Baroness Helic Portrait

Baroness Helic

Conservative - Life peer

Became Member: 18th September 2014


Baroness Helic is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
Bosnia and Herzegovina
International Relations and Defence Committee
25th May 2016 - 28th Jan 2021


Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Helic has voted in 299 divisions, and 10 times against the majority of their Party.

17 Mar 2021 - Domestic Abuse Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 208 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 310 Noes - 232
15 Mar 2021 - Domestic Abuse Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Conservative Aye votes vs 230 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 318 Noes - 269
10 Mar 2021 - Domestic Abuse Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 211 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 252
11 Jan 2021 - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 2 Conservative Aye votes vs 218 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 278 Noes - 283
7 Dec 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 188 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 297 Noes - 221
9 Nov 2020 - United Kingdom Internal Market Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted No - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 44 Conservative No votes vs 147 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 165 Noes - 433
4 Apr 2022 - Nationality and Borders Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 9 Conservative Aye votes vs 124 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 199 Noes - 132
3 Jul 2023 - Illegal Migration Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 3 Conservative Aye votes vs 145 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 230 Noes - 152
3 Jul 2023 - Illegal Migration Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 6 Conservative Aye votes vs 144 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 152
5 Jul 2023 - Illegal Migration Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Helic voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 7 Conservative Aye votes vs 155 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 232 Noes - 169
View All Baroness Helic Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(51 debate interactions)
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
(8 debate interactions)
Baroness Goldie (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(15 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(13 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21
(6,852 words contributed)
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(2,542 words contributed)
Victims and Prisoners Act 2024
(690 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Baroness Helic's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Helic, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Baroness Helic has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Helic has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


Latest 50 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
21st Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what were the conviction rates for prosecutions of domestic violence in each of the last five years, disaggregated by the ethnicity of the victim.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) holds no data showing the number of convictions for domestic violence by the ethnicity of the victim. The Ministry of Justice hold official statistics on proceedings and convictions which can be found here: Criminal justice statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lord Stewart of Dirleton
Advocate General for Scotland
28th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to follow the United States, Canada, and the European Union in restricting the use of TikTok on government-issued devices.

We continue to monitor potential threats to our systems and data and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary.

With regards to potential security risks, His Majesty’s Government does not comment on these matters.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that all public sector bodies follow their new procurement rules designed to exclude suppliers linked to human rights abuses.

The Government is committed to preventing human rights abuses in the global economy, including in our own supply chains.

The Public Contracts Regulations allow contracting authorities to exclude bidders in particular situations, such as for human rights abuses, and must be considered by the contracting authority on a case by case basis.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what (1) financial, and (2) non-financial, support they have provided to UK firms operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2020; and whether this support is contingent on any (a) environmental, or (b) transparency, commitments.

We have not provided financial support to UK businesses operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2020. The Department for Business and Trade's Export Strategy sets out the support available, including the Export Support Service, a Country Director based in Sarajevo, the PM's Trade Envoy for the Western Balkans and a UK Export Finance Officer covering the region. UK companies focused on the green transition are a strategic priority for this support. Any UKEF support would follow robust transaction due diligence to ensure that any projects or contracts supported meet stringent international Environmental, Social and Human Rights standards.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Offord of Garvel on 5 July (HL8206) regarding UK Export Finance support for exports to Serbia, what steps they are taking to ensure that Serbian entities comply with end user certificate requirements in respect of UK exports to Serbia.

UK Export Finance has not supported any exports to Serbia that are subject to UK export licensing requirements. UKEF is committed to high standards of environmental, social and human rights risk management. When considering support to projects UKEF undertakes due diligence on all relevant aspects, including environmental, social and human rights, climate change, and antibribery and corruption measures.

Lord Offord of Garvel
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what was the value of support given in respect of exports to Serbia under the (1) Bond Insurance Policy, (2) Bond Support Scheme, (3) Buyer Credit Facility, (4) Direct Lending Facility, (5) Export Development Guarantee, (6) Export Insurance Policy, (7) Export Working Capital Scheme, (8) General Export Facility, (9) Overseas Investment Insurance, (10) Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee, (11) supplier credit facilities, and (12) Supply Chain Discount Guarantee in the past five financial years for which figures are available.

Total UKEF support for exports to Serbia over the past five financial years (2017-18 to 2021-22) for which we have audited figures is shown in the table:

UKEF Product

Value of UKEF support

Bond Insurance Policy

-

Bond Support Scheme

£130,394

Buyer Credit Facility

£405,348,227

Direct Lending Facility

-

Export Development Guarantee

-

Export Insurance Policy

£76,808

Export Working Capital Scheme

£6,978

General Export Facility

-

Overseas Investment Insurance

-

Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee

-

Supplier Credit Facilities

-

Supply Chain Discount Guarantee

-

Lord Offord of Garvel
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
30th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the letter published by the Future of Life Institute Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter, published on 29 March; and what steps they intend to take in response to the recommendation in that letter that there should be "shared safety protocols for AI" which are audited and overseen by independent outside experts".

It is important that industry voices are actively engaged in the discourse around responsible AI. British based companies, like Deepmind, are at the forefront of responsible innovation. However, It should be noted that questions have been raised regarding the veracity of some of the signatures of the open letter on Artificial Intelligence published by the Future of Life Institute (FLI). Some of the researchers whose work was cited in the letter have also apparently raised concerns. It is also important to note that the letter is not expressly targeted towards the UK or any other government. Nevertheless,

Government recognises the need to act to adapt the way in which we regulate AI as systems become more powerful, and are put to different use. As Sir Patrick Vallance highlighted in his recent regulatory review, there is a small window of opportunity to get this right and build a regulatory regime that enables innovation while addressing the risks. Government agrees that a collaborative approach is fundamental to addressing AI risk and supporting responsible AI development and use for the benefit of society. The AI Regulation White Paper we published on 29 March identifies “trustworthy”, “proportionate” and “collaborative” as key characteristics of the proposed AI regulation framework.

The AI Regulation White Paper sets out principles for the responsible development of AI in the UK. These principles such as safety, fairness, and accountability are at the very heart of our approach to ensuring the responsible development and use of AI. We will also establish a central risk function to bring together cutting-edge knowledge from industry, regulators, academia and civil society – including skilled computer scientists with a deep technical understanding of AI - to monitor future risks and adapt our approach if necessary. This is aligned with the calls to action in FLI’s letter.

In addition, our recently announced Foundation Model Taskforce has been established to strengthen UK capability - in a way that is aligned with the UK’s values - as this potentially transformative technology develops.

The approach to AI regulation outlined in the AI regulation White Paper is also complemented by parallel work on AI Standards, supported by the AI Standards Hub launched in October 2022, and via the Centre for Data Ethics and Innvovation’s AI Assurance Roadmap, published in December 2021. In concert, our holistic approach to AI governance combining regulation with an approach to standards development and AI assurance is in line with efforts to develop shared safety protocols, and will at the same time allow the UK to benefit from AI technologies while protecting people and our fundamental values.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
28th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the data security threat posed by TikTok.

The government does not routinely comment on security matters, but data security is paramount and we always take the requisite steps to protect data. We continue to monitor the threats to our data and will not hesitate to take further action if necessary to protect our national security.

Like all businesses, we expect Tiktok to fully comply with our privacy laws (UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA18). Organisations which fail to comply may be investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office and where appropriate subject to enforcement action, including fines.

Viscount Camrose
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what advice they have provided to UK Universities on any national security risks associated with scholarships and funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

The government regularly assesses threats posed to UK academia and works closely with the higher education (HE) sector. As a matter of longstanding policy, the department is unable to release information regarding threat assessments on the grounds of national security.

The government is now going further in the Integrated Review Refresh 2023, launching a new and comprehensive review of legislative and other provisions designed to protect our academic sector, to identify what more we could or should be doing.

No advice has been issued from the department to HE providers about scholarships and funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

The government will not accept collaborations which compromise our national security.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any national security risks associated with scholarships and funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council; and what discussions they have had with UK universities on this matter.

The government regularly assesses threats posed to UK academia and works closely with the higher education (HE) sector. As a matter of longstanding policy, the department is unable to release information regarding threat assessments on the grounds of national security.

The government is now going further in the Integrated Review Refresh 2023, launching a new and comprehensive review of legislative and other provisions designed to protect our academic sector, to identify what more we could or should be doing.

No advice has been issued from the department to HE providers about scholarships and funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council.

The government will not accept collaborations which compromise our national security.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have for introducing legislation to introduce a closed season for hares in England, following the publication of DEFRA’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021; and what consultations they have had with stakeholders in that regard.

The Government has no current plans to legislate to introduce a close season for hares in England. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare in 2021 made a commitment to consider such legislation and it remains an option. An industry-led, non-statutory code of practice to protect hares in England is already in place which states that lethal control to prevent damage to crops should only be carried out in the winter months of January and February when vegetation is low and hares are easily visible. These months avoid the main breeding season and thereby reduce risks to dependent young.

The Government has had no formal consultations with stakeholders on this issue since the publication of the Action Plan for Animal Welfare but we have heard representations from interested parties, both in support of and opposed to a close season for hares.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Benyon on 12 July 2023 (HL9069), which stated that “Introducing a close season for brown hares remains an option”, what indicators they are using to assess the necessity of this option, and how frequently they review it.

The proposal to introduce a close season for the brown hare, referred to in HL9069, was set out in the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare. In terms of the necessity of a close season from a wildlife conservation perspective, the brown hare is one of the indicator species for our legally binding targets in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and then reverse declines by 2042. We know that in order to meet these targets we will need large-scale habitat creation and restoration and improved connectivity but this will be supplemented where appropriate by intelligence on individual species. While there are no immediate plans to undertake a national mammal population review as was conducted in 2018, we should get an idea of trends in our brown hare population from published surveys, for example from the British Trust for Ornithology’s mammal recording, which it has been conducting since 1995 with a view to helping improve our knowledge of the distribution and population trends of some of our commoner mammals.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the links between hare coursing and organised crime, and what assessment they have made of the economic impact of hare coursing and poaching.

The Government recognises the impact which hare coursing has on rural communities. The Government has considered evidence from a wide range of stakeholders and the police on the problems caused by hare coursing, including with organised crime.

That is why we have introduced new measures to strengthen law enforcement and increase the powers of the courts through the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act. They have been widely welcomed. The new offences and higher penalties introduced by the Act are all being used and imposed by the courts.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the introduction of a closed season for hunting activities to coincide with the breeding and rearing of brown hares; if so, what progress they have made in this work; and if not, what alternative measures or strategies they assess would be needed to address the impact of hunting practices on dependent young hares.

In May 2021, a commitment was included within the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare to consider legislation to introduce a close season for brown hares in England. It was considered that a close season, prohibiting the killing of hares during their breeding season, would be likely to reduce the number of leverets (young hares) left motherless, giving them a better chance of survival. This is consistent with Natural England’s advice on wildlife management, which is to avoid controlling species in their peak breeding season unless genuinely essential and unavoidable. Introducing a close season for brown hares remains an option. An industry-led, non-statutory code of practice to protect hares in England is already in place which states that lethal control to prevent damage to crops should only be carried out in the winter months of January and February when vegetation is low and hares are easily visible. These months avoid the main breeding season and thereby reduce risks to dependent young.

In the absence of a close season, the Government has taken other forms of action which should have beneficial effects for our brown hares. Last year we introduced new measures to strengthen law enforcement and increase the powers of the courts through the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act to clamp down on the scourge of hare coursing. They have been widely welcomed. The new offences and higher penalties introduced by the Act are all being used and imposed by the courts. Further to this, brown hare is one of the indicator species for our legally binding targets in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and then reverse declines by 2042. We know that in order to meet these targets we will need large-scale habitat creation, restoration and improved connectivity. Our legally binding target to restore or create more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat is already driving action on this front, including for habitat on which hares rely to flourish, such as open grassland.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to (1) address the issue of orphaning in the brown hare population, and (2) protect dependent young hares.

In May 2021, a commitment was included within the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare to consider legislation to introduce a close season for brown hares in England. It was considered that a close season, prohibiting the killing of hares during their breeding season, would be likely to reduce the number of leverets (young hares) left motherless, giving them a better chance of survival. This is consistent with Natural England’s advice on wildlife management, which is to avoid controlling species in their peak breeding season unless genuinely essential and unavoidable. Introducing a close season for brown hares remains an option. An industry-led, non-statutory code of practice to protect hares in England is already in place which states that lethal control to prevent damage to crops should only be carried out in the winter months of January and February when vegetation is low and hares are easily visible. These months avoid the main breeding season and thereby reduce risks to dependent young.

In the absence of a close season, the Government has taken other forms of action which should have beneficial effects for our brown hares. Last year we introduced new measures to strengthen law enforcement and increase the powers of the courts through the Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Act to clamp down on the scourge of hare coursing. They have been widely welcomed. The new offences and higher penalties introduced by the Act are all being used and imposed by the courts. Further to this, brown hare is one of the indicator species for our legally binding targets in England to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and then reverse declines by 2042. We know that in order to meet these targets we will need large-scale habitat creation, restoration and improved connectivity. Our legally binding target to restore or create more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat is already driving action on this front, including for habitat on which hares rely to flourish, such as open grassland.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the Foreign Secretary has taken to ensure full and unfettered humanitarian access to civilians in Yemen.

The UK has been at the forefront of international efforts to improve humanitarian access in Yemen. We call on all parties to immediately end restrictions on aid agencies and comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2451 by allowing safe, rapid, and unhindered access for the humanitarian response.

The Foreign Secretary raised this issue on 1 July in a joint article with the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Sweden, highlighting the need for obstacles to the delivery of aid to be removed.

We welcome recent steps taken by the Houthis to improve humanitarian access but are clear that more progress is needed or humanitarian organisations will be unable to continue delivering vital assistance.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what urgent steps they intend to take with their international partners to try to avert the risk of catastrophic human suffering in Yemen.

The UK is extremely concerned by the devastating humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which remains the largest in the world. This situation is now being compounded by the rapid spread of COVID-19, with UK-funded modelling estimating that Yemen has already had over 1 million infections.

In response, we are promptly disbursing funding from our new £160 million commitment for this financial year (2020/21), to help the UN tackle the spread of COVID-19 in Yemen and address the humanitarian crisis. We have already disbursed 32% of this funding and expect to have disbursed over 50% by the end of July.

We are encouraging other international donors to urgently provide funding to the UN humanitarian response, ahead of Yemen’s expected COVID-19 peak in late July. We are also engaging with Yemeni authorities to encourage them to implement measures to suppress infection, allow access for international staff and COVID-19 supplies and protect the health system.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how much funding they have provided to support specialist medical care in the UK for children evacuated from Ukraine since February 2022.

The Government is committed to supporting the health needs of Ukrainian arrivals. All arrivals are entitled to full and free access to the National Health Service, including specialist services where required. On 14 March 2022, 21 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families were evacuated to England and triaged at seven NHS hospitals. The funding for the oncology patients was agreed by local NHS trusts, and the Government continues to support the cohort and their families.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many children from Ukraine have been evacuated to the UK to receive specialist medical care since February 2022.

The Government is committed to supporting the health needs of Ukrainian arrivals. All arrivals are entitled to full and free access to the National Health Service, including specialist services where required. On 14 March 2022, 21 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families were evacuated to England and triaged at seven NHS hospitals. The funding for the oncology patients was agreed by local NHS trusts, and the Government continues to support the cohort and their families.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of the (1) Sinovac, and (2) Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has not assessed the efficacy of either vaccine.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what use they have made of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre's civil emergency response mechanism as a means of sourcing personal protective equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and whether they have made any requests for assistance to the Centre.

To date, seven allied and nine partner nations have requested international assistance through the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). In chronological order of requesting, these are: Ukraine, Spain, Montenegro, Italy, Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Colombia, Slovenia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Iraq. Many of these requests were for personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also asked for airlift support. The United Kingdom has not requested assistance through the EADRCC but we have responded to a small number of requests, including from Ukraine, Georgia, North Macedonia and Moldova, where PPE and medical equipment has been supplied. In these cases, equipment has been procured locally in the country concerned and within the constraints of our domestic response.

As part of the COVID-19 PPE team seconded to work with the Cabinet Office on PPE procurement, teams from Defence Equipment and Support have been using the NATO Support and Procurement Agency framework to order PPE for the National Health Service.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what use they have made of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency in attempting to procure personal protective equipment for the NHS.

To date, seven allied and nine partner nations have requested international assistance through the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). In chronological order of requesting, these are: Ukraine, Spain, Montenegro, Italy, Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Colombia, Slovenia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Tunisia and Iraq. Many of these requests were for personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical equipment. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs also asked for airlift support. The United Kingdom has not requested assistance through the EADRCC but we have responded to a small number of requests, including from Ukraine, Georgia, North Macedonia and Moldova, where PPE and medical equipment has been supplied. In these cases, equipment has been procured locally in the country concerned and within the constraints of our domestic response.

As part of the COVID-19 PPE team seconded to work with the Cabinet Office on PPE procurement, teams from Defence Equipment and Support have been using the NATO Support and Procurement Agency framework to order PPE for the National Health Service.

25th Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent reports indicating that Iran has exported Shahed drones and drone technology to Serbia; and of the impact of this on peace and stability in the Western Balkans.

We have seen no evidence that Iran has exported Shahed drones and drone technology to Serbia. We are counselling Serbia to approach its defence procurement with care, as it sensibly seeks to diversify and modernise its defence capabilities. When the Foreign Secretary met President Vucic in Munich in February, he underlined the importance of Serbia supporting efforts to build and support regional stability.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Apr 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the security situation in and stability of the Western Balkans, following the testimony of the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher Cavoli, before the US House Committee on Armed Services on 10 April.

We share General Cavoli's assessment over rising tensions in the Western Balkans, and Russia's malign role in exacerbating those tensions. Working bilaterally and with partners, and drawing on over £40 million of programme activity, the UK is driving forward efforts to build resilience to external threats, strengthen democracy, prevent a return to conflict and tackle migration and serious organised crime. Government Ministers are engaging actively in support of these goals. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary met the Prime Ministers of Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro to discuss greater UK investment in the Western Balkans.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports by UN experts on 19 February of “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the West Bank by Israel Defence Forces; and whether they have offered practical support for investigating these alleged crimes, and for caring for survivors and witnesses.

The UK condemns human rights abuses and sexual violence unequivocally and without exception. As I [Lord Ahmad] said to the UN Security Council during the 11 March debate following the release of Special Representative Pramila Patten's report, it is vital that all reports of sexual violence are fully investigated to ensure justice for all victims and survivors and perpetrators are held to account.

The FCDO continues to closely monitor the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and stands ready to further utilise our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) expertise and tools to ensure victims and survivors of CRSV, both Israeli and Palestinian, receive the holistic and survivor-centred support they need.

Through our PSVI programmes and dedicated funding totalling £60 million since 2012, we are leading work internationally to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and strengthen justice and support for all survivors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many members of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative Team of Experts have been deployed to Ethiopia since 2020; for what purposes; how long each deployment lasted; and what assessment they have made of the impact of its work.

The UK is committed to preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), including through the PSVI Team of Experts. Since its launch, the UK has deployed experts over 90 times globally to enhance UK and international efforts.

From June to August 2021, an expert was deployed to Ethiopia to identify opportunities for scaling up the response to CRSV. We worked with partners to implement recommendations, including enhancing support for survivors, commissioning research into the dynamics of CRSV and deploying longer-term Gender expertise. From June to October 2022, another expert provided capacity-building training to civil society on CRSV. These deployments have provided the foundation for the UK's ongoing work on CRSV in country.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Mar 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of efforts since the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in November 2022 to achieve justice and accountability for conflict-related sexual violence in Tigray, and what support they are providing to those efforts.

The UK is committed to preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence in Ethiopia. We have consistently called for an end to the appalling gender-based violence committed across Ethiopia, including sexual violence, particularly during the Tigray conflict. We therefore welcome the recent agreement to implement a comprehensive national Transitional Justice policy aimed at accountability, redress for victims, reconciliation, and healing. The UK has called for the perpetrators to be held to account and the importance of a victim-centered, gender-sensitive approach. We will work with the Ethiopian Government and civil society in their efforts to hold perpetrators to account, including building the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission through the UK's Human Rights and Peacebuilding programme (HARP).

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which the government of Rwanda is supporting the M23 militia and its incursions into and occupation of Congolese territory; what recent discussions they have had with the governments of France and the United States regarding this issue; and what, if any, representations they have made to the government of Rwanda.

The UK Government is alarmed by further escalations of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and continue to raise this with DRC and Rwandan governments at every appropriate moment. The Minister of State (Development and Africa) met with President Kagame and Foreign Minister Biruta during his visit to Rwanda in late August, where he encouraged de-escalation and emphasised the need for a peaceful political solution. The UK continues to work closely with likeminded countries; our Great Lakes Envoy is currently on a UN-led trip to the region alongside French and US counterparts and will continue to encourage a return to regional political processes over military solutions.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of a new United Nations, African Union or other regional peacekeeping force in Sudan.

Neither the UN nor the African Union have suggested peacekeeping as a suitable response to Sudan's conflict at this stage. The UK Government's main objectives remain to pursue all diplomatic avenues to end the violence in Sudan, improving humanitarian access and addressing human rights violations carried out by both the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces. We continue to work closely with the UN, African Union and with counterparts from African and Gulf states as well as our closest allies to achieve these aims, which our partners share.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of communications blackouts on humanitarian operations, including in (1) Sudan, and (2) Gaza.

The UK strongly condemns the blackouts in Sudan and calls for an immediate resumption of telecommunications and internet connectivity. The blackouts make it even more difficult for the world to see what is happening in Sudan. They also exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, as millions of people rely on online payments for food and other essentials. We are also deeply concerned about the severely damaged telecommunications and internet networks in Gaza, which are causing repeated near total communications blackouts. This is limiting the ability of Palestinians in Gaza to communicate and greatly hampers the humanitarian response. Officials are in regular contact with Paltel, the leading telecommunications company in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). We recognise the strenuous efforts of Paltel's staff in Gaza to make repairs and maintain services, at great risk to themselves.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what support they are providing to the government of Sudan to prevent or limit atrocities, and protect civilians, while hostilities in that country continue.

Our senior diplomats have used meetings with senior decision-makers in the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other groups to raise concerns about credible reports of human rights violations and to push the warring parties to agree to a ceasefire, engage in a meaningful peace process, and grant immediate humanitarian access. The UK is also funding open-source investigation experts to use satellite imagery and social media to verify and preserve information relating to attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what (1) funding, and (2) other support, the UK has provided to the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan.

The Fact-Finding Mission was established by a UK-led resolution at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council. As an independent mechanism, the UN regular budget funds the mission, which rules out the option of providing UK extra-budgetary funding. The UK provided funds to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): £350,000 between March 2022 and November 2022, and £650,000 from January 2023 to December 2023 to support OHCHR's wider work on Sudan. We will continue to raise the situation in Sudan at the UN Human Rights Council and Security Council.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the flow of finance and weapons to Sudan in breach of international sanctions, and what steps they are taking to limit and prevent that flow.

The UK condemns any actions that fuel the conflict in Sudan and welcomes the findings of the UN Panel of Experts' report on external support in Darfur. The UK expects all countries to comply with existing UN sanctions and continues to work closely with partners at the UN Security Council to enforce these. On 12 July 2023, the Minister for Development and Africa announced sanctions on six Sudanese entities under the UK's Sudan (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Our sanctions policy is continually under review.

Lord Benyon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the United Nations press release UN experts appalled by reported human rights violations against Palestinian women and girls, published on 19 February, concerning findings of reported human rights violations to Palestinian women and girls by Israeli security forces from (1) the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, (2) the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, and (3) the Working group on discrimination against women and girls.

The UK condemns sexual violence unequivocally and without exception. These reports are deeply disturbing. Reports of sexual violence must be fully investigated to ensure justice for survivors and victims.

Through our Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict programmes and dedicated funding totalling £60 million, we are leading work internationally to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and strengthen justice and support for all survivors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to supporting the temporary medical evacuation of severely injured children from Israel and Palestine to the UK in order to receive short-term, life-saving, specialist medical treatment.

We are currently supporting NGO and UN partners to deliver medical aid and care in the Gaza Strip. This includes support for primary healthcare, trauma and emergency care services, disease surveillance and outbreak response, and deployment of Emergency Medical Teams. We are also exploring further options to help meet the medical needs of Palestinians.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the International Court of Justice handing down its ruling in South Africa's case against Israel, what measures they will put in place to meet their international obligations under the Genocide Convention.

As a party to the Genocide Convention, the UK is fully committed to the prevention and punishment of genocide as appropriate under the Convention. We of course respect the role and independence of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However we have stated that we have considerable concerns about this case, which is not helpful in the goal of achieving a sustainable ceasefire. Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas in line with International Humanitarian Law (IHL), as we have said from the outset. Our view is that Israel's actions in Gaza cannot be described as a genocide, which is why we thought South Africa's decision to bring the case was wrong and provocative. We have long advocated for the release of hostages and the need to get more aid in. We are clear that an immediate pause is necessary to get aid in and hostages out, and then we want to build towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to the fighting.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of children injured in Israel and Palestine since 7 October 2023, and (2) the level of medical support available for children in Gaza.

We are supporting NGO and UN partners to deliver medical aid and care in the Gaza Strip. This includes support for primary healthcare, trauma and emergency care services, disease surveillance and outbreak response, and deployment of Emergency Medical Teams. We have targeted support for children through our £5.75 million contribution to UNICEF.

We are also exploring further options to help meet the medical needs of Palestinians.

The early work we have done shows there is much we can do in the region, for example helping in the field hospitals that have been established, helping to send medical teams to referral hospitals in the region and supporting organisations such as Medical Aid for Palestinians.

A shocking number of civilians including children, have been injured and killed in Gaza. We are calling for an immediate pause to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Israel on the provision of UK practical support for investigating, and caring for survivors and witnesses of, sexual and gender-based violence committed on 7 October in Israel.

We are aware of the shocking reports of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October. It is vital that reports of sexual violence are investigated independently, rigorously, and sensitively to avoid re-traumatisation, that perpetrators are held to account, and that survivors receive holistic support.  We continue to engage regularly with partners, including Israel and the United Nations, to urge that all reports of sexual violence in conflict are investigated, that survivors have access to specialized services and justice, and that parties abide by applicable international humanitarian and human rights law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October; and what discussions they have had with (1) other governments, and (2) the United Nations and other international organisations and officials, on the basis of this assessment.

We are aware of the deeply concerning reports of sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October.  It is vital that reports of sexual violence are investigated independently, rigorously, and sensitively to avoid re-traumatisation, that perpetrators are held to account, and that survivors receive holistic support.  We continue to engage regularly with partners, including the United Nations, to urge that all reports of sexual violence in conflict are investigated, that survivors have access to specialized services and justice, and that parties abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 4 July (HL8647) and 18 September (HL9785), what progress has been made in monitoring conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan, what steps they are taking to support accountability for conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan, and what steps they are taking to ensure that the United Nations fact-finding mission for Sudan includes conflict-related sexual violence expertise.

The UK is committed to tackling gender-based violence including conflict-related sexual violence globally. We continue to call for an end to the violence in Sudan, and for those responsible for human rights violations to be held to account. The UK has enhanced its atrocity risk monitoring, including monitoring of conflict-related sexual violence. The Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted the UK-led 'Sudan Core Group' Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in October, which will ensure that credible allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including conflict-related sexual violence, by all sides will be investigated impartially by experts in their field to support future accountability efforts. The HRC Presidency has begun the selection process for the three experts that will make up the FFM. We continue to support the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN partners working with Sudan's Combating Violence Against Women Unit.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 4 July (HL8646), what steps they are taking to ensure that Sudanese women and women’s civil society organisations are included in all peace and ceasefire negotiations relating to the current conflict in Sudan.

It is essential that Sudan's civilians, civil society, women, youth, and Resistance Committees, are all represented in peace and ceasefire negotiations and are included in political discussions about their country's future. On 27 October, UK and Troika partners issued a joint statement welcoming the Sudanese civilians meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to restore Sudan's democratic transition. The UK has also been working closely with Norway in funding a Humanitarian Conference in Cairo this month. We continue to advocate for a return to a civilian-led government. The security and military forces must be held to their commitment to withdraw from politics. We urge all Sudanese stakeholders to engage in an inclusive dialogue that will deliver the peace and stability that the Sudanese people deserve.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether any members of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative team of experts have been deployed to Sudan or neighbouring countries since the outbreak of conflict in April 2023.

Sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Sudan must end. While a visit by the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) Team of Experts has not been deployed, the UK is taking a range of actions to address the situation. On 14 July, members of the PSVI International Alliance issued a joint statement condemning increasing reports of sexual violence and calling on all parties to stop the violence. The UK has consistently condemned these crimes in other public statements, at the UN Human Rights Council and Security Council, and in diplomatic lobbying. We continue to support the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN partners working with Sudan's Combating Violence Against Women Unit.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to (1) improve the enforcement of and compliance with the UN Arms Embargo and Sanctions Regime on Darfur, and (2) extend the arms embargo to the whole of Sudan.

The UN Arms Embargo and Sanctions Regime on Darfur was renewed in March 2023, and is due for review by September 2024. The United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) will brief the UN Security Council on 13 September ahead of mandate renewal negotiations for which the UK will hold the pen. There is a longstanding bilateral UK arms embargo in place for the whole of Sudan which prevents weapon flows and tackles individuals working against peace. UK sanctions under the Sudan Sanctions (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 provides another tool for holding those to account for violations against peace and stability in Sudan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of Magnitsky-style sanctions arising from the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 against individuals based in Bosnia-Herzegovina who are deemed to have been involved in an activity which, if carried out by or on behalf of an entity within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, would amount to a serious violation of human rights.

We fully support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We will continue to take measures against those who threaten that. It is not appropriate to speculate on future designations, as to do so could reduce their impact. We designated two individuals under our Bosnia and Herzegovina autonomous sanctions regime last year.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what additional steps they are taking to support the documentation of conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan since the outbreak of hostilities in April.

There has been an escalation of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls in Sudan since the start of the conflict on 15 April. The UK is working to ensure gender and inclusion conflict analyses underpin all aspects of the crisis response. The UK continues to provide funds to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan (OHCHR), a UN body that has a crucial role in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations. They are setting up remote monitoring mechanisms. Through the Women's Integrated Sexual Health programme, the UK is also providing integrated sexual and reproductive services, and provisions of family planning and management of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to deploy members of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative team of experts to Sudan or neighbouring countries.

There has been an escalation of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women and girls in Sudan since the start of the conflict on 15 April. The UK is working to ensure gender and inclusion conflict analyses underpin all aspects of the crisis response. The UK continues to provide funds to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan (OHCHR), a UN body that has a crucial role in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations. They are setting up remote monitoring mechanisms. Through the Women's Integrated Sexual Health programme, the UK is also providing integrated sexual and reproductive services, and provisions of family planning and management of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that, in any ceasefire and peace agreements in Sudan, (1) conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) is included as a prohibited act, (2) monitoring for CRSV is included, (3) amnesties for crimes under international law are prohibited, and (4) arrangements for justice and accountability mechanisms are included.

The UK condemns all human rights violations, including the escalation of Conflict Related Sexual Violence against women and girls in Sudan. A UK-drafted resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council on 11 May highlighted the urgent need to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and ensure accountability for human rights violations. The UK Government has enhanced its atrocity risk monitoring, including monitoring of conflict-related sexual violence. We continue to support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations. We call on both sides to abide by their responsibilities under International Law, protect civilians and grant immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access, including providing medical assistance and psychosocial support for survivors of sexual violence.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what proportion of UK aid and development funding to Sudan was allocated to gender-based violence programming in each financial year between 2012 and 2023.

We do not hold data broken down in this way. The UK is committed to tackling gender-based violence (GBV) and conflict-related sexual violence globally. On 24 May, the Minister for Development and Africa announced £21.7 million humanitarian funding for people in need in Sudan, part of a £143 million package of humanitarian aid for East Africa. This includes support for the protection of GBV survivors inside Sudan. The UK is providing £5 million to support refugees and returnees fleeing the violence to South Sudan and Chad. Of this, £500,000 will support UNICEF South Sudan and £45,000 will support International Red Cross and Concern Worldwide in Eastern Chad to provide GBV protection services. The UK Government is pursuing all diplomatic avenues, including at the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, through engagement with the conflicting parties, and through cooperation with international partners, including the African Union, to end the violence in Sudan.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)