Police: Joe Anderson

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Monday 15th April 2024

(1 month, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I join the noble Lord in honouring those who died, of course; 35 years have passed since the tragedy and the impact continues to be devastating for many. The families have my sympathy. The families of the 97 have shown tremendous courage and determination and obviously their loved ones will not be forgotten. In his Statement to the other place on 6 December, the Lord Chancellor committed to a debate later this year on the Government’s response to the Bishop Jones report. It would be unwise of me to pre-empt that debate, so I shall say no more at this point.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, in view of the Minister’s repeated remarks, do I understand that he is saying that the Government have no role in influencing the police in their inquiries?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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Yes—and nor should they.

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (Amendment of List of Safe States) Regulations 2024

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Tuesday 19th March 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

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Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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Is the Minister able to name the human rights organisation that has deemed the countries safe?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I am afraid that I do not have that information. As I said, all the information we use is published on GOV.UK.

Regarding reporting from single sources, or drawing on isolated examples, these might not consider the situation in context or be reflective of the general situation, which is what we are required to consider. We consider evidence from a wide range of sources and source types, as I have said. We compare and contrast information across those sources to reach a balanced and, we believe, accurate view of the situation.

We recognise, of course, that groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International produce reports that are sometimes critical of human rights records. We also consider what sources are reporting as well as how, when and why they have reported. This assessment and the inclusion of these countries on the list will be regularly monitored and reviewed.

The noble Baroness, Lady D'Souza, asked about the ongoing investigations by Canada and the US into alleged Indian state involvement in various activities. We remain in close touch with our Canadian and US partners about what are very serious allegations. However, I am afraid it would be inappropriate to comment further during the ongoing investigations by their law enforcement authorities.

Even if a country is generally considered safe, it is acknowledged that there could be exceptional circumstances in which it may not be appropriate to return an individual in their particular circumstances. That is why the consideration of exceptional circumstances, incorporated into the safe country of origin inadmissibility provisions, will act as an appropriate safeguard. Where the Secretary of State accepts that there are exceptional circumstances why the person may not be removed to their country of origin in an individual’s particular circumstances, they will not be.

Once Section 59 of the Illegal Migration Act is commenced, a national of a Section 80AA(1) listed country who is subject to the duty to remove or power to remove would not be removed there if it is accepted that there are exceptional circumstances as to why they cannot be removed there. They will instead be removed to a safe third country. For all other nationals of Section 80AA(1) listed countries, if there are exceptional circumstances why their claim ought to be considered in the UK, it will be.

I will deal with a couple of specific questions in terms of published guidance—

Protest Measures

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Tuesday 13th February 2024

(3 months, 2 weeks ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I am very happy to join in the congratulations to my noble friend Lord Hailsham on his lion-climbing expertise, but I am afraid that I disagree with my noble friend when it comes to climbing war memorials as a normal part of protest. What is normal about climbing a war memorial?

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, if ever there was an example of the slow attrition of our democratic freedoms, it is this. First, experience tells us that, once a law is on the statute books, it will in future, merely as a convenience, be abused to exert control. Secondly, why on earth would wearing a face covering be made a criminal offence, if not to prepare to punish someone who has committed no crime whatsoever as yet?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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My Lords, I have already largely answered that question on face masks, but, for the avoidance of doubt, I will say it again: we are creating a new criminal offence of wearing a face covering for the purpose of concealing identity when the police place a particular authorisation on a protest. The particular authorisation point is surely the key.

Pakistan: Evacuation of Afghans

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Thursday 9th November 2023

(6 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I confirm to the noble Lord that I remember the question. At the time, I committed to write to the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Stirrup. That letter is being prepared and I will share it with him in due course if he will allow me a little more time.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, there is evidence that the Taliban are pursuing ethnocentric policies by ensuring that Hazara and Indo-Tajik people repatriated from Pakistan are settled among Pashtun communities, which has long-term consequences. Are His Majesty’s Government in touch with Pakistan about what it is effecting, because there will be future consequences of this policy in Afghanistan?

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I am afraid that I am not really qualified to answer on that matter, which I would imagine falls very much within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but I will take the question back and ask whether it can shed some light on it.

Rwanda Asylum Partnership

Debate between Baroness D'Souza and Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Wednesday 19th October 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

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Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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I remind noble Lords that Rwanda is a state party to the 1951 UN refugee convention and the seven core UN human rights conventions. It is also worth pointing out that, in September 2019, the African Union, the Government of Rwanda and the UNHCR signed a memorandum of understanding to set up an emergency transit mechanism to evacuate refugees and asylum seekers out of Libya. The EU has provided support and donated €12.5 million to the ETM through its emergency trust fund. The UNHCR also stated, in a 2020 press notice, that

“Rwanda has been welcoming refugees for over two decades … The country offers a safe and protective environment to all asylum seekers and refugees.”


There seems to be a degree of inconsistency in the UNHCR’s opinion.

Baroness D'Souza Portrait Baroness D'Souza (CB)
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My Lords, I have just returned from a parliamentary visit to Rwanda. Could the Minister clarify which authority in Rwanda would be responsible for determining refugee asylum status? What guarantees are there that the 1951 convention criteria will be faithfully followed? I say this simply because, during this visit, President Kagame said that he was looking for new skills and talents among the refugees or asylum seekers who might be arriving in Rwanda.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom Portrait Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con)
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As the noble Baroness is aware, the foundation for this is a memorandum of understanding that, it is strongly believed, covers the various points that she made. I cannot answer precisely who is responsible at the Rwandan end, but there are teams of Home Office personnel in place who will also monitor progress.