Foreign and Commonwealth Office

All 10 Written Questions max 10 shown

Date Title Questioner
23 Jan 2020, 5:38 p.m. Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Climate Change Darren Jones

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of climate change on the work of his Department; and what steps he is taking in response to that effect.

Answer (Mrs Heather Wheeler)

Climate change is one of the most urgent and pressing challenges facing the world today. However, no country alone can solve this problem. That is why climate change is a top priority for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and why the British government bid and secured responsibility to host COP26 in Glasgow this year, in partnership with Italy. COP26 will be a major international moment in 2020, and the FCO network will have a key diplomatic role to play, along with other government departments, in efforts to raise global ambition in all countries to tackle climate change.

7 Jan 2020, 4:10 p.m. China: Uighurs The Lord Bishop of St Albans

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement delivered by the UK Permanent Representative to the UN at the Third Committee session on the Committee for the elimination of racial discrimination and the conclusions of the United Nations on the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjang.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

On 29 October at the UN Third Committee, the UK read out a joint statement signed by 22 others drawing attention to the human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and called on China to uphold its obligations to respect human rights. We assess that it is important to regularly raise the human rights situation in Xinjiang at multilateral fora and privately with China, and have made clear to China that we will continue to do so until our concerns have been addressed.

7 Jan 2020, 4:10 p.m. Persecution of Christians across the Globe Independent Review Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government how, and when, they intend to fully implement all of the recommendations in the Bishop of Truro's Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians, published in July.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

The British Government is committed to implementing the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro’s Review in a way that will bring real improvements to the lives of those persecuted because of their faith or belief. The recommendations have been divided into short, medium and longer term priorities and we have already implemented a good number of them. This includes recently appointing a Director General level champion for Freedom of Religion or Belief and marking Red Wednesday in support of persecuted Christians and members of other minority groups. Some of the recommendations will take longer to implement and many will require an ongoing effort to embed into the working practices of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other departments.

7 Jan 2020, 4:08 p.m. Iraq: Islamic State Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to statements by victims of ISIS genocide in Mosul and Sinjar provided by Lord Alton of Liverpool; whether any victims of such crimes have been approached for witness statements; and what progress is being made in collecting evidence and bringing those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity to justice.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

The Government has not, to date, received the statements in question.

The British Government has not directly approached survivors of Daesh crimes for statements. However, we continue to support the UN Investigative Team for the Accountability of Daesh (UNITAD) and announced an additional £1 million in funding in July to exhume mass graves across Northern Iraq and to collect witness testimony. UNITAD have facilitated the provision of witness testimony directly into domestic court proceedings in Finland via video-link. UNITAD continues to support cases in other countries too.

7 Jan 2020, 3:56 p.m. Russia: Ukraine Lord Hylton

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Paris negotiations between Russia and Ukraine; how they reached any such assessment; and what consideration they have given to modifying the Minsk guidelines to support such negotiations.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

​The United Kingdom welcomes the commitments made at the Normandy Summit on 9 December. These commitments, which include comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire and prisoner exchange, are key to securing a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We fully support France and Germany in their efforts towards securing the implementation by all parties of the Minsk Agreements. In this regard, we applaud President Zelenskyy’s clear commitment and determined actions to end the conflict and repeat our call on Russia to fulfil its obligations.

7 Jan 2020, 3:56 p.m. Mediterranean Sea: Offshore Drilling Lord Hylton

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reported agreement between Turkey and Libya concerning undersea resources in the Mediterranean; and what plans they have to propose that any such agreement is submitted for international arbitration.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

​We are aware that Turkey and Libya signed a Memorandum of Understanding in late November on the "delimitation of maritime jurisdictional areas in the Mediterranean". It has been our consistent position that maritime boundary disputes should be resolved in accordance with international law as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

7 Jan 2020, 3:55 p.m. Hong Kong: Health Professions Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the treatment of medical professionals in Hong Kong; and what representations they intend to make to the government of China about such treatment.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

We take allegations of the mistreatment of medical personnel in Hong Kong extremely seriously. We expect the Hong Kong authorities to abide by international humanitarian laws and practices. It is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment.

The Foreign Secretary summoned the Chinese Ambassador on 19 November and set out his concerns about the situation in Hong Kong. The leadership in China and Hong Kong is in no doubt about the strength of UK concern over the current situation, and our commitment to seeing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration upheld. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Hong Kong SAR Government and the authorities in Beijing.

7 Jan 2020, 3:45 p.m. Syria: Chemical Weapons Baroness Cox

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that chlorine levels found in Douma, Syria, were equivalent to those found in common household cleaning products.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

​The UK assesses that the Syrian regime was responsible for a chlorine attack in Douma in April 2018. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) produced a thorough and clearly evidenced report, which concluded that an attack using chlorine took place. The use of chlorine as a chemical weapon is a breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We have confidence in the conclusion and the OPCW's methodology. The OPCW Director-General confirmed that that the OPCW Technical Secretariat took all views and evidence into account in reaching its conclusions on this incident.

7 Jan 2020, 3:38 p.m. Syria: Chemical Weapons Baroness Cox

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that evidence gathered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Fact Finding Mission was suppressed or distorted.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

​The UK has full confidence in the expertise of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon's (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) and its work investigating allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria. The Director-General confirmed that that the OPCW Technical Secretariat took all views and evidence into account in reaching its conclusions in the FFM's most recent report on the incident in Douma, 7 April 2018. The UK stands by its own assessment that the Syrian regime was responsible for a chlorine attack in Douma on that date.

7 Jan 2020, 3:34 p.m. Nigeria: Violence Baroness Cox

Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about reports of multiple attacks, by Fulani militia in Northern and Central Belt states, of torture, murder and the destruction of homes, churches and villages.

Answer (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon)

We remain concerned by intercommunal violence in Nigeria and the devastating impact it has had on affected communities including heavy loss of life. We continue to push for a solution that meets the needs of all communities affected. We regularly raise our concerns with the Government of Nigeria at the highest levels. The Secretary of State for International Development raised the issue with the Nigerian Vice President and the Governor of Kaduna during his visit in July. He highlighted how factors including ethnicity, religion and climate change are driving intercommunal violence across Nigeria. The UK, including the British High Commission in Abuja, will continue to engage closely with the federal government, state government, international partners and the National Economic Council to help address the underlying issues that cause conflict.