Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

We pursue our national interests and project the UK as a force for good in the world. We promote the interests of British citizens, safeguard the UK’s security, defend our values, reduce poverty and tackle global challenges with our international partners.



Secretary of State

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Lord Purvis of Tweed (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Scottish National Party
Martin Docherty-Hughes (SNP - West Dunbartonshire)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs Team Member)
Allan Dorans (SNP - Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs Team Member)
Alyn Smith (SNP - Stirling)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Liberal Democrat
Layla Moran (LDEM - Oxford West and Abingdon)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

Plaid Cymru
Hywel Williams (PC - Arfon)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

Labour
Preet Kaur Gill (LAB - Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Lisa Nandy (LAB - Wigan)
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Lord Collins of Highbury (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development)

Scottish National Party
Hannah Bardell (SNP - Livingston)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs Team Member)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Wayne David (LAB - Caerphilly)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Stephen Doughty (LAB - Cardiff South and Penarth)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development)
Fabian Hamilton (LAB - Leeds North East)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Stephen Kinnock (LAB - Aberavon)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Yasmin Qureshi (LAB - Bolton South East)
Shadow Minister (International Development)
Catherine West (LAB - Hornsey and Wood Green)
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Ministers of State
Amanda Milling (CON - Cannock Chase)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Kemi Badenoch (CON - Saffron Walden)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (jointly with Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
James Cleverly (CON - Braintree)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (CON - Life peer)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (CON - Life peer)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Vicky Ford (CON - Chelmsford)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Elizabeth Truss (CON - South West Norfolk)
Foreign Secretary
Wendy Morton (CON - Aldridge-Brownhills)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Baroness Stedman-Scott (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Water and Sewerage Undertakers (Exit from Non-household Retail Market) (Consequential Provision) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 19th October 2021
14:00
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
Government policy on Afghanistan
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Legislation - Main Chamber
Social Security (Uprating of Benefits) Bill – committee stage
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 26th October 2021
14:00
Foreign Affairs Committee - Private Meeting - Select & Joint Committees
26 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.

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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 3rd November 2021
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Legislation - Main Chamber
Social Security (Uprating of Benefits) Bill – report stage
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Debates
Wednesday 13th October 2021
Select Committee Docs
Friday 15th October 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Wednesday 1st September 2021
Government policy on Afghanistan

International forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, 20 years after the US-led invasion. The Taliban quickly gained control of the …

Written Answers
Thursday 30th September 2021
Afghanistan: Ethnic Groups
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the searches conducted by the Taliban on 15 September …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 14th October 2021
Republic of Belarus (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021
These Regulations are made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (c. 13) to add new measures to the …
Bills
Wednesday 18th October 2017
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018
A bill to make provision enabling sanctions to be imposed where appropriate for the purposes of compliance with United Nations …
Dept. Publications
Sunday 17th October 2021
19:38

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Jul. 20
Oral Questions
Sep. 09
Urgent Questions
Sep. 23
Written Statements
May. 17
Adjournment Debate
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Bills currently before Parliament

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations are made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (c. 13) to add new measures to the sanctions regime in relation to Belarus. The Regulations amend the Belarus (EU Exit) (Sanctions) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/600) (“the 2019 Regulations”). The Regulations revoke and replace the Belarus (EU Exit) (Sanctions) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/922). These Regulations make substantially the same amendments made by S.I. 2021/922 except that they correct a small number of defects.
These Regulations are made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (c. 13) (“the Sanctions Act”).
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Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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Petition Debates Contributed
388,320
c. 2,384 added daily
388,476
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The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

146,346
Petition Closed
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closed 1 year, 1 month ago

The UK Government plans to introduce “Magnitsky law”, a law which targets people who commit gross human rights violations. Through this law or alternative means, this petition urges the UK Government to impose sanctions on China for their human rights violations on the Uyghur people.

131,059
c. 804 added daily
131,191
(Estimated)
13 Nov 2021
closes in 3 weeks, 4 days

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

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Departmental Select Committee

Foreign Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee
Tom Tugendhat Portrait
Tom Tugendhat (Conservative - Tonbridge and Malling)
Foreign Affairs Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Graham Stringer Portrait
Graham Stringer (Labour - Blackley and Broughton)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Royston Smith Portrait
Royston Smith (Conservative - Southampton, Itchen)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Henry Smith Portrait
Henry Smith (Conservative - Crawley)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Bob Seely Portrait
Bob Seely (Conservative - Isle of Wight)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Andrew Rosindell Portrait
Andrew Rosindell (Conservative - Romford)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Stewart Malcolm McDonald Portrait
Stewart Malcolm McDonald (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Alicia Kearns Portrait
Alicia Kearns (Conservative - Rutland and Melton)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Chris Bryant Portrait
Chris Bryant (Labour - Rhondda)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Claudia Webbe Portrait
Claudia Webbe (Independent - Leicester East)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Neil Coyle Portrait
Neil Coyle (Labour - Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
Foreign Affairs Committee Member since 11th May 2020
Foreign Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Foreign Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Government policy on Afghanistan
19 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
At 2.30pm: Oral evidence
General David Petraeus (ret.) - Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan (2010–11)
At 3.30pm: Oral evidence
Laurel Miller - Deputy/Acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2013-2017) at US State Department
Professor Michael Semple - Deputy to the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan (2004-08)
At 4.30pm: Oral evidence
Shaharzad Akbar - Chairperson at Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Shukria Barakzai - Former Afghan MP

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Foreign Affairs Committee - Private Meeting
26 Oct 2021, 2 p.m.
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50 most recent 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

16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the threat that the Taliban pose to religious minorities in Afghanistan, with specific reference to the Hazaras.

I underscored the UK’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people when I addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August. This commitment extends to all ethnic and religious groups, including individuals from the Hazara community. On 10 September, the UK, joined a multicountry statement with the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to reaffirm our concern for all religious minorities in Afghanistan, including from the Hazara community, and called for adherence to human rights obligations. The UK Government co-signed this statement alongside the US, Australia, Albania, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, and Slovenia.

I note a recent Amnesty report highlighted alleged human rights abuses directed against the Hazara in Ghazni province in July. We will continue to press the Taliban to uphold human rights, including those of minority and vulnerable groups such as the Hazaras, and to protect the gains made over the last twenty years. We have said we will judge them on actions, not words. To help us to do this more effectively, we have established an internal human rights tracking mechanism to track Taliban behaviour to inform our engagement. Additionally, we regularly engage with the UN, which has a mandate to monitor and report on human rights in Afghanistan, as well as human rights organisations who are playing an important role in highlighting abuses and violations on the ground.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the searches conducted by the Taliban on 15 September within predominantly Tajik and Hazard districts of Afghanistan on the safety of members of those communities.

I underscored the UK’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people when I addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August. This commitment extends to all ethnic and religious groups, including individuals from the Hazara community. On 10 September, the UK, joined a multicountry statement with the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance to reaffirm our concern for all religious minorities in Afghanistan, including from the Hazara community, and called for adherence to human rights obligations. The UK Government co-signed this statement alongside the US, Australia, Albania, Colombia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, and Slovenia.

I note a recent Amnesty report highlighted alleged human rights abuses directed against the Hazara in Ghazni province in July. We will continue to press the Taliban to uphold human rights, including those of minority and vulnerable groups such as the Hazaras, and to protect the gains made over the last twenty years. We have said we will judge them on actions, not words. To help us to do this more effectively, we have established an internal human rights tracking mechanism to track Taliban behaviour to inform our engagement. Additionally, we regularly engage with the UN, which has a mandate to monitor and report on human rights in Afghanistan, as well as human rights organisations who are playing an important role in highlighting abuses and violations on the ground.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to engage with small development charities in the UK as part of (1) developing the Comprehensive Spending Review, and (2) revising their development strategy.

The International Development Strategy will outline the UK government's strategic priorities and approach to development. As part of a wider engagement process, my ministerial colleagues have held meetings with several stakeholders, including civil society organisations and small development charities; and we have recently closed a public Call for Evidence, which invited views from all interested parties, including small development charities. The FCDO does not routinely run external engagement exercises when developing the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) political, and (2) security, situation in Somalia; and what discussions they have had with international partners in order to prevent political instability in that country.

On 18 September, the Minister for Africa published a national statement setting out the UK's deep concern for the escalation of the current political crisis, which risks the safety and future of the Somali people. We are working closely with international partners, including in Mogadishu, to discourage Somalia's leaders from unilateral actions that could deepen tensions or increase the risk of violence and instead to encourage meaningful mediation. As penholder on Somalia at the UN Security Council, the UK tabled a discussion on the ongoing situation on 17 September, following which the UN Security Council issued a joint press statement.

The UK is also concerned by the impact of this crisis on the broader political and security situation. It is vital that all stakeholders maintain peace to avoid any risks to Somalia's stability and security. We have underlined the need to restore focus on the priority of conducting peaceful elections, as agreed on 27 May, without further delay to prevent further insecurity and avoid exacerbating the grave humanitarian challenges the country is facing. Likewise, it is important that Somalia's security forces remain focused on countering the common threat from Al Shabaab, who stand to gain from this ongoing political crisis, and progress discussions on a successor mission to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to support the transition to Somali-led security, in accordance with the Somalia Transition Plan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Human Rights Watch that there have been “arbitrary and politically motivated acts of repression” in Tunisia since that country’s parliament was suspended; and what discussions they have had with the government of that country about these issues.

We are aware of this report and we continue to closely monitor the situation in Tunisia. We recognise the legitimate demands of the Tunisian people for a better standard of living and honest, effective governance. We believe that the solution to Tunisia's challenges can only be achieved through the principles of democracy, transparency, respect for human rights, and free speech. Minister Cleverly spoke to Tunisian Foreign Minister Jerandi on 11 August. G7 Ambassadors in Tunis, led by the UK, issued a joint statement on 6 September setting out our joint position, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g7-ambassadors-in-tunisia-issue-joint-statement-6-september-2021

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of Iran has (1) destroyed evidence of human rights violations, including mass graves of political prisoners from 1988, and (2) intimidated survivors and families of victims of human rights violations.

The UK has designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country, and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record. This includes using all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session. We also urge Iran to allow the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran access to the country, so that he can conduct research and investigations into human rights concerns reported there, including the events of 1988, and the reports of intimidation and destroyed evidence.

We have always been clear that Iran must uphold its international legal obligations, including conducting thorough and independent investigations into suspected human rights violations, both past and present. We call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course, which includes committing to improving human rights in Iran.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their priorities for global action at the UN General Assembly high-level session taking place on 21 September.

Her Majesty's Government's priorities for the UN General Assembly High Level Week from 20 to 27 September were to secure further climate commitments ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November, to work with our partners to respond to the Afghanistan crisis, to strengthen and establish new international partnerships particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, and to improve global access to vaccines

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of violent abuse of political opponents and activists in Evin prison in Iran.

The FCDO is shocked and appalled at the conditions that appeared in the leaked footage of Evin prison. We have repeatedly urged Iran to allow health professionals in, to assess the situation of British nationals there. We regularly raise human rights with the Iranians at all levels and take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record. At the Human Rights Council session in March 2021, we strongly supported the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran and made clear to Iran that their repeated violations of human rights are unacceptable. On 8 July 2021, the UK published its Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report, which included our bleak assessment of Iran's human rights record and our efforts to push for improvements. We will look to use all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session as well, and call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course by committing to improving human rights and to release British nationals arbitrarily detained there.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what criteria they used for including countries in their report Human Rights and Democracy: 2020 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, published on 8 July, (2) how Cameroon was assessed against those criteria, and (3) what plans they have to change those criteria for next year’s report.

The 2020 FCDO Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report (AHRR) features 31 Human Rights Priority Countries (HRPCs). The HRPC list was reviewed and updated in early 2021 ahead of the report's publication in July, with assessment based on the human rights situation in country, the trajectory of change, and the UK's ability to make a difference. African countries including Cameroon were considered using this criteria. We expect the majority of HRPCs to remain in place for the duration of this Parliament pending exceptional developments, as this provides a reasonable base-line against which to assess our impact. While the HRPCs help us to prioritise our work, our interests and work are global, as reflected in the many other country references in the thematic sections of the AHRR.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will publish a response to Early Day Motion 457 on Arrests and detentions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

We are aware of the detention and conviction of a number of journalists and activists in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) and we are following the situation closely.

I have raised my concerns over restrictions on media freedom in the KRI with the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani. Our Ambassador in Baghdad and our Consul General in Erbil discuss these issues with their interlocutors in the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Foreign Secretary discussed the stability of Iraq and the KRI with the KRI's President Nechirvan Barzani during his visit to London over 15-17 September.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the consequences of the reduction of the French military actions in Mali for (1) the UK, (2) the UK’s joint military operation with France, and (3) the UK's contribution to the United Nation’s action in the Sahel.

The UK is in contact with our French partners on their planned changes to operations in the Sahel. We have had assurances that France will retain the critical support functions such as force protection, medical and logistical support, which allow the UK to effectively contribute to operations in the Sahel.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to locate missing Yazidi women and children following the genocide of Yazidis by ISIL in 2014.

We continue to press the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Governments for more progress on security and services in the liberated areas of Iraq and to solve disputed internal boundaries. The passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law in March 2021 is a welcome first step toward justice and reparations for survivors of Daesh atrocities. This law also includes provisions to search for missing survivors. The UK is supporting the implementation of the law, including through support to the Directorate for Survivors Care. We are also funding psycho-social care for female minority survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Iraq.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to work with (1) the #BringBackThe Yazidis initiative, and (2) international partners, to ensure that missing Yazidi people are located and rescued.

We continue to press the Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Governments for more progress on security and services in the liberated areas of Iraq and to solve disputed internal boundaries. The passage of the Yazidi Survivors Law in March 2021 is a welcome first step toward justice and reparations for survivors of Daesh atrocities. This law also includes provisions to search for missing survivors. The UK is supporting the implementation of the law, including through support to the Directorate for Survivors Care. We are also funding psycho-social care for female minority survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in Iraq.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of recent events in Kaduna State, Nigeria, including (1) the reported killing of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali and at least 11 others, (2) the reported kidnap of Reverend Benson Yakusak, and (3) the role of Jihadist ideology in violence in the area.

We condemn all violence across Nigeria, the devastating effects of which are felt by communities of different faiths. We condemn the killing of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali in Southern Kaduna, an area that has a long history of intercommunal violence. We welcome reports that Reverend Benson Yakusak was released. Jihadist ideology is a driver of the conflict involving terrorist groups in the North East. The drivers of intercommunal violence elsewhere in Nigeria are complex and frequently relate to competition over resources and criminality.

The former Minister for Africa 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. We regularly visit states affected by intercommunal violence to engage with state governments, civil society, faith and community leaders and affected communities. We continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to protect all those at risk of violence, to bring perpetrators to justice and to implement long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their framework for the analysis of the early warning signs of genocide, what assessment they have made of (1) the early warning signs of atrocity crimes in Afghanistan, and (2) the risk of genocide against the Hazaras.

It is the long-standing policy of the British Government that any judgment as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for a competent national or international court, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. As Minister for Human Rights, I made clear in my address to the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August, the UK is committed to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. This commitment extends to all ethnic and religious groups, including the Hazara community. The UK also led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution 2593, which made clear the Security Council's intent to Taliban actions, including their resppect for human rights

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what is their latest assessment of human rights in Cameroon, and (2) what steps they are taking to improve human rights in Cameroon through the bilateral trade agreement with that country.

Reports of further human rights violations are disturbing. At the UN Security Council in June, the UK's Permanent Representative reiterated the UN Secretary General's call for the violence to end and for all actors to stop attacks against civilians. At the UN Human Rights Council this month, the UK called for an end to violence and impartial investigations to hold the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses to account. The former Minister for Africa iterated these calls during his visit to Cameroon in March. HMG also urges the Government of Cameroon to engage fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Government's approach is clear that using trade to support development and prosperity is not mutually exclusive to the rule of law, protecting human rights, and democratic principles. We continue to press the Cameroonian Government to uphold these principles, which underpin the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the peace process in Yemen; and when they last discussed the situation in that country with the government of Oman.

We support fully the UN-led peace process in Yemen and urge the parties to engage constructively with the new UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg. UK Ministers engage with their regional counterparts on Yemen regularly to encourage efforts towards a political solution and end the humanitarian suffering. We welcome the recent diplomatic activity by Oman. On 14 September, the UK Ambassador to Yemen met Omani Foreign Minister Sayd Badr to discuss how best to coordinate our efforts.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken (1) to support the new government of Lebanon, and (2) to urge immediate reforms to address the crises in that country.

The UK is a long-standing friend of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. On 10 September, the former Foreign Secretary said: "The formation of a new Lebanese government must be followed by implementation of urgent reforms, a transparent conclusion of the investigation into the tragic Beirut explosion and timely elections next year. The UK supports Lebanon, but we must see concerted action". We continue to press the new government to implement the reforms needed set the country on a more sustainable footing.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in Cameroon.

The UK Government remains concerned about the humanitarian situation throughout Cameroon. In the Far North region, where there are 322,000 internally displaced people, 115,000 Nigerian refugees, and 380,000 people are food insecure, the UK is providing almost £3 million of humanitarian funding through our partners. In the North-West and South-West regions, where 1.15 million people suffer from food insecurity, the UK is providing around £2 million of humanitarian funding.

We regularly discuss the crisis with the Government of Cameroon. During the previous Minister for Africa's visit to the country in March, he met project partners to witness the impact of UK aid and called for unimpeded humanitarian access to those in need. The UK's representative reiterated these calls at the UN Security Council briefing on the UN Regional Office for Central Africa in June. The British High Commission in Yaoundé, alongside the diplomatic community and the UN, continues to advocate for humanitarian access.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the government of Cameroon's non-governmental organisation registration directive on the ability of international and local humanitarian and civil society groups to operate in that country.

The UK Government continues to support the work of international and local humanitarian and civil society groups in Cameroon, where the UK has called for unimpeded humanitarian access and open civil society engagement. The UK's representative reiterated these calls at the UN Security Council briefing on the UN Regional Office for Central Africa in June. Alongside others in the diplomatic community and the UN, the British High Commission in Yaoundé continues to advocate for access.

According to the recent registration directive in Cameroon, only international NGOs have been required to submit a set of documents including their acts of authorisation for review by the authorities. Following a coordinated request from international actors, the Ministry has since agreed to extend the deadline by a further two months. The British High Commission will continue to monitor this development, and to take appropriate actions if necessary.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Cameroon about ensuring the legal protection of (1) human rights defenders, and (2) civil society activists, in that country.

The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the crisis in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon, including the disturbing reports of human rights abuses and violations by both armed separatists and the security forces. In a visit to Cameroon in March, the previous Minister for Africa met President Biya, Prime Minister Ngute and Foreign Minister Mbella Mbella, where he set out the UK's commitment to supporting a peaceful resolution.

We work in conjunction with international partners, such as France and the United States, to raise the crisis in multilateral fora. The UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights set out at the UN Human Rights Council on 26 February that the violence must end and urgent, impartial investigations must hold the perpetrators to account. At the UN Security Council briefing on UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) on 7 June, the UK reiterated the UN Secretary General's call for an end to violence and for all actors to refrain from attacks against civilians, including human rights defenders and civil society activists.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of proposals of the new government to Israel for the reconstruction of Gaza while isolating Hamas.

We welcome Foreign Minister Lapid's speech on 12 September, proposing positive policy suggestions to support economic development in Gaza and greater security for Israel. A long-term solution for Gaza is needed to prevent further conflict and make progress towards a two-state solution. The UK will continue to urge the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary practical steps to ensure Gaza's reconstruction and economic recovery.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to revive peace agreements in South Sudan following President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s withdrawal from talks in Rome.

The UK has consistently urged all armed groups in South Sudan to bring an end to conflict and to abide by their commitments to the 2017 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. This includes via longstanding support to, and engagement at, peace talks convened by the Community of Sant'Egidio in Rome. We are however deeply concerned by continued incidents of violence, including an attack in August on the Juba-Nimule highway, which triggered President Kiir's decision to withdraw from talks.

Our Ambassador in Juba publicly condemned this incident and we continue to engage with all sides to press them to meet their commitments and end such violence. We remain in contact with Sant'Egidio to support their efforts to revive talks as part of our wider efforts to drive progress on the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of (1) the rate, and (2) the character, of migration north from Sudan, Mali, Niger, Libya and the Mediterranean; and if so, what are the implications for the UK’s foreign and development policy of this assessment.

In the year up to June 2021, overall detections of irregular border crossings at the external land and sea borders of Europe were fairly stable compared with the previous year, up 11% to 151,150.

The UK has been a major contributor in the humanitarian response to the Mediterranean migration crisis, having allocated over £175 million since October 2015. We remain committed to engaging with European and other partners on a 'whole of route' approach to tackling the challenges and risks posed by irregular migration.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of (1) Tajikistan, (2) Uzbekistan, and (3) Turkmenistan, about the situation in Afghanistan following the takeover by the Taliban.

I most recently visited Uzbekistan on 14 September, after also visiting Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the week of 30 August for discussions on Afghanistan. The former Foreign Secretary also had telephone conversations with the Uzbek Foreign Minister on 6 September and the Tajik Foreign Minister on 2 September. I called the Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, on 3 September, the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan on 25 August and Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan on the same day. We held discussions with counterparts on securing safe passage for those fleeing Afghanistan and advancing the government's international priorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment have they made of whether extremist Islamist ideology is a driver of intercommunal attacks in Nigeria; and what assessment they have made of the findings of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent review of persecution of Christians and freedom of religion or belief.

The Government condemns all incidents of intercommunal violence in Nigeria, the devastating effects of which are felt by communities of different faiths. The underlying drivers of intercommunal violence are complex and frequently relate to competition over resources and increasing criminality. Islamic extremism is a driver of conflict in the North east and not a driver of intercommunal violence.

We have accepted the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro's report. On Nigeria, the report considered intercommunal violence in the Middle Belt and terrorism in the North East. In response to the issues raised in the report on intercommunal violence, the Government co-hosted a Wilton Park conference on 'Fostering Social Cohesion in Nigeria' in February 2020, exploring the complex causes of conflict and solutions to help ease tensions and reduce violence. Since then, we have increased our visits to areas affected by violence to engage with state governments, civil society, faith and community leaders and affected communities. The Minister for Africa visited Nigeria in April, where he discussed insecurity across the country with the President's Chief of Staff, the Foreign Minister and community leaders.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 2020 calling on the government of Iran to investigate past and current human rights violations in the country.

The UK has designated Iran as a Human Rights Priority Country, and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor human rights record. This includes using all opportunities during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly session. We urge Iran to allow the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran access to the country, to conduct research and investigations into reported human rights concerns.

We have always been clear that Iran must uphold its international legal obligations, including conducting thorough and independent investigations into suspected human rights violations, both past and present. We call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course, which includes committing to improving human rights in Iran.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to revise the DFID Disability Inclusion Strategy for her Department; and what changes she plans to make.

The FCDO will publish an enhanced Disability Inclusion Strategy by end 2021 which will reaffirm the UK's commitment to disability inclusion internationally.

The Strategy will be adapted to reflect the FCDO's combined diplomatic and development resources and wider geographical reach. It will incorporate a longer term vision to 2030. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and global climate crisis, it will include new and emergent thematic and cross-cutting issues alongside the existing themes. In line with our partnership approach and 'nothing about us without us' the Strategy is being developed in consultation with people with disabilities and their representative organisations across our geographic remit.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total Official Development Assistance for education budget is for financial year 2021-22; and what percentage change does that represent compared with the previous year.

The FCDO will spend £400 million of bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) on girls' education for 2021-22. ODA is reported on a calendar year basis, and includes sectoral breakdowns such as education. The FCDO National Statistics publication, 'Statistics on International Development' includes this information. Provisional ODA spend for 2020 is available, with sectoral breakdowns due to be published in the autumn. The UK's ODA spend for 2021, including an activity level dataset, will be published next year.

FCDO publishes regular open data through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This operational data covers current live programmes, and will include 2021 spend once business planning is concluded. The raw data can be accessed at the IATI Registry, and is shown on the Development Tracker website at https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact of reductions to Official Development Assistance for education on the education of children with disabilities.

The FCDO is committed to ensuring that children with disabilities are able to access a quality education as set out in our 2018 Education Policy and the Disability Inclusion Strategy. The then Foreign Secretary and Ministers considered equalities impacts as they made decisions on 2021/22 Official Development Assistance spend.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on Mauritius' claims to sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The Foreign Secretary speaks to French counterparts on a large range of issues. This issue has not, however, been recently raised.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the French Government's support for Mauritius' claim to sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory on UK national security.

France continues to be a valued and longstanding ally and security partner for the UK. The French Government has a longstanding approach to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) which has not changed since our last assessment.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many doses of all makes of COVID-19 vaccines they have donated to countries in Africa; and how many doses each country has received.

The UK is one of the largest donors to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), that has delivered more than 57 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to 42 African AMC countries to date. In addition to the £548m donation to COVAX, the UK has donated 5,624,440 doses to countries in Africa. Of this, 5,214,400 doses were donated through COVAX and 410,040 doses through bilateral donations. All the UK donated vaccines were produced by AstraZeneca.

African countries have received 5,138,680 doses (91%) of UK donated COVID-19 vaccines while 485,760 (9%) doses are yet to be delivered. Recipient countries are: Angola (128,640), Democratic Republic of Congo (51,840), Egypt (299,680), Ethiopia (1,520,640), Ghana (249,600), Kenya (817,080), Malawi (119,040), Niger (105,600), Nigeria (1,287,680), Senegal (140,160), Uganda (299,520) and Zambia (119,200).

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of pro-democracy movements in Cuba.

We are clear that all Cubans should have the right to protest peacefully and that detention must not be used as a tool to restrict freedom of expression, assembly or religion. The UK was one of the first countries on 12 July to call for the Cuban people to be allowed to express their views freely and peacefully. We have raised our concerns directly with the Cuban Government, both in London and Havana, and called for the authorities to release information on detained citizens, including their whereabouts.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the political situation in Myanmar.

The UK Government condemns the military coup in Myanmar, the violence against the people of Myanmar and the detention of members of the civilian government and civil society, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. The state of emergency, and all restrictions on rights and freedoms, should be lifted immediately and power should be returned to a democratically elected government. I [Minister Milling] am particularly concerned at recent reports of significant, indiscriminate violence by the military in Chin State, and elsewhere in the country. The UK is committed to supporting a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of relations between the UK and the Holy See.

The UK's relationship with the Holy See remains strong. The UK continues to work with the Holy See on a range of shared challenges, and we are proud of the global nature of our partnership. These priorities include addressing the scourge of modern slavery, seeking peaceful solutions to long running conflicts, and, particularly in view of the upcoming COP26 Conference in Glasgow, driving international collaboration to tackle the growing threat of climate change. On this issue, the UK is proud to be co-hosting the "Faith and Science: Toward COP26" event, alongside the Holy See and Italy, on 4 October - bringing together key religious figures from across the globe to build momentum towards November's summit. Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Holy See discussed how the UK and the Holy See can further deepen our collaboration on these issues with His Holiness the Pope when he presented his credentials on 4 September and Minister Morton met key Holy See Ministers during her visit on 16 September.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for its policies of the conviction of Paul Rusesabagina in Rwanda on 20 September 2021.

Rwanda has made significant progress on social and economic rights in recent years, and we work in partnership on a range of priorities including girls' education, building back from COVID-19, climate and the Commonwealth. But the UK Government remains concerned about restrictions on civil and political rights. On 21 September I publicly stated that the UK shares the concerns of our international partners about due process in the case of Paul Rusesabagina and his co-accused, and that whilst there must be accountability for violence against civilians, we will always defend the right to a fair trial. We regularly raise specific cases of concern with the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, and call for due process for all those in detention.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UK, US and Australia security partnership announced on 15 September 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the potential future strategic importance of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The joint United Kingdom - United States defence facility on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) helps to keep people in Britain and around the world safe. For over 40 years the facility has helped the United Kingdom, United States, other allies and our regional partners, including Mauritius, combat some of the most challenging threats to international peace and security, including those from terrorism and piracy. The facility also remains ready for a rapid and impactful response in times of humanitarian crisis in the region and plays  an important role in maintaining the Global Positioning System, space debris avoidance for the International Space Station, and prevention of satellite collisions. These functions are only possible under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The joint facility is the result of a uniquely close and active defence and security partnership between two long-standing allies. We have a long-standing commitment, first made in 1965, to cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes. We stand by that commitment.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to impose sanctions against Mauritius in relation to its attempts to overturn the 1968 Treaty granting sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territory to the UK; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the actions of the Government of Mauritius on UK national security.

The UK and Mauritius remain close friends and Commonwealth partners. We remain open to dialogue on all shared issues of mutual interest, including the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) and its Marine Protected Area (MPA). The joint United Kingdom - United States defence facility on BIOT helps to keep people in Britain and around the world safe. For over 40 years the facility has helped the United Kingdom, United States, other allies and our regional partners, including Mauritius, combat some of the most challenging threats to international peace and security, including those from terrorism and piracy. This is only possible under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The joint facility is the result of a uniquely close and active defence and security partnership between two long-standing allies.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to repatriate British citizens from Afghanistan.

Under Operation PITTING, our armed forces and Civil Service staff worked around the clock to evacuate around 15,000 people - including around 8,000 British Nationals. We evacuated more British nationals and their families than we previously thought were in Afghanistan. Working closely with the Government of Qatar we have supported a further 60+ British nationals and their dependents leave Kabul. Our immediate focus is on ensuring safe passage for anyone remaining in Afghanistan who is eligible to come to the UK and wishes to leave. We continue to work closely with the Qatari authorities to facilitate the evacuation of British nationals from Kabul. Rapid Deployment Teams have been sent to Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to reinforce our Embassy staff to process arrivals from Afghanistan. Teams have also deployed to Qatar and UAE to assist our operations there and we are providing consular support to British nationals who were evacuated by other allies, including via US airbases in Europe.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent estimate her Department has made of the number of British citizens currently in Afghanistan.

Between 15-28 August over 8,000 British nationals and dependents were evacuated from Afghanistan. Additionally the FCDO has supported over 60 British nationals and their eligible dependants to leave Afghanistan on Qatari Government charter flights. We continue to work to support British nationals and their dependants to leave Afghanistan if that is their wish. We expect British people to take responsibility for themselves and their safety while overseas. The FCDO does not routinely ask British nationals to register with a British Embassy or High Commission overseas. Recognising the circumstances in Afghanistan, British nationals still in Afghanistan were asked to register their continued presence to allow the FCDO to maintain contact after the evacuation phase ended. We use this information to communicate with British nationals and assess the data provided by those who have registered.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the level of demand for food assistance in Myanmar (a) for internally displaced people, (b) in Kachin, and (c) in Northern Shan.

The UK remains one of the leading donors supporting the humanitarian response in Myanmar. Since the coup, we have provided £15.3 million in humanitarian funding for the Red Cross, UN, and local and International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Where necessary, we have also reprioritised humanitarian funding towards urgent needs, including food and Covid assistance, in Kachin, Shan, Chin and the Southeast. Over the last year the UK has been building up the humanitarian response capacity of communities themselves through partners. This has enabled the UK to get support to very hard to reach communities. Through a network of local responders and communities, 25,000 newly displaced people have been reached with cash and emergency food support in Northern Shan. In Kachin, our partners have reached over 7,500 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) with food and cash assistance. UK support has been critical in covering major food gaps in several IDP camps between March and August 2021, when other partners could not reach or support these people. The UK remains strongly committed to helping those most in need in Myanmar.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether she plans to respond individually to asylum cases from Afghanistan raised by hon. Members with her predecessor.

Responding to MPs' cases and correspondence remains a top priority for the Government and the FCDO has been working tirelessly to undertake the task. Staff from across the global FCDO network have been pulled into the crisis surge team along with colleagues from MOD and HMRC. As Minister Cleverly said in the House on 9 September, we are determined to work with the Home Office and the MOD to assess all cases which have come through to us as quickly as possible. Cases which are to be dealt with by the MoD under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or the Home Office under the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme will be passed on to the relevant Department. The team at the FCDO is thoroughly analysing to ensure they go to the right Department. Asylum applications will be handled by the Home Office and would not be for the FCDO to answer in detail.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to help improve relations between Israel and Jordan.

Both Jordan and Israel are close friends and partners of the UK. We welcome recent engagement between the two, including the meeting between PM Bennett and HM King Abdullah II on 29 June, and new bilateral agreements on water and trade. During her meeting with Jordanian Foreign Minister Safadi on Monday 20 September, the Foreign Secretary discussed how the UK, Jordan and Israel could work together to advance regional security and prosperity.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy scheme helps those funded by the UK Government to work with UK universities on Overseas Development Assistance programmes focused on gender and women's rights.

The Afghan relocations and assistance policy was set up to facilitate the resettlement of Afghan nationals who worked with the UK Government in Afghanistan. A number of gender and women's rights activists were evacuated as special cases under Operation Pitting, and those still in Afghanistan may be eligible for resettlement under the Afghan citizens' resettlement scheme.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of UK-affiliated academics and researchers in Afghanistan who (1) are in hiding, or (2) have applications to leave; and what steps they are taking to expedite and assist with their departure.

I addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 24 August to underscore the UK's commitment to protecting the human rights of all Afghan people. The UK led work on the recent UN Security Council resolution, demonstrating our commitment to holding the Taliban to account on human rights. The UK is urgently developing a new settlement scheme for 20,000 Afghans most at risk who will be eligible to apply. We are prioritising vulnerable groups in the UK's response.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The UK is one of the leading donors in supporting Lebanon to host both Syrian and Palestinian refugees. Since 2011, the UK has allocated over £780 million in humanitarian and development funding to Lebanon. Our humanitarian assistance will continue to promote access to education and provide those most in need with timely, flexible assistance and protection services to cover their basic survival needs and reduce gender-based violence, saving lives and reducing suffering. The UK is also a key supporter to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides vital services to Palestinian refugees across their five fields of operation including in Lebanon. Our annual contribution to UNRWA's programme budget helps UNRWA to provide basic education to more than 533,000 children a year (half of whom are girls), access to health services for 3.5 million Palestinian refugees and social safety net assistance for around 255,000 of the most vulnerable across the region.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the number of Palestinians killed or injured by live fire from Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank so far this year.

We regularly raise the issue of the high numbers of Palestinians killed and injured by Israel Defence Forces in the West Bank and Gaza with the Israeli authorities, encouraging them to carry out transparent investigations into whether the use of live fire had been appropriate. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population and urge restraint in the use of live fire.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make representations to her Lithuanian counterpart on the proposed construction of the Vilnius National Convention and Conference Centre on Shnipishok cemetery land.

The UK Government understands that the Lithuanian government has indefinitely postponed the renovation of the Soviet-era Vilnius Palace of Concerts and Sports, located in the Šnipiškės Jewish cemetery. We are pleased to note the current and previous Lithuanian governments' efforts to work alongside the Jewish Community of Lithuania and the international Jewish community on the issue of this renovation.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)