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Written Question
Syria: Detainees
7 Dec 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure families from the UK who are detained in North East Syria receive medical care, including in cases where there is a clear risk to life.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK has no consular presence within Syria, which makes it difficult to provide direct consular assistance, but we carefully consider whether and how we can help every British national who directly seeks our assistance. The provision of medical care within camps in North East Syria is a matter for the camp authorities, but UK aid is provided to those in acute need in these camps, including British nationals. For example, in Al Hol camp, we help fund a wide range of activities including basic, life-saving healthcare, food, hygiene products, child protection and shelter, in addition to informal education support. When the population substantially increased in early 2019, UK aid provided 1,300 tents to the camp. The UK's funding is flexible and allows partners on the ground to plan for spikes in need.


Written Question
Syria: Detainees
7 Dec 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to facilitate welfare and proof of life checks for families from Britain who are detained in north-east Syria.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK has no consular presence within Syria from which to provide assistance. This makes it difficult to help but we take a case-by-case approach to any requests for assistance, which includes liaising with partners on the ground where feasible.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
15 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Turkish government on (a) the conflict in Northern Syria and (b) that country's policy towards YPG forces.

Answered by Wendy Morton

Ministers and officials regularly discuss the situation in northern Syria with the Government of Turkey. The Foreign Secretary discussed international efforts on Syria with Turkish Foreign Minister Çavusoglu during in his visit to London on 8 July.

We also regularly discuss our differences of views on the YPG, which is an important part of the Syrian Democratic Forces. We acknowledge Turkey's security concerns regarding the PKK. The UK sees a clear distinction between the PKK, which we proscribed as a terrorist organisation in 2001, and the SDF, the partner force of the Global Coalition against Daesh in Syria. We pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices made by SDF in the fight against Daesh. We continue to urge the Kurdish elements of the SDF to distance themselves from the PKK and its terrorist activity. The UK also calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect international law.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with the Turkish government on British volunteers fighting with the Peoples Protection Forces, known as the YPG.

Answered by Wendy Morton

We have regular discussions with the Turkish authorities on the issue of stopping foreign fighters passing through Turkey to or from Syria. Since 2011, the FCO has advised against all travel to Syria. As we have made clear, where individuals travel to the region to participate in fighting and then return, they will be investigated. Any decision on whether to prosecute will be taken independently by the Crown Prosecution Service on a case by case basis.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
14 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with its Turkish counterpart on recent legal action in British courts against individuals returning to the UK following periods fighting with the Peoples Protection Forces known as the YPG.

Answered by Wendy Morton

We have regular discussions with the Turkish authorities on the issue of stopping foreign fighters passing through Turkey to or from Syria. Since 2011, the FCO has advised against all travel to Syria. As we have made clear, where individuals travel to the region to participate in fighting and then return, they will be investigated. Any decision on whether to prosecute will be taken independently by the Crown Prosecution Service on a case by case basis.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
13 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether it is his policy that the activities of Kurdish fighters in Syria constitute terrorism.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK sees a clear distinction between the aims of the PKK, which we proscribed as a terrorist organisation in 2001, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the partner force of the Global Coalition against Daesh in Syria. We pay tribute to the courage and sacrifices made by SDF in the fight against Daesh. We continue to urge the Kurdish elements of the SDF to distance themselves from the PKK and its terrorist activity. The UK also calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to respect international law.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
13 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what (a) financial, (b) logistical and (c) military support has been provided by the Government to Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Answered by James Cleverly

As part of the Global Coalition the UK has provided military support, including airstrikes, to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the Kurdish YPG are a contingent part, in the campaign to remove Daesh from north-eastern Syria. We have also provided humanitarian and limited stabilisation support to address the immediate needs of the local population in areas under SDF control in north-eastern Syria. We maintain political and diplomatic contact with a number of Kurdish groups to work towards a political solution to the conflict.


Written Question
Syria: Armed Conflict
13 Jul 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the lawfulness of actions taken by Turkish forces in Syria and whether they are in breach of the UN Charter in terms of (a) unilateral use of military force, (b) use of unlawful weapons including chemical weapons, (c) ethnic cleansing and forcible displacement, (d) violence and atrocities against civilians, (e) discrimination of Kurdish populations and (f) use of jihadist militias.

Answered by James Cleverly

The UK made clear our opposition to the unilateral Turkish intervention in north-east Syria in October 2019. We welcome the ceasefire currently in place in the north-east and also acknowledge the important role Turkey has played in recent months to secure a ceasefire in Idlib. We consistently reiterate the importance of all parties to the Syrian conflict adhering to the current ceasefires and abiding by international law. The UK continues to raise concerns with Turkey over reports of violations of international law by Turkish backed forces in Syria, and to call for credible investigations into alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law in areas under the control of armed groups supported by Turkey.


Written Question
Embassies: Coronavirus
9 Jun 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answers of 18 May 2020 to Questions 44961 and 44962, if he will publish the results of the communications his Department has had with British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates on covid-19.

Answered by Nigel Adams

FCO Ministers and officials in the UK and in Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates, constantly engage with our international partners to understand their approaches to tackling COVID-19; inform our policy-making; and agree international action in response to the crisis. The FCO does not routinely publish internal communications


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
20 May 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what processes he has in place for UK embassies, high commissions and consulates to provide his Department with information on how covid-19 is being handled throughout the world.

Answered by Nigel Adams

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular communication with British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates to monitor COVID-19 developments across the world. Ministers and senior officials also regularly engage with their international counterparts. This includes in multilateral fora such as G7 Foreign Ministers or NATO and bilaterally.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
18 May 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what analysis his Department has carried out on the response to covid-19 in (a) South Korea, (b) Taiwan, (c) Singapore, (d) Hong Kong and (e) Australia.

Answered by Nigel Adams

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials are in regular communication with British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates to monitor COVID-19 developments across the world. Furthermore, Ministers and senior officials engage their international counterparts regularly. The FCO is looking closely at what others across the world are doing to tackle COVID-19, and is harnessing the UK's diplomatic network to best understand the approaches taken by others.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Disease Control
18 May 2020

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what analysis his Department has carried out on the response to covid-19 in (a) Austria, (b) Germany, (c) Italy, (d) France, (e) Spain, (f) Sweden, (g) Norway and (h) United States.

Answered by Wendy Morton

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials are in regular communication with British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates to monitor COVID-19 developments across the world. Furthermore, Ministers and senior officials engage their international counterparts regularly. The FCO is looking closely at what others across the world are doing to tackle COVID-19, and is harnessing the UK's diplomatic network to best understand the approaches taken by others.


Written Question
Christianity: Oppression
25 Feb 2019

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle the persecution of Christians overseas.

Answered by Mark Field

​The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to using our influence to defend Freedom of Religion or Belief as a universal human right which should be enjoyed by everyone. That is why the Prime Minister appointed Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon as her Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief. He regularly raises this topic with international counterparts and through the Human Rights Council. In recent years we have seen reports of a particular rise in the persecution of Christians. The Foreign Secretary launched the independent review of FCO support for persecuted Christians on 30 January. The Review will be led by the Bishop of Truro, and will map levels of persecution and discrimination against Christians around the world, and provide robust recommendations on how the FCO can respond. A final report will be presented to the Foreign Secretary this summer.


Written Question
Diplomatic Relations
25 Feb 2019

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to expand the UK’s diplomatic network after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered by Alan Duncan

The Foreign Secretary announced on 31 October 2018 the biggest strengthening of the diplomatic network in a generation. We will open 14 new and upgraded Posts, including nine Commonwealth Posts, and we are creating around 1,000 new staff positions, to be in place by the end of 2020.


Written Question
Amnesty International: Surveillance
8 Jul 2015

Questioner: David Davis (CON - Haltemprice and Howden)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal Determination of 22 June 2015, IPT/13/194/H, and subsequent correction of 1 July 2015, under what statutory provision the interception of the communications of Amnesty International by GCHQ was authorised.

Answered by Tobias Ellwood

It is the longstanding policy of successive British governments not to comment on intelligence matters. I refer my hon. Friend to the judgment of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, 22 June 2015, as corrected on 1 July 2015, which found that any interception that occurred was lawful and proportionate under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.