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Written Question
Leah Sharibu
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what communications (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with her Nigerian counterpart on the need to locate and rescue Leah Sharibu.

Answered by Vicky Ford

We are deeply concerned by the abduction and continued captivity of children by Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) and Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. We have routinely raised the case of Leah Sharibu with the Government of Nigeria since she was abducted by ISWA in 2018. Most recently, in June this year, officials at the British High Commission in Abuja raised Leah's case with the Nigerian authorities.

My predecessor visited Nigeria in April where he discussed insecurity, including kidnaps, with the Foreign Minister and the President's Chief of Staff, and raised the importance of protecting all communities. The Nigerian Government has provided assurances it is doing all it can to secure the release of all those kidnapped. We have also provided support to Nigerian Police Force units to improve their anti-kidnap capacity, to help reduce harm to victims and to hold those responsible to account.


Written Question
Husain Moosa and Mohammed Ramadhan
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the 19 May 2021 decision adopted by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) that the ongoing detention of death row inmates Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa in Bahrain (a) is arbitrary under four of the five categories of the WGAD’s methods of work (b) contravenes nine articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and (c) contravenes nine articles of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, what representations the Government plans to make to the Government of Bahrain on rescinding those death sentences and urgently bringing their detention in line with international law.

Answered by James Cleverly

Ministers including myself and our officials have consistently reiterated the UK's opposition to the use of the death penalty, in all circumstances. We continue to monitor and raise the cases of Husain Moosa, Mohammed Ramadhan and others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the Oversight bodies. We understand that the Bahraini Government is in contact with the UN regarding its human rights reform efforts.


Written Question
Bahrain: Electronic Surveillance
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports further to reports that (a) Bahraini people living in exile in London were named in the Pegasus project leak as targets for Israeli NSO Group, including human rights defender Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and (b) at least two Bahraini activists in London, Moosa Mohammed and Yusuf Al-Jamri had their devices hacked by Pegasus spyware; and what steps he plans to take to prevent cyber attacks on Bahraini people living in the UK.

Answered by James Cleverly

While we do not comment on the use of Pegasus against individuals, it is vital that all cyber actors use capabilities in a way that is legal, responsible and proportionate to ensure cyberspace remains a safe and prosperous place for everyone. The National Cyber Security Strategy, supported by £1.9 billion funding, has transformed the UK's fight against the cyber threat since 2016.


Written Question
India: Minority Groups
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will raise the situation of Christian and Muslim minorities in India with her Indian counterpart in any upcoming discussions.

Answered by Amanda Milling

Where we have concerns over discrimination because of religion or belief, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at ministerial level. We also raise issues relevant to religious minorities in our wider engagement with Union and State authorities. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, discussed UK Parliamentary interest in human rights in India with Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on 23 July.


Written Question
India: Minority Groups
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will support the formation of an international commission to assess reports of violence and other human rights violations against religious minorities in India.

Answered by Amanda Milling

We look to the government of India to assess and address any concerns in line with India's strong constitution. We will continue to work with both Union and State authorities to support freedom of religion in India, raising concerns where we have them.


Written Question
Gulf Strategy Fund
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the net expenditure of the Gulf Strategy Fund by beneficiary state for the financial year 2020-21.

Answered by James Cleverly

The Gulf Strategy Fund spend by programme is listed in the published summary: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/official-development-assistance-oda-fcdo-international-programme-spend-objectives-2020-to-2021/gulf-strategy-fund-programme-summary.


Written Question
Abdul Jalil Al-Singace
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the hunger strike by the academic imprisoned in Bahrain, Dr Abuljalil Al Singace, starting on 8 July 2021, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on the (a) release from prison of and (b) return of confiscated research to Dr Al Singace.

Answered by James Cleverly

We continue to monitor and raise the case of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace and others as necessary, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the oversight bodies.


Written Question
Gulf Strategy Fund
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to her Department's report Human Rights and Democracy: 2020 report published on 8 July 2021 whether the Government provided assistance for the development of the integrated National Human Rights Action Plan through the Gulf Strategy Fund; if the Government will support Bahrain in the implementation of that Plan; and what reforms the NHRAP expected to deliver.

Answered by James Cleverly

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.


Written Question
Gulf Strategy Fund
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will name the bodies that implemented the Gulf Strategy Fund-funded assistance received by the National Intelligence Agency Ombudsman in the financial year 2020-2021.

Answered by James Cleverly

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.


Written Question
Hasan Abdulnabi Manoor
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to reports that medical negligence may have contributed to the death of 35 year old Bahraini prisoner, Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor, on 25 July 2021, and representations from Amnesty International and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy for an independent impartial investigation into his death, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the reports of the death of Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor.

Answered by James Cleverly

We are aware of reports regarding the death of Hasan Abdulnabi Mansoor. The Government of Bahrain has been clear in its public statements that access to medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the constitution of Bahrain. We encourage those with concerns about treatment in detention to report them to the appropriate human rights oversight body and we continue to urge the oversight bodies to carry out swift and thorough investigations into any claims made.


Written Question
Nigeria: Abduction
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support their Nigerian counterparts in locating and rescuing (a) Leah Sharibu and (b) other abducted girls in Nigeria.

Answered by Vicky Ford

We are deeply concerned by the abduction and continued captivity of children by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA) in North East Nigeria. Leah Sharibu, who was abducted by ISWA in 2018, and a number of the Chibok schoolgirls, abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, are among those still missing. We continue to raise these cases with the Government of Nigeria, most recently in June. The Nigerian Government has provided assurances it is doing all it can to secure the release of all those kidnapped.

We have provided mentoring and capacity building support to Nigerian Police Force units to improve their anti-kidnap capacity, to help reduce harm to victims and to hold those responsible to account. We are also providing a comprehensive package of support to Nigeria to help tackle the terrorist threat in the North East. My [Minister Ford] predecessor visited Nigeria in April where he discussed insecurity, including kidnaps, with the Foreign Minister and the President's Chief of Staff, and raised the importance of protecting all communities. He also discussed the impact insecurity has on education with the Nigerian Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Education in July in the margins of the Global Education Summit.


Written Question
India: Religious Freedom
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help promote the rights of religious minorities in India.

Answered by Amanda Milling

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects promoting minority rights. Over the last three years, they have worked with local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to bring together young people of diverse faith backgrounds to work together on social action projects in their local communities. This year, the British High Commission supported an interfaith leadership programme for a cohort of emerging Indian faith leaders, including Christians, creating an opportunity to exchange expertise on leading modern, inclusive faith communities, and promoting values of tolerance and multi-culturalism. We also raise issues relevant to religious minorities in our engagement with Union and State authorities. On 15 March, while visiting India, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, discussed the situation for Christians with India's then-Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy.


Written Question
India: Religious Freedom
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the charity Open Doors entitled Destructive Lies, what assessment her Department has made of the levels of freedom of religion or belief of Christian and Muslim minorities in India.

Answered by Amanda Milling

We look to India to uphold all freedoms and rights guaranteed in its strong constitution, and by the international instruments to which India is a party. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters, working with Union and State Governments, and with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), to build capacity and share expertise to promote human rights for all. We condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved.


Written Question
Islamic State
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking (a) independently and (b) jointly with (i) her international counterparts and (ii) international bodies to help ensure that victims of Daesh atrocities are provided with reparations.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK is a key ally to survivor and minority communities who suffered atrocities under Daesh. We played a leading role in the establishment of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD). We champion its work in gathering evidence of crimes, including sexual violence against minority communities and welcome its expanded engagement with witnesses, survivors and impacted communities. Our Embassy in Baghdad has regular discussions with the Government of Iraq and UNITAD, encouraging their closer co-operation to achieve justice for victims of Daesh's crimes.

The passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law in March 2021, which includes provisions to search for missing survivors, is a welcome step toward justice and reparations for survivors. We continue to work with a range of actors including the Government of Iraq, minorities' organisations and survivors to ensure this law is fully implemented. We are funding both psycho-social care for female survivors of conflict related sexual violence, and technical support to Iraq's Directorate of Yazidi Affairs, responsible for implementation of the law.


Written Question
Iraq: Yazidis
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Brendan O'Hara (SNP - Argyll and Bute)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have had with her international counterparts on establishing an investigation into the fate and location of the 2,673 Yazidi women and children who have been missing since 2014 in Iraq.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK is a key ally to survivor and minority communities who suffered atrocities under Daesh. We played a leading role in the establishment of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD). We champion its work in gathering evidence of crimes, including sexual violence against minority communities and welcome its expanded engagement with witnesses, survivors and impacted communities. Our Embassy in Baghdad has regular discussions with the Government of Iraq and UNITAD, encouraging their closer co-operation to achieve justice for victims of Daesh's crimes.

The passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law in March 2021, which includes provisions to search for missing survivors, is a welcome step toward justice and reparations for survivors. We continue to work with a range of actors including the Government of Iraq, minorities' organisations and survivors to ensure this law is fully implemented. We are funding both psycho-social care for female survivors of conflict related sexual violence, and technical support to Iraq's Directorate of Yazidi Affairs, responsible for implementation of the law.