Nick Thomas-Symonds Written Questions

11 Questions to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office tabled by Nick Thomas-Symonds


Date Title Questioner
30 Oct 2018, 4:44 p.m. Burma: Politics and Government Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

What recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Myanmar.

Answer (Mark Field)

The Foreign Secretary visited Burma in September, including Rakhine. The situation is grave. He met Aung San Suu Kyi and told her clear accountability for those responsible for atrocities was critical. The UK initiated the EU’s new sanctions on seven military commanders and a strengthened arms embargo. The Foreign Secretary told the Foreign Affairs Council we would likely need to take further action in response to the UN Fact Finding Mission report. We are now discussing options for further EU sanctions with member states, including whether to sanction the Commander-in-Chief and his Deputy.

11 Sep 2018, 4:45 p.m. Burma: Discrimination Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle religious and racial discrimination in Burma.

Answer (Mark Field)

​The British Government continues to be deeply concerned by religious and racial discrimination against minorities in Burma. The Government has repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of minorities in Burma in the Human Rights Council in September 2017 and March 2018. The Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations raised the UK's concerns about the persecution faced by minority groups in Burma in his speech to the Human Rights Council of 27 February 2018. Our Embassy continues to support projects in Burma addressing the drivers of prejudice and inter-communal violence.

11 Sep 2018, 4:43 p.m. Rohingya: Crime Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the avenues available to bring the perpetrators of crimes against the Rohingya under international law to justice.

Answer (Mark Field)

The British Government condemns the atrocities in Rakhine and is committed to working with international partners to bring those responsible to justice. The UK convened a meeting of the UN Security Council on 28 August chaired by the Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations to ensure the Council remains focused on the Rohingya crisis, including the need for accountability. When the Security Council considers the final UN Fact-Finding Mission report, we will have the opportunity to discuss all options to ensure accountability. On 6 September 2018, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled that courtholders jurisdiction over the deportation of the Rohingya population from Burma to Bangladesh. The UK fully supports the court in its efforts to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.

7 Mar 2018, 3:35 p.m. Nuclear Disarmament Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, what steps the Government is taking to support gradual multilateral nuclear disarmament.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 January to PQ 124479.

7 Mar 2018, 3:26 p.m. Nuclear Disarmament Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, whether the Government plans to attend the UN High-Level Conference on Nuclear Disarmament in May.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

We do not believe the UN High Level Conference in May 2018 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. We will consider our approach to the Conference closer to the time.

7 Mar 2018, 10:51 a.m. Burma: Politics and Government Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what further steps the Government is taking to secure a UN resolution condemning persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar and calling for the return of refugees’ citizenship.

Answer (Mark Field)

​The UK co-sponsored resolutions on Burma in both the UN General Assembly (November 2017) and UN Human Rights Council (December 2017). Both resolutions raised serious concerns about the situation in Rakhine and called for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the displaced Rohingya. They also set out support for early implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Recommendations, including on citizenship.

The UN Security Council, in response to a UK led call, convened a further session on 13 February to discuss the Rohingya crisis. We will work to ensure the UN Security Council remains focused on the Rohingya crisis and will consider how best to use the various tools, including resolutions, at the Council’s disposal.

7 Mar 2018, 10:33 a.m. Burma: Rohingya Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Answer (Mark Field)

The Government has consistently urged the Government of Burma the risks in Rakhine since they came to power in April 2016, and urging them to address the underlying issues in Rakhine, including discrimination against the Rohingya people. The UK has supported the Rakhine Advisory Commission (RAC), established by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to look at these underlying issues. The UK believes that full implementation of the RAC recommendations are the best opportunity to achieve a long-term and sustainable settlement in Rakhine State which includes the Rohingya.

The Foreign Secretary visited Burma on 10-11 February and spoke with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi about finding a peaceful solution to the humanitarian crisis and for the Rohingya to be able to return to Rakhine province. The Foreign Secretary continues to raise the plight of the Rohingya in his discussions with his counterparts in other countries, as well as in discussions at the EU and UN.

23 Feb 2018, 2:33 p.m. Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government’s priorities are for the next Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference; and what steps they are taking to implement those priorities.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The Government believes that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should remain the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. We urge all states that have not yet done so to join the NPT as non-Nuclear Weapons States. At this year's Preparatory Committee we will continue to engage with a wide range of states on how we can tackle the challenges that we face on non-proliferation and disarmament and enable access to the peaceful use of nuclear technology. The UK plays a leading role on disarmament verification and we will continue to press for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the start of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament and increased transparency and trust between Nuclear Weapons States in order to develop the global conditions in which nuclear armed states feel confident enough to relinquish their weapons.

22 Feb 2018, 5:47 p.m. Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​The British Government does not intend to sign, ratify or become party to the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. We firmly believe that the best way to achieve a world without nuclear weapons is through gradual multilateral disarmament negotiated using a step-by-step approach, consistent with the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

31 Jan 2018, 2:31 p.m. Nuclear Disarmament Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps his Department has taken to help achieve multilateral disarmament world-wide.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​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 and in the Preparatory Committees ahead of the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

31 Jan 2018, 2:30 p.m. Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation Nick Thomas-Symonds

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to help reduce nuclear tensions worldwide.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​The UK will attend the next Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in April 2018 where we will engage with a wide range of states on how we can together tackle the challenges that we face on non proliferation and disarmament. The DPRK has yet to signal it is ready to abandon its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes which pose an unacceptable threat to the international community and we are working closely with our international partners to exert maximum political and economic pressure on DPRK to change its direction. We are strong supporters of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is successfully curtailing Iran's nuclear weapons programme.