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Written Question
Kenya: Elections
13 Jan 2022

Questioner: Lyn Brown (LAB - West Ham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help support (a) the African Union and (b) civil society groups in preventing violence associated with the Kenyan Presidential election planned for August 2022.

Answered by Vicky Ford

Upcoming general elections in August are the responsibility of the Government of Kenya, all political parties, and the Kenyan people. Peaceful, free and credible elections, in line with international law, are critical to maintaining long term stability in Kenya. The UK is playing an important role in the international community to encourage all parties to work towards this goal. We are engaging at senior levels to encourage all parties to participate responsibly, avoid the use of inflammatory language, and denounce violence and hate speech.

The UK is also working with media and civil society to help deliver effective and peaceful elections, including through support for short and long term election monitoring, and promoting peace and community security in priority regions of the country - with a focus on elections security and preventing election related violence against women. We also encourage the accurate coverage of sensitive issues through our work with media organisations and journalists. We continue to support the African Union's Department for Political Affairs, Peace and Security to deliver peaceful and credible elections across Africa, including in Kenya. This includes support to short and long-term observation missions, longer-term capacity building and specific areas of technical assistance through third parties.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Females
13 Dec 2021

Questioner: Luke Evans (CON - Bosworth)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on supporting educational opportunities for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Answered by James Cleverly

We continue to press the Taliban to ensure the full and equal access to education for all. Secondary schools are now open to girls in at least 10 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces and the Taliban have publicly said they are working towards a plan to get all girls back to school. The Foreign Secretary has discussed women's rights, including girls' education, with international counterparts including at the G7 and at the 12 October extraordinary meeting of G20 Leaders on Afghanistan, where the Foreign Secretary represented the Prime Minister. We will continue to work with the international community to use our influence to secure women's and girls' rights to access to education and jobs and to participate in public life. The Minister of State for South Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, attended the annual Women, Peace and Security Open Debate at the UN Security Council in October and met prominent Afghan women to discuss how the UK can best support Afghan women and girls.


Written Question
Libya: Politics and Government
8 Dec 2021

Questioner: Marquess of Lothian (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of disagreements between Libya’s political factions over the legal framework adopted by the House of Representatives to allow for presidential and parliamentary elections to take place on 24 December, what assessment they have made of (1) the current political situation in Libya, and (2) the impact the recent resignation of the UN Special Envoy for Libya on international efforts to support the electoral process in that country.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Free, fair and inclusive Parliamentary and Presidential elections on 24 December 2021, including women and youth's full, equal and meaningful participation, is one of the top priorities for the UK in Libya. They are captured in UK-drafted UN Security Council Resolution 2570, and in the communiqués agreed by the Berlin II Conference on 24 June and Paris Conference on 12 November. The UK is committed to supporting the UN facilitated, Libyan-led and owned political process. The UK is working with international and Libyan partners - including UN Special Envoy Ján Kubiš, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, and the United Nations Secretary General - to pursue these priorities, restoring Libya's sovereignty and putting the country on a path to sustained peace, security and prosperity.


Written Question
Syria: Politics and Government
23 Nov 2021

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they recognise Bashar al-Assad as the head of the government of Syria.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The UK's position remains unchanged; the Assad regime has lost its legitimacy due to its atrocities against the Syrian people. Despite the military successes of the regime and its external supporters, we do not believe that Assad is capable of delivering a lasting peace in Syria. We firmly believe that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 offers a clear path out of the conflict which protects the rights of all Syrians, in which civil society, women and minorities must play a role. We remain committed to highlighting the appalling violations of international humanitarian law in Syria and to pursuing accountability for the most serious crimes.


Written Question
Crimes against Humanity
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Sarah Champion (LAB - Rotherham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which Minister has responsibility for her Department’s atrocity prevention work; how many officials in her Department are working on that work; and at what pay grades each of those officials is employed.

Answered by Amanda Milling

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has oversight of Government policy on atrocity prevention. He is the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's Minister with responsibility for human rights policy and matters relating to the United Nations, and the Prime Minister's Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

We are unable to provide a total number of staff working on atrocity prevention, though staff at all grades in the UK and our missions overseas working on human rights issues, conflict prevention and sanctions contribute to the Department's work on atrocity prevention. Staff are able to call on the thematic lead on atrocity prevention and the Office for Conflict, Stabilisation and Mediation and other thematic leads for advice. Thematic teams include: Women, Peace and Security, Girls' Education, Children & Armed Conflict, the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI), tackling Modern Slavery, promoting the Freedom of Religion or Belief, safeguarding the Freedom of the Media, and supporting the protection of Christians from persecution.


Written Question
Armed Conflict: Children
15 Nov 2021

Questioner: Sarah Champion (LAB - Rotherham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2021 to Question 24364 on Armed Conflict and Violence: Children, when the new conflict centre as announced in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy became operational; and what the (a) scale and (b) areas of work have been which that centre has undertaken since its establishment.

Answered by Vicky Ford

To deliver on the commitment in the Integrated Review to establish a conflict centre, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has created a new conflict directorate. The initial phase of forming this directorate was completed by April 2021, integrating the Stabilisation Unit with conflict teams and work that previously sat within the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The directorate leads on the UK's relationships with multilaterals in conflict prevention and peacebuilding; providing technical and financial support to strengthen the international system's response to conflict and promoting peace. It leads on gender and conflict policy, including: Women, Peace and Security and the cross Her Majesty's Government (HMG) National Action Plan (2018-2022) and Strategic Vision on Gender Equality; the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative; and Children in Armed Conflict. It also provides specialist conflict expertise and support to HMG's work in specific geographic contexts, drawing on best practice, evidence and analysis. This includes working to harness expertise from across HMG and beyond to increase our capability and effectiveness in key areas of conflict prevention, management, and resolution, such as supporting mediation and peace processes.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Females
4 Nov 2021

Questioner: Jim Shannon (DUP - Strangford)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help ensure that women in Afghanistan are able to participate in education with their rights and freedoms protected while studying at university.

Answered by James Cleverly

We are committed to prioritising women and girls in the Government's response to the situation in Afghanistan. We continue to press the Taliban to ensure the full and equal access to education for all. We will continue to work with the international community to use our influence to secure women's and girls' rights to access to education and jobs and to participate in public life. On 21 October, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, attended the annual Women, Peace and Security Open Debate at the UN Security Council and met prominent Afghan women to discuss how the UK can best support Afghan women and girls.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Females
3 Nov 2021

Questioner: George Howarth

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help women from religious minorities who are persecuted in Afghanistan by the Taliban and have their freedoms severely curtailed due to fear of kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriage.

Answered by James Cleverly

We are committed to prioritising women and girls in the Government's response to the situation in Afghanistan and remain concerned about their safety. We are consulting Afghan women's organisations to understand how best to support their needs, in safety and with dignity. On 21 October, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, attended the annual Women, Peace and Security Open Debate at the UN Security Council and met prominent Afghan women to discuss how the UK can best support women and girls.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Females
28 Oct 2021

Questioner: Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the safety of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Answered by James Cleverly

We are committed to prioritising women and girls in the UK's response to the situation in Afghanistan and remain concerned about their safety. We are consulting women's organisations to understand how best to support their needs, in safety and with dignity. On 21 October, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, UN and the Commonwealth, attended the annual Women, Peace and Security Open Debate at the UN Security Council and met prominent Afghan women to discuss how the UK can best support Afghan women and girls.


Written Question
Yemen: Malnutrition
26 Oct 2021

Questioner: Lyn Brown (LAB - West Ham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people at risk of starvation in Yemen.

Answered by James Cleverly

The latest projection that we have available on food insecurity in Yemen was published by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) on 3 December 2020. This estimated that nearly 50,000 Yemenis are currently living in famine-like conditions and at least 16.2 million people (54 per cent of Yemen's population) are at risk of starvation and death.

The UK has already disbursed 85 per cent of our £87 million commitment to Yemen this financial year which will feed around 240,000 of the most vulnerable Yemenis every month. We also provided one-off cash support to 1.5 million of Yemen's poorest households to help them buy food and basic supplies. Given the disproportionate impact on women and children, our funding to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has already supported over 2 million pregnant women and new mothers with nutrition counselling and education since 2018. We fully support the peace process led by the UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and urge the parties to engage constructively with this process and call on all states to release humanitarian funding commitments promptly. An inclusive political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
26 Oct 2021

Questioner: Baroness Lister of Burtersett (LAB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will start operating the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme; whether they will establish a working group for its implementation; and if so, whether it will include the civil society organisations funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to develop the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and other related programmes in Afghanistan.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is not yet open. Officials are working urgently to stand up the remaining elements of the scheme, amid the complex and changing picture.

The Government will continue to work closely with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, charities, local authorities and other partners and relevant organisations in the development and implementation of the ACRS.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Politics and Government
10 Sep 2021

Questioner: Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi (LAB - Slough)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to Answer of 17 May 2021 to Question 2404, whether the Government (a) remains committed to supporting Afghanistan on its path to a more peaceful and positive future, (b) maintains the position that only a negotiated and inclusive settlement will bring sustainable peace and (c) is continuing to make clear to all sides that any political settlement must protect the progress made in that country, including the protection of rights for women and minority groups.

Answered by Nigel Adams

We stand with the people of Afghanistan to support a more stable, peaceful future for the country. The UK will continue to exert all diplomatic and other efforts to achieve this. Our goal is to establish an inclusive political process in Afghanistan to create a country that works for all its people. The Prime Minister and G7 leaders are working to ensure that the international community is working together to ensure a stable future for Afghanistan. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights, humanitarian access, safe passage and preventing terrorism.
Written Question
Conflict Resolution: Females
2 Sep 2021

Questioner: Baroness Hodgson of Abinger (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officials are working on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in the Whitehall headquarters of the (1) Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and (2) Ministry of Defence.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

Officials in the FCDO and MOD, centrally and across the global network, work collectively to deliver strategic outcomes as part of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and wider work. Given the breadth of the WPS agenda and global focus, information on the number of officials working on this issue is not held centrally.


Written Question
Iraq and Syria: War Crimes
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of designating the destruction of cultural heritage as an early warning sign of atrocity crimes, in line with the requirements of the UN Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes; and what plans they have to support (1) the preservation of the cultural heritage, and (2) the protection of places of worship, of endangered (a) ethnic, and (b) religious, communities in (i) Iraq, and (ii) Syria.

Answered by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The UK remains active and committed in this field. The UK was a penholder on UN Security Council Resolution 2347, which treats protection of cultural heritage as an issue of key importance to international peace with implications for national security. In Iraq and Syria, UK support for cultural heritage protection has ranged from providing psycho-social support to Yazidi women trafficked by Daesh, to addressing illegal antiquities trafficking through the flagship Cultural Protection Fund. The UK government is considering further work in both Iraq and Syria through the next round of the Cultural Protection Fund.


Written Question
Conflict Resolution: Females
23 Jul 2021

Questioner: Marsha De Cordova (LAB - Battersea)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the new International Development Strategy will support implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

Answered by James Cleverly

The FCDO is committed to advancing the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda through the National Action Plan. We look forward to engaging with partners and stakeholders over the coming months to ensure that the WPS agenda is appropriately supported by the International Development Strategy.