The UK remains opposed to the death penalty in all cases and we have consistently pressed Pakistan on this issue.

20th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the scale of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, with particular reference to corporal punishment, lashes, beheading and hanging; and what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia both in the human rights context and in respect of the fight against extremism.

The British Government’s position on human rights is a matter of public record. Saudi Arabia remains a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) country of concern because of the human rights situation in the country, particularly on the death penalty, access to justice, women’s rights, restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion or belief. The UK condemns the use of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. We regularly make our views known including through the UN Universal Periodic Review process and the FCO’s annual Human Rights and Democracy Report. We also raise our human rights concerns with the Saudi Arabian authorities at the highest level.

Saudi Arabia is a key partner in our global counter terrorism efforts, particularly within the region. Saudi Arabia has many years of experience in countering radicalisation and extremism. Continued close co-operation between the UK and Saudi Arabia will remain part of work to protect both UK and Saudi Arabian interests from the threat of terrorism.

20th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the scale of human rights abuses in Nigeria, with particular reference to the activities of Boko Haram; and what assistance they have offered the government of Nigeria in dealing with those responsible for the abuse.

Over the last year, Boko Haram insurgents have committed widespread human rights abuses across north east Nigeria. These have included bombings, killings, abductions and sexual violence, and have resulted in more than 4000 deaths and over 900 kidnaps. Furthermore the UN estimates that the insurgency has led to over 1.5 million people being displaced. To assist the Nigerian authorities in their fight against Boko Haram, we are providing a substantial package of UK military, intelligence and development support. This includes training and advice to Nigerian units deploying against Boko Haram, as well as intelligence support with the Intelligence Fusion Cell in Abuja and assistance to the Nigerians in bringing increased development and prosperity to the North East. We are working closely with international partners supporting their assistance to the large numbers of people displaced by the conflict in the North East. The UK’s contribution to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) programmes to Nigeria in 2014 is £1.7million. The Department for International Development has provided £1million to support the Red Cross to provide humanitarian assistance in the North East of Nigeria.
12th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to assist the Kurdistan Regional Government to prevent sexual violence by Islamic State against Yazidi women and to provide medical, psychological, and other support to survivors of this violence.

The British Government continues to condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) against all communities throughout the areas under its control. We are working closely with the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Regional government and our international coalition partners to assist and protect civilians wherever we can.

From 7-14 November, the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) conducted a joint scoping mission to Erbil and Baghdad with the Government of Canada. This aimed to better understand the scale of the issue and the services being provided in response to inform UK and Canadian policy and support. Through the Department for International Development we are already funding activities to protect vulnerable civilians such as legal assistance and support groups for women within internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in the Kurdistan Region. We are continuing to explore what further support we might be able to provide to vulnerable groups and IDPs.

We welcome the commitments that Prime Minister al-Abadi has made to inclusivity, to protecting Iraqi citizens, addressing human rights abuses and holding those responsible to account.

25th Nov 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of France about the pending delivery of the Vladivostok to the Russian Navy; and what response they have received.

Military exports to Russia are regularly discussed among EU members. In addition to the EU decision to establish a sanctions regime that encompasses military exports to Russia, all EU Partners have been considering their export policies again. We have remained in contact with French officials and fully support their decision to further suspend the Mistral contract. This sends a very strong signal to Russia that its continuing actions in Ukraine are not acceptable.
21st Oct 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support the formulation of United Nations guidance on the application of human rights law to drone use.

The Government believes that international law on the use of military force is absolutely clear. There must be a lawful basis for such force to be used and activities must be conducted in accordance with the law of war or international humanitarian law. This is as true when considering the possible use of remotely piloted aircraft systems as it is with any other military asset or weapon. Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems are a relatively new military asset, and their use, whether armed or unarmed, will continue to evolve. However, the existing international legal framework is clear and robust; and, as with any other weapons system, it is fully capable of governing their use. We do not need to rewrite the laws of war in order to be confident that, when used in such lawful circumstances, remotely piloted aircraft systems operate in the same legal environment as other military means. We have set this position out previously including at the UN Human Rights Council in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to investigate alleged intimidation and monitoring of the Sudanese diaspora in the United Kingdom by the Sudanese Embassy and officials.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not received any complaints about officials from the Sudanese Embassy in London intimidating or monitoring the Sudanese diaspora in the United Kingdom. Allegations of criminal activity should be reported to the police in the first instance.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements the British Embassy in Khartoum has in place to collect information on the treatment of Sudanese returnees from the United Kingdom; and how far any such information is included in the Home Office country of origin information on Sudan.

Our Embassy in Khartoum routinely collects information about the treatment of Sudanese returnees from the United Kingdom by contacting relevant international organisations operating in Sudan. This information is passed to the Home Office to include in its country of origin information on Sudan.

18th Jul 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have had discussions with the directors of G4S about that company’s adherence to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention as it applies to the detention of Palestinian prisoners inside Israel; and what was the outcome of any such discussions.

The Government has made clear our concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees in meetings with G4S. The UK also considers that Israel’s detention of Palestinian prisoners within Israel is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and have clearly stated this position to Israeli officials. International law does not impose direct obligations on corporations. However, the Government encourages British companies to show respect for human rights in their operations in the UK and internationally. On 21 April 2013, G4S publicly confirmed that they would not renew a number of security contracts in the West Bank ‘to ensure that G4S Israel business practices remain in line with our own business ethics policy’. These include the servicing of security equipment at Ofer Military Prison, at West Bank checkpoints and at a police station in the contentious E-1 area of Jerusalem.

26th Jun 2014
USA
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that any extension of the mutual defence agreement with the United States is designed to assist the fulfilment of the purposes of the non-proliferation treaty and to fulfil the undertaking in that context given by the existing nuclear powers.

We are committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and firmly believe that the best way to achieve this is through gradual disarmament negotiated through a step-by-step approach within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The UK has a strong record on nuclear disarmament and continues to be at the forefront of international efforts to control proliferation, and to make progress towards multilateral nuclear disarmament. The UK-USA Mutual Defence Agreement is, and will continue to be, in full compliance with our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

16th Jun 2014
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to G4S about the legal implications of its remaining involvement with the Israeli Prison Service until 2017, in the light of Article 76 of the 4th Geneva Convention and its application to the detention of Palestinians.

The UK considers that Israel's detention of Palestinian prisoners within Israel is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and have clearly stated this position to Israeli officials. We have also made clear our concerns about Israel's treatment of Palestinian detainees in meetings with G4S. International law does not impose direct obligations on corporations. However, the Government encourages British companies to show respect for human rights in their operations in the UK and internationally.

In September 2013, we launched the UK Action Plan based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This is voluntary guidance which British businesses can consult on doing business in Israel and OPTs, but ultimately it is the decision of an individual or company concerned.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their decision to conduct a one-year Spending Review on the levels of funding available for green investment projects, including hydrogen projects.

The Government continues to take its environmental responsibilities very seriously and is committed to ensure a green recovery with concern for our environment at its heart.

At Spring Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced at least £800m to establish Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in at least two sites. This will play an important role in the production of low carbon hydrogen.

In 2019 the Government announced a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to encourage private sector investment in hydrogen. We are also investing in innovation, providing up to £121m to support a range of projects to explore and develop the potential of low carbon hydrogen. This includes production, storage and end use in heat, industry and transport.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what discussions they have had and with whom, and (2) what evaluations they have undertaken, in relation to (a) investing in hydrogen projects, and (b) supporting a UK hydrogen strategy, through the upcoming Spending Review.

The Government has been working closely with industry and expert groups on hydrogen, including through the Hydrogen Advisory Council.

At Spring Budget 2020, the Chancellor announced at least £800m to establish Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in at least two sites. This will play an important role in the production of low carbon hydrogen.

In 2019 the Government announced a £100m Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund to encourage private sector investment in hydrogen. We are also investing in innovation, providing up to £121m to support a range of projects to explore and develop the potential of low carbon hydrogen. This includes production, storage and end use in heat, industry and transport.

25th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to protect the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers housed in the disused army barracks in (1) Penally, and (2) Kent; what particular provisions are in place for torture survivors; and how they are managing any COVID-19 outbreaks on both sites.

Protecting the health and safety of asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic has been our priority and to test our effectiveness we have reviewed the sites we use for coronavirus regulation and guidance compliance.

This is augmented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning of surfaces, availability of hand sanitisers, a track and trace system and communications with residents around COVID-19 control measures.

We work closely with our accommodation providers to ensure that all asylum seekers in supported accommodation are aware of, and have access to, Migrant Help’s helpline. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if service users need help, advice or guidance; including signposting to relevant mental and medical health services. Asylum seekers also have the same access to coronavirus testing as the rest of the general population.

Asylum seekers at the barracks must self-isolate if they test positive or have been exposed to someone who has. We are working closely with the local health authority; Public Health England and Public Health Wales; and additional support staff, as well as on site medical staff, are on-site to ensure that all individuals who have to self-isolate can do so and are following all medical advice.

Additionally, regular welfare checks are conducted on service users, including behavioural monitoring of those who show signs of vulnerability, and where appropriate safeguarding referrals are made to relevant bodies.

Furthermore, as part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring the support for potential and confirmed victims of modern slavery, individuals with a positive reasonable grounds decision who have consented to Victim Care Contract (VCC) support – who are also asylum seekers in asylum support accommodation – will receive essential support services from a VCC support worker, who can provide specialist support and advocacy services to assist victims to rebuild their lives.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the hunger strikes and other protests undertaken by some of the residents of asylum seeker accommodation at Napier Barracks in Folkestone; what steps they are taking (1) to investigate, and (2) to address, the cause of such protests; what education and leisure facilities they (a) have provided, and (b) intend to provide, for use by those residents; and what provision is in place for (i) mental health, (ii) pastoral, and (iii) spiritual, support.

The Government takes the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously. We provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with safe, warm and secure accommodation, whilst their claims are being processed.

Since Napier Barracks opened for asylum accommodation, the Home Office has worked closely with Clearsprings and Migrant Help, providers of accommodation and advice services, and in partnership with local authorities, the police force and other partners to ensure that the site operates safely, securely, and in accordance with public health guidance. In addition to support provided on site, Home Office officials have held discussions with asylum seekers about their concerns and to provide further reassurance, including about their safety and wellbeing.

In response to the to the protests held at Napier, officials arranged a call with some of the residents to listen to their concerns. Reassurances were provided that moves out of the camp will shortly recommence, with vulnerability, time spent in the asylum process and overall length of stay in initial accommodation as a key considerations in this process. Weekly Home Office-led forums with residents will also be held going forward and surveys in relation to food and living standards at the site will be undertaken.

Asylum seekers’ basic needs are being met, including three meals per day provided by an on-site chef. In addition, Clearsprings Ready Homes offers those on-site wraparound services including a variety of sports, leisure and educational activities on site. These include English classes, televisions and Wi-fi, and a games room with equipment including pool tables, footballs, basketballs and board games. Mobile telephones are provided if asylum seekers do not have one to ensure that contact can be made.

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns regarding accommodation or support services, and they can get information about how to obtain further support including legal advice where appropriate.

At Napier Barracks the Home Office have worked closely with the Local Clinical Commissioning Group in Kent to ensure that arrangements are in place for asylum seekers to access health care as required. The operation of the sites takes cultural and religious needs into account. There are multi-faith rooms at both sites and catering will take account of dietary requirements in accordance with religious needs.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with local authorities about the commencement of their new, consolidated, global resettlement scheme and the resettlement of 5,000 refugees in one year at the conclusion of the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme; and what was the outcome of any such discussions.

We have been working closely with key domestic and international stakeholders on plans to safely resume UK resettlement arrivals against the backdrop of unprecedented restrictions and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of this work, and as announced by Baroness Williams of Trafford in the House of Lords on 9 November, the UK will shortly restart UK resettlement arrivals to fulfil our commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and we are working closely with partners to deliver this commitment.

Due to the lead times for refugee arrivals, it is likely that we will see most refugees start to arrive early in the new year.

Decisions regarding resettlement beyond the completion of this scheme are yet to be made and will need to take account of the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing pressures on the asylum system. We have committed to a review of safe and legal routes to the UK. We are aware that the pause in resettlement has had an impact on our resettlement partners and will continue to work with them as future plans are developed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the fraud and corruption charges against Georgy Bedzhamov in the context of his application for British citizenship.

I cannot comment on the specifics of individual cases.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill includes a requirement that data on domestic abuse is gathered on those aged 74 years old and over.

The Government fully recognises that those aged 74 and over can be victims of domestic abuse, and we are committed to protecting and supporting all victims of this devastating crime. The new statutory definition of domestic abuse in Part 1 of the Domestic Abuse Bill does not contain an upper age limit.

Testing carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) supported raising the upper age limit of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) from 59 to 74 years, which was implemented from April 2017.

However, this testing also showed that self-completion (whereby the respondent completes the survey questions on a tablet computer) declined as age increased, with the proportion of people completing the modules being much lower for those aged 75 and over. The ONS concluded that the lower response rate for those aged 75 and over would prevent the production of sufficiently robust data, while increasing the burden on respondents.

The methodology used by the CSEW is not a matter for legislation. That is why ministers have raised this issue directly with the National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, Professor Sir Ian Diamond. The ONS Centre for Crime and Justice has committed to test whether it is possible to further increase the upper age limit in a future review. We welcome this commitment.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 14 May (HL3508), what are the specific exemptions the Civil Aviation Authority have granted to the Emergency Services, including the police; and from which particular requirements in the Air Navigation Order 2016 those agencies are so exempted.

The use of drones is regulated by the Air Navigation Order (ANO) 2016.

In July 2017 the CAA issued an exemption to the emergency services to allow for greater flexibility in the operation of drones in the event of an immediate risk to life or a critical incident; subject to certain safeguards.

  • The exemption relates to Article 94(3) – operation of a drone within visual line of sight.

  • Article 95 - operation within minimum distances from congested areas, people, vessels, vehicles and structures.

These exemptions are subject to additional safeguards set out by the CAA and remain valid.

On the 27th of March 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic the CAA issued an exemption to the ANO allowing emergency services to operate drones more flexibly to enforce lockdown requirements. These exemptions related to:

  • Article 94(3) – requires that the operation of a drone is done within visual line of sight;

  • Article 95 - operation within minimum distances from congested areas, people, vessels, vehicles and structures; the exemption reduces the distance from 50m to 10 or 20 dependent on the weight of the drone.

  • Article 94A(2)- relating to the maximum height at which drones are allowed to operate, the exemption increased the distance from 400ft to 600ft. On the 8th of April this height was reduced from 600ft to 500ft due to an increase in general helicopter activity.

These exemptions were subject to additional safeguards such as the need for an operational observer and to maintain the UA in visual line of sight at all times.

The Covid-19 exemptions have now been revoked due to the return of regular aviation activity.

Subject to meeting the requirements within the ANO and any applicable exemptions issued by the CAA, it is an operational matter for police forces to decide how to deploy drones.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers have been granted to (1) police, and (2) other bodies, for the use of drones and other surveillance technology in order to enforce their responsibilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, introduced on 26 March, gave the police the powers they need to ensure compliance with essential measures on social distancing.

Decisions to use drones and in which circumstances are operational matters for police forces who are subject to the requirements of the Air Navigation Order and Data Protection legislation when operating drones.

The Civil Aviation Authority have granted the Emergency Services, including the police, an exemption from some of the requirements in the Air Navigation Order 2016 to support the enforcement of Government COVID-19 restrictions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) increase asylum support rates in line with Universal Credit, and (2) provide further support to asylum seekers to assist with essential living requirements, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers. There are no plans to increase the level of the cash allowances to Universal Credit levels.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the British Red Cross, (2) the Refugee Council, (3) the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and (4) any other relevant organisations, about how best to enhance the safety and wellbeing of (a) child refugees, and (b) asylum seekers; and whether any such discussions include consideration of the possible benefits of family reunion to such safety and wellbeing.

The Home Office engage with a range of external organisations to discuss the support and care provided to unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children. This includes regular discussions with NGOs about a number of issues that affect unaccompanied children who are in the UK.

Our current refugee family reunion policy does not allow child refugees to sponsor their parents. The Government’s view is that if children could sponsor parents, it would risk creating incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and risk hazardous journeys to the UK. This plays into the hands of criminal gangs who exploit vulnerable people and goes against our safeguarding responsibilities.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Jun 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they made of the letter, published in The Observer on 9 June, from 70 senior leaders from universities and research institutes across the UK warning that “visa refusals for African cultural, development and academic leaders ... [are] undermining 'Global Britain’s' reputation as well as efforts to tackle global challenges"; and what steps they intend to take in response.

All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence available, in line with the immigration rules. We welcome international academics and recognise their contribution to the UK’s world-leading education sector.

When we are informed of large academic events, UKVI strategic engagement teams can assist event organisers and attendees with the visa application process.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Mar 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the removal of British citizenship from Shamima Begum has put the UK in breach of international law; and if so, what steps they intend to take to rectify the situation.

We do not comment on individual cases.

Decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are taken in accordance with UK law and our international obligations under the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any adverse impact of current immigration policies on the provision of research in British universities into gender-based displacement and violence in Iraqi Kurdistan; and what has been the impact of any refusal of visas to Iraqi-based researchers on such research.

As set out in the Immigration Rules, the permitted activities for visitors cover a broad range of tourist and business activities, which includes visiting academics and researchers. The Immigration Rules support this Government’s agendas and efforts, and ensures the UK is open for business.

All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available and in line with UK Immigration Rules, regardless of the applicant’s nationality.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Jan 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any adverse impact of current immigration policies (1) on Government supported projects designed to meet the challenges of the aftermath of the war in Iraq, and (2) the availability of visas for Iraqi civil servants wishing to participate in such projects at British universities.

As set out in the Immigration Rules, the permitted activities for visitors cover a broad range of tourist and business activities. The Immigration Rules support this Government’s agendas and efforts, and ensures the UK is open for business.

All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits, on the basis of the evidence available and in line with UK Immigration Rules, regardless of the applicant’s nationality.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that women seeking asylum, who have experienced forms of violence which may be difficult to disclose, have access to legal representatives who are allowed the time and capacity to obtain the requisite evidence.

All asylum claimants have the opportunity to be legally represented during their asylum claim, and legal aid funding is provided to those who need it.

In addition, Migrant Help is funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Home Office to provide independent advice and guidance to assist those considering seeking asylum and those that have claimed asylum to move through and understand the asylum process. Migrant Help also run an asylum helpline and provide advice in a language that the asylum seeker speaks, that is free and accessible to all asylum seekers. This includes support for claimants who are seeking legal advice.

All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up to date country information, which covers country specific issues relating to torture, gender based harm, including female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation, violence in conflict, domestic violence and those subject to violence relating to LGBT persecution. We ensure that claimants are given every opportunity to disclose information relevant to their claim before a decision is taken, even where that information may be sensitive or difficult to disclose.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Sep 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that LGBT people seeking asylum, who have experienced torture and forms of violence that may be difficult to disclose, have access to legal representatives who are allowed time and capacity to obtain the requisite evidence.

All asylum claimants have the opportunity to be legally represented during their asylum claim, and legal aid funding is provided to those who need it.

In addition, Migrant Help is funded by the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Home Office to provide independent advice and guidance to assist those considering seeking asylum and those that have claimed asylum to move through and understand the asylum process. Migrant Help also run an asylum helpline and provide advice in a language that the asylum seeker speaks, that is free and accessible to all asylum seekers. This includes support for claimants who are seeking legal advice.

All asylum claims lodged in the UK are carefully considered on their individual merits against a background of relevant case law and up to date country information, which covers country specific issues relating to torture, gender based harm, including female genital mutilation (FGM), sexual exploitation, violence in conflict, domestic violence and those subject to violence relating to LGBT persecution. We ensure that claimants are given every opportunity to disclose information relevant to their claim before a decision is taken, even where that information may be sensitive or difficult to disclose.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jul 2018
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to using the phrase "economic or other migrants who do not meet the legal requirements of host countries" in the place of "illegal economic migrants" or "illegal migrants".

No consideration has been given to this phrase. The Immigration Acts refer to persons who require leave to enter or remain but do not have it.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Jan 2017
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking, in the context of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, to ensure that the rights and interest of the child are paramount, especially when the immigration status of their parents is uncertain or precarious.

Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 ensures that the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is taken into account in carrying out immigration, asylum and nationality functions. This reflects the UK’s support for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3 of which requires the best interests of the child to be a primary consideration in actions that concern them. The Home Office underpins the primary legislation with provisions in the Immigration Rules and with policy and guidance for specific immigration functions affecting children.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have in place to publish the details of police, law enforcement specialists and other relevant civilian experts in service in UN operations and at the UN Headquarters.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has established the new Joint International Policing Hub to triage requests for international police assistance through a single point. The Hub joins up the police at a national level and with Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is intended to promote the UK model of policing by consent. Decisions on who to recommend to deploy, and where, lies with Chief Constables, in conjunction with their Police and Crime Commissioners.

As the first professional body for all of policing in England and Wales, the College of Policing develops standards and guidance for policing. The College is considering flexibility and the structure of entry, exit and re-entry of officers. It is also considering routes for officers to gain external experience, such as secondments, as part of the Leadership Review.

The Government has no plans to publish the details of police, law enforcement specialists and other relevant civilian experts in service in UN operations and at the UN Headquarters. Any personnel deployed as part of a national contingent are listed on the UN website: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2016/apr16_4.pdf

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential value in career development of service by police on international deployments.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has established the new Joint International Policing Hub to triage requests for international police assistance through a single point. The Hub joins up the police at a national level and with Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is intended to promote the UK model of policing by consent. Decisions on who to recommend to deploy, and where, lies with Chief Constables, in conjunction with their Police and Crime Commissioners.

As the first professional body for all of policing in England and Wales, the College of Policing develops standards and guidance for policing. The College is considering flexibility and the structure of entry, exit and re-entry of officers. It is also considering routes for officers to gain external experience, such as secondments, as part of the Leadership Review.

The Government has no plans to publish the details of police, law enforcement specialists and other relevant civilian experts in service in UN operations and at the UN Headquarters. Any personnel deployed as part of a national contingent are listed on the UN website: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2016/apr16_4.pdf

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they co-operate with police authorities to promote service by police personnel with the UN and other international bodies.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has established the new Joint International Policing Hub to triage requests for international police assistance through a single point. The Hub joins up the police at a national level and with Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office and is intended to promote the UK model of policing by consent. Decisions on who to recommend to deploy, and where, lies with Chief Constables, in conjunction with their Police and Crime Commissioners.

As the first professional body for all of policing in England and Wales, the College of Policing develops standards and guidance for policing. The College is considering flexibility and the structure of entry, exit and re-entry of officers. It is also considering routes for officers to gain external experience, such as secondments, as part of the Leadership Review.

The Government has no plans to publish the details of police, law enforcement specialists and other relevant civilian experts in service in UN operations and at the UN Headquarters. Any personnel deployed as part of a national contingent are listed on the UN website: http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/contributors/2016/apr16_4.pdf

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking, in Calais and throughout Europe, to enhance the processes for identifying children with rights to family reunion in the UK.

The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which inform unaccompanied children and others of their right to claim asylum in France and of the family reunion process. The frequency of these campaigns has been increased in line with the Joint Declaration signed in August 2015. Since February 2016 more than 20 children have been transferred to the UK from France and there are many other cases in train.

75 UK personnel will be deployed to Greece to support implementation of the EU-Turkey Migration Agreement. Supporting the operation of the Greek asylum system is a fundamental part of our approach to identifying individuals in need of protection at the earliest opportunity, including those who may be eli-gible for family reunification under the Dublin Regulation. We are also providing bilateral support to the Dublin Unit in Italy.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have made to use their discretionary powers under the Dublin III Regulations to take charge of the asylum applications of any mothers or fathers with children who are seeking to reunite with family members in the UK.

The Dublin III Regulation sets out the criteria for determining responsibility for asylum cases and using discretionary powers. The procedures for dealing with an asylum seeker in Calais, including an unaccompanied child, are for the French authorities to determine, in line with their obligations under the Regulation. We are committed to making the Dublin Regulation work effectively and are in ongoing discussions with France, Italy and Greece to ensure that the right processes and resources are in place to enable this. We are also working with other EU Member States, the UNHCR and other non-governmental organisations and local authorities in the UK to establish the best way to implement the provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 for the transfer of unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in the EU to the UK.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to publish guidance on the handling of family reunion cases under the Dublin III Regulations including clarifying responsibilities, procedures for unaccompanied children in Calais prior to any transfer, and ensuring that local authorities have sufficient funding and capacity to conduct assessments.

The Dublin III Regulation sets out the criteria for determining responsibility for asylum cases and using discretionary powers. The procedures for dealing with an asylum seeker in Calais, including an unaccompanied child, are for the French authorities to determine, in line with their obligations under the Regulation. We are committed to making the Dublin Regulation work effectively and are in ongoing discussions with France, Italy and Greece to ensure that the right processes and resources are in place to enable this. We are also working with other EU Member States, the UNHCR and other non-governmental organisations and local authorities in the UK to establish the best way to implement the provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 for the transfer of unaccompanied refugee children from elsewhere in the EU to the UK.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether improving the accessibility and clarity of the rules covering family reunion, and ensuring that those rules were more flexibility applied, would prevent perilous journeys being undertaken by children seeking asylum in the UK.

Our family reunion policy is intended to allow immediate family members, who formed part of a family unit before the refugee fled their country, to reunite in the UK with the refugee and rebuild their lives together. Those family members can apply from the country in which they are resident.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that unaccompanied children in Northern France have information about the process for reuniting with their families in the UK under the Dublin III Regulations, that this is presented in a form and language that the children can understand, and that it includes information about the process for asylum transfers, the likely timeframes involved, and the criteria on which decisions are based.

Under the UK-France Joint Declaration of 20 August 2015, the UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases the two governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units and the UK seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process of identifying, protecting and transferring relevant cases to the UK. The Home Office will review the existing arrangements as part of the work to implement the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act 2016.

To assist with the identification of potential victims of trafficking and exploitation (including unaccompanied children) in Calais the UK has funded a project run by a French non-governmental organisation which aims to identify and direct these vulnerable people to the appropriate support services in France.

The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which informs individuals (including unaccompanied children) of their rights to claim asylum in France and gives them information on family reunification. The frequency of these campaigns has been increased in line with the Joint Declaration signed in August 2015.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to work together with the French government to ensure that unaccompanied children have access to high quality legal assistance to submit claims for family reunion in the UK, and to fund improved measures for identification of, and support for, unaccompanied minors in Calais and Northern France.

Under the UK-France Joint Declaration of 20 August 2015, the UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases the two governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units and the UK seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process of identifying, protecting and transferring relevant cases to the UK. The Home Office will review the existing arrangements as part of the work to implement the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act 2016.

To assist with the identification of potential victims of trafficking and exploitation (including unaccompanied children) in Calais the UK has funded a project run by a French non-governmental organisation which aims to identify and direct these vulnerable people to the appropriate support services in France.

The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which informs individuals (including unaccompanied children) of their rights to claim asylum in France and gives them information on family reunification. The frequency of these campaigns has been increased in line with the Joint Declaration signed in August 2015.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2016
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to move more UK officials to Calais and Northern France to work full-time on identifying, screening and processing potential transfers under the Dublin III regulations, and to make special provision for cases where further evidence of family links is needed.

Under the UK-France Joint Declaration of 20 August 2015, the UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases the two governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units and the UK seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process of identifying, protecting and transferring relevant cases to the UK. The Home Office will review the existing arrangements as part of the work to implement the relevant provisions of the Immigration Act 2016.

To assist with the identification of potential victims of trafficking and exploitation (including unaccompanied children) in Calais the UK has funded a project run by a French non-governmental organisation which aims to identify and direct these vulnerable people to the appropriate support services in France.

The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which informs individuals (including unaccompanied children) of their rights to claim asylum in France and gives them information on family reunification. The frequency of these campaigns has been increased in line with the Joint Declaration signed in August 2015.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have taken steps to ensure that any funding they provide to counter-narcotics schemes in other countries, including Iran, Pakistan and The Gambia, promotes the removal of the death penalty.

The UK works with a range of international partners to combat the flow of illicit drugs. We do so to tackle the international drugs trade and minimise the threat it poses to the UK and its citizens. The UK Government takes its domestic and international human rights obligations seriously. We remain opposed to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and are consistent in our communication with international partners on this issue. Promoting and safeguarding human rights is, and will remain, a fundamental component of our international work.

13th Jul 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Bahrainis have been granted asylum or other protection status in the United Kingdom since January 2011.

There were 62 Bahraini nationals granted asylum or other form of protection in the UK from January 2011 to March 2015, based on initial decisions for main applicants.

The figure provided is published in the Immigration Statistics Release by the Home Office, in Table as_01_q “Asylum applications and initial decisions for main applicants by country of nationality”, available from the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics on asylum applications and initial decisions within the Immigration Statistics release. A copy of the latest release, Immigration Statistics January – March 2015 is available from the Library of the House.

10th Feb 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following their policy of prioritising survivors of sexual violence for their Syrian refugee resettlement programme, what similar action they are taking in respect of the situation of Yazidi women and girls.

The Government is deeply concerned about the crises in Syria and Iraq and the suffering and hardship they are causing for millions of people, particularly those who have endured appalling violence, persecution and abuse. We are committed to helping those in need and have so far provided £39.5 million to help the 2.2 million displaced Iraqis, many of whom were victims of ISIL’s persecution. These funds provide food, shelter, water and medical care to thousands of vulnerable families.

Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for the Government. The action we are taking includes providing funding to support the UN Population Fund in the coordination and information management of the international response to support victims of sexual and gender based violence. The UK has also specifically committed funding to help establish community outreach teams that are providing psychosocial support and referrals to appropriate services for survivors of sexual and gender based violence.

We will continue to be actively involved in the region and will closely monitor developments but we have no current plans to expand the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme, or implement a similar scheme specifically for Iraq.

12th Jan 2015
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have studied the report by Amnesty International detailing the extent of sexual violence by Islamic State on Yazidi women in Iraq; and whether they will now increase the number of refugees from the region being resettled in the United Kingdom, including Yazidi survivors of sexual violence.

The Government is aware of Amnesty International’s report and condemns all forms of sexual violence. However the Government does not consider that a policy of increasing the number of refugees resettled from the affected region is the most effective way to address the suffering of those displaced.

We believe we can make a greater impact and help more people through the provision of substantial humanitarian aid in the region and by working with the Iraqi government and international partners to find a solution to the conflict. The UK has committed £39.5 million to meet humanitarian needs in Iraq, including shelter, water, sanitation and medical care. Our aid is reaching displaced people across Iraq, including in the Kurdish region, where many Yazidis have fled to. We are also working with the Iraqi government and the international community to tackle the threat posed by ISIL and promote an inclusive, sovereign and democratic Iraq which will protect all Iraqi citizens.

The UK is ready to assist those from Iraq and other war-torn areas of the Middle East who come here in search of protection from violent persecution. We do so without discrimination, in accordance with the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government believes that this approach is the best way to help Iraqi nationals who have left their countries, and we therefore have no current plans to implement or extend resettlement schemes.

1st Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they are making, and with whom, for consultation on the guidance to support businesses in their preparation of the slavery and trafficking statement to be required by the enactment of clause 51 of the Modern Slavery Bill; and whether those consultations will involve both business and civil society.

Plans for a full and thorough consultation are currently being worked up. We recognise the importance of this measure and want to get it right. We will undertake a full consultation, involving key interested parties, including business and civil society.

1st Dec 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to begin their consultations on the guidance to support businesses in their preparation of the slavery and trafficking statement to be required by the enactment of clause 51 of the Modern Slavery Bill before the House of Lords completes its scrutiny of the bill; and when they intend those consultations to be completed.

We are committed to consulting on this important issue and to getting it right. The timing of the consultation is under consideration and further details will be announced shortly.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that confidential information about Sudanese citizens gathered in the context of asylum claims is not provided to the Sudanese authorities.

We do not share any details of an asylum claim with the authorities of an individual’s country of origin.

The Home Office takes its commitments under the Data Protection Act seriously, and all information taken in the process of a person's asylum claim is treated in confidence. All personal information is stored securely and any member of staff involved in the handling of personal information obtained in the context of a person's asylum claim undertakes specific, mandatory training on information management.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the appropriateness of the use of the Detained Fast Track process in Sudanese asylum cases.

The Detained Fast Track (DFT) and the Detained Non-Suspensive Appeals (DNSA) processes exist to deal with applications for asylum that appear, after screening, to be ones where a particularly quick decision can be made. Entry to the Detained Fast Track procedure is determined by reference to published policy available on the Gov.uk website.

The policy neither requires nor excludes applications based on the nationality or country of origin of the claimants. There is a general presumption that the majority of asylum applications are ones on which a quick decision may be made, unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise. The system operates flexibly and in cases where it becomes apparent that an application is more complicated and cannot be determined within the DFT/DNSA indicative time-scale, the case is taken out of the process and the claimant normally released from detention.

26th Sep 2014
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have in place to ensure the safety of those Sudanese who have claimed asylum in the United Kingdom but who are returned to Sudan.

All asylum claims, including those from Sudanese nationals, are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights against the background of the latest country information and relevant case law. The Home Office monitors the human rights situation in Sudan and will only return individuals who it, and the courts, are satisfied are not in need of international protection and when it is safe
to do so.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of lethal drones and their commitment to the rule of law internationally.

The Government's policy is to defend the UK and its citizens against threats to their security. In implementing that policy the Government may draw on a wide range of tools, including, in extremis, the use of military force to remove such threats when there is no other effective option. If the Government does resort to the use of military force then it will act in accordance with the requirements of applicable international law and we expect others to do likewise. This applies equally to Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems or 'drones' as it does to any other military asset or weapon. All UK weapon systems are reviewed to ensure their compliance with international law.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)