Debates between Baroness D'Souza and Baroness Sugg during the 2019 Parliament

Covid-19: Foreign Aid

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Baroness Sugg
Wednesday 11th November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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I am grateful to my noble friend for highlighting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 that we are seeing on women and girls. Advancing gender equality and women’s rights will remain a core part of our mission across government and within the new department. Since 2015 we have supported more than 8 million girls to get an education. Last year alone we provided 25 million women with life-saving contraception, and we will continue this work within the new department.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the Government have many times reiterated their support for deploying development assistance to further education, especially of girls. This is to be applauded, because we all know that educating girls is a powerful development tool. However, with the limits on school attendance for reasons of poverty, violence or indeed the spread of Covid-19, and with a reduced budget, will the Government now give priority to investing significantly in online programmes and distance learning in the most severely educationally deprived countries, such as Afghanistan?

Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we are continuing to prioritise girls’ education, particularly during this pandemic; as the noble Baroness says, many children are out of school at the moment. We are investing in remote learning but we need to make sure that we do so appropriately, given the difference in digital access around the world. We have adapted our programmes within Afghanistan through our Girls’ Education Challenge to make sure that we are reaching girls who are out of school, so that they can continue to learn and return to school when schools reopen.

Nagorno-Karabakh: Genocide Emergency Alert

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Baroness Sugg
Monday 2nd November 2020

(3 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we will continue to do our utmost to end violations of international human rights law and, where appropriate, international humanitarian law. We are working to prevent the escalation of conflict and to help alleviate the suffering of those who are affected. I mentioned the new aid package to which the UK has contributed. We do not believe that there is a military solution. We think the best thing for the people of the region is for both parties to put aside any preconceived judgments and come to the negotiating table to bring about a peaceful settlement.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the UK’s obligations are clear and binding—to prevent and suppress actions of genocide. Will Her Majesty’s Government refer the matter to the appropriate judicial authority in the UK or request a competent body of the UN to mandate the International Criminal Court to initiate investigations?

Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we will continue to support the work of the International Criminal Court and international tribunals to tackle any war crimes that have been committed. We are looking carefully at Genocide Watch’s report and will continue to work with all our international partners to ensure that anybody who commits war crimes or other atrocities is properly investigated and prosecuted and, if appropriate, punished.

Guantanamo Bay Detainees

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Baroness Sugg
Thursday 22nd October 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D’Souza
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the United Arab Emirates about the possible repatriation of 18 former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen.

Baroness Sugg Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (Baroness Sugg) (Con) [V]
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My Lords, we have not made representations to the Government of the UAE on their plans to return 18 former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen. The UK regularly raises human rights issues with the UAE, and we remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Yemen. We will monitor the situation closely.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB) [V]
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I thank the Minister for what was a rather disappointing reply. UN experts have expressed deep concern about the 18 previous Guantanamo detainees, all of whom have been cleared of being terrorist suspects by no less than six USA security bodies. They have already undergone two decades of detention and mistreatment, first in Guantanamo and then in the UAE. Repatriation to Yemen would likely result in torture, disappearance and death.

Given the UK’s principled opposition to the Guantanamo detention facility and the death penalty and its often-stated close relationship with the UAE, which allows it to raise sensitive human rights issues, will the Government now call on the UAE to release these men immediately from arbitrary detention and the threat of forcible repatriation?

Baroness Sugg Portrait Baroness Sugg (Con) [V]
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My Lords, the case is ultimately one between the parties involved—the UAE, Yemen and the United States—but as the noble Baroness highlights, we remain committed to the promotion of universal freedoms and human rights. As she also highlights, we are more likely to bring about change through engagement, dialogue and co-operation. We will continue our relationship with the UAE and raise human rights issues both in private and in public.