Theresa Villiers Written Questions

Questions to Foreign and Commonwealth Office tabled by Theresa Villiers


Date Title Questioner
17 Jul 2019, 4:22 p.m. Russia: Ukraine Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Ukrainian counterpart on the involvement of the Russian military in Ukraine.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The British Government has regular discussions with Ukraine, including at Ministerial level, on Russia's aggression against Ukraine and continued threats to Ukrainian sovereignty. Our position is clear that Russia must end its financial and military support for armed separatists and fully respect Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity. We will continue to be one of the strongest supporters of Ukrainian defence and security. Since 2015 the UK has helped build the resilience and capacity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces through Operation Orbital, providing training to over 16,000 personnel so far. HMS Duncan visited Odessa on 7 July as part of Exercise Sea Breeze and hosted Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on board the ship.

17 Jul 2019, 4:19 p.m. Russia: Ukraine Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Russian counterpart on the role the Russian military in Ukraine.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

When I met with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov in February, I made clear that Russia must address the concerns of the international community, including ending their destabilising activity in Ukraine. Our position is clear that Russia needs to end its financial and military support for armed separatists and fully respect Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity. We will continue to be one of the strongest supporters of Ukrainian defence and security.

17 Jul 2019, 2:39 p.m. Sri Lanka: Human Rights Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council resolutions regarding the aftermath of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Answer (Dr Andrew Murrison)

The UK continues to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver the commitments it made to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) through Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1. We firmly believe that this is the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation. The Government has made these points regularly to Sri Lankan Ministers, including during a Ministerial visit to Colombo in October and in a number of meetings since. The British High Commissioner in Colombo also holds regular discussions on the implementation of the UNHRC resolutions with the Government of Sri Lanka.

In March the UK welcomed the Annual Report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which assessed progress made by the Sri Lankan Government in the implementation of UNHRC resolutions 30/1 and 34/1. The Report found that the Government of Sri Lanka had taken some steps to address human rights concerns and to introduce more democratic and accountable government, including the return of some military-held civilian land, the establishment of an Office of Missing Persons and the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.

However, more needs to be done. The UK has urged further progress on these issues, and encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, and to establish and then utilise credible mechanisms for transitional justice. We continue to urge the Government to prioritise the steps required to deliver fully on the commitments it made in resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1, and to develop a comprehensive and time bound implementation strategy.

3 Jul 2019, 3:21 p.m. Northern Cyprus: Cultural Heritage Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to support the conservation of Christian heritage in the Turkish controlled part of Cyprus.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The UK provides funding for the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage through our membership of the European Union. The committee was created under the auspices of the United Nations and works to promote and protect the cultural heritage of the island of Cyprus. This includes the preservation of religious sites in the north of Cyprus.

2 Jul 2019, 1:15 p.m. Northern Cyprus: Missing Persons Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart to ask for the Cyprus Committee on Missing Persons to have access to all military areas in Turkish-controlled Cyprus, in order to carry out their work.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The UK fully supports calls by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers for Turkey to provide the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) with unhindered access to all possible burial sites. We encourage all relevant parties to share geographical information of where incidents may have happened to enable the CMP to identify potential burial sites.

2 Jul 2019, 1:12 p.m. Cyprus: Peace Negotiations Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart in pursuance of a negotiated settlement in Cyprus to stop the extensive building in the town of Morphou.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The UK is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We therefore support consultations on settlement under the Secretary General's auspices through dialogue with the UN and regular engagement with leaders from all parties. We encourage all sides to engage constructively and demonstrate genuine commitment to making progress. Ultimately, the question of Morphou is a matter for the two Leaders and the communities they represent to address as part of a comprehensive settlement. It is not for the UK to seek to become a party to the discussions beyond our obligations as a guarantor power, however we continue to support the two Leaders' attempts to achieve progress.

2 Jul 2019, 1:09 p.m. Cyprus: Peace Negotiations Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart to support the inclusion of the town of Morphou in the territory forming the Greek Cypriot side of any bizonal arrangement in Cyprus in an agreed negotiated settlement for the island.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The UK is a strong supporter of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. We therefore support consultations on settlement under the Secretary General's auspices through dialogue with the UN and regular engagement with leaders from all parties. We encourage all sides to engage constructively and demonstrate genuine commitment to making progress. Ultimately, the question of Morphou is a matter for the two Leaders and the communities they represent to address as part of a comprehensive settlement. It is not for the UK to seek to become a party to the discussions beyond our obligations as a guarantor power, however we continue to support the two Leaders' attempts to achieve progress.

6 Jun 2019, 4:45 p.m. Sri Lanka: Minority Groups Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Sri Lankan counterpart on the importance of protecting the rights of (a) Muslims and (b) other minorities.

Answer (Mark Field)

The UK Government continues to raise concerns regarding incidents of violence and intimidation against Muslims and minority groups. We have actively engaged with the Sri Lankan authorities, faith and community leaders to ensure the protection of minorities and to encourage an inclusive response to the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks that brings different communities and faith groups together to tackle violent extremism and protect minority groups. The Minister of State for Security, Ben Wallace, visited Sri Lanka on 2-3 May and met President Sirisena, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and faith leaders where he underlined this message. Lord Ahmad and I have also raised the issue of protection for minority groups directly with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner.

The High Commission in Colombo recently joined an European Union statement calling on political, religious and other community leaders to speak out against violence and all those inciting unrest and distrust and to make every effort to promote understanding and harmony between communities.

21 May 2019, 2:32 p.m. Thusiyan Nandakumar Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has received on threats made against Dr Thusiyan Nandakumar arising from an interview broadcast by the BBC on 21 April 2019 on terror attacks in Sri Lanka.

Answer (Mark Field)

​We are aware of threats made against Dr Thusiyan Nandakumar following an interview broadcast on 21 April. The appropriate avenue to pursue the issue of threats is through the UK police. The UK is committed to supporting freedom of speech and supports those who seek to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

20 May 2019, 4:43 p.m. Cyprus: Exclusive Economic Zone Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has rights to authorise drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Exclusive Economic zone.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

Our position remains unchanged: we continue to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.

With reference to Turkey's planned drilling, the position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute. We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area. Sir Alan Duncan had made this clear to the Turkish Ambassador in London and the British Ambassador to Ankara has engaged with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge de-escalation. We continue to believe Cyprus' oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.

20 May 2019, 4:43 p.m. Cyprus: Exclusive Economic Zone Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Government recognises the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

Our position remains unchanged: we continue to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.

With reference to Turkey's planned drilling, the position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute. We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area. Sir Alan Duncan had made this clear to the Turkish Ambassador in London and the British Ambassador to Ankara has engaged with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge de-escalation. We continue to believe Cyprus' oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.

20 May 2019, 4:43 p.m. Cyprus: Exclusive Economic Zone Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart on the incursion into the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone in the Eastern Mediterranean of drilling ships from Turkey.

Answer (Harriett Baldwin)

Our position remains unchanged: we continue to recognise the sovereign right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit the oil and gas in its internationally agreed Exclusive Economic Zone.

With reference to Turkey's planned drilling, the position of the UK is that, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, exploratory drilling should not proceed in any area where sovereignty is under dispute. We have called on Turkey not to drill in this area. Sir Alan Duncan had made this clear to the Turkish Ambassador in London and the British Ambassador to Ankara has engaged with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge de-escalation. We continue to believe Cyprus' oil and gas should be developed for the benefit of all Cypriots.

2 Apr 2019, 2 p.m. Cyprus: Politics and Government Theresa Villiers

Question

What recent discussions he has had with international partners on delivering a negotiated settlement to reunite Cyprus.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The UK strongly supports a just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue, based on the internationally accepted model of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Both I and my Rt Hon Friend the Foreign Secretary support consultations through our continued dialogue with the parties and the UN. We encourage all sides to work towards a resumption of talks and stand ready to discuss how we can support progress.

27 Mar 2018, 3:19 p.m. Malta: Nature Conservation Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Malta on ensuring that the Maltese Government complies with its international obligations on the protection of birds.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​The Government remains firmly opposed to the illegal hunting of wildlife, and supports the European Commission's efforts to ensure Member State compliance with EU Directive 2009/147/EC on the Conservation of Wild Birds. Our High Commission in Malta continues to monitor the situation.

12 Mar 2018, 4:35 p.m. Yemen: Peace Negotiations Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,what support his Department has provided to the international community to (a) secure a ceasefire in Yemen and (b) facilitate negotiations for a political settlement of the conflict.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

A political settlement remains the only means for bringing long-term stability to Yemen – there is no military solution to the conflict. The Yemeni parties must engage constructively and in good faith to overcome obstacles and find a political solution to end the conflict. The UK continues to play a leading role in international efforts to achieve this goal. The Foreign Secretary discusses the military and political situation in Yemen with the Foreign Ministers of the United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia regularly, and most recently on 23 January at our Embassy in Paris. In June last year the UK sponsored and coordinated a UN Security Council Presidential Statement, agreed on 15 June, which called upon the parties to the conflict to agree the modalities for a ceasefire, take steps to address the humanitarian crisis and restart political talks. We are now working urgently with our international and regional partners to ensure that the Security Council's words are converted into action. We support the appointment of the new UN Special Envoy for Yemen, and will work urgently to assist his efforts.

8 Feb 2018, 5:58 p.m. Layla Siyaad Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in the Government of Hungary on the continued detention of Layla Siyaad.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

Consular officials at the British Embassy in Budapest are in regular contact with the local authorities on this case and are keeping the family updated on developments.

8 Feb 2018, 4:35 p.m. Indonesia: Religious Freedom Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of religious freedom in Indonesia; and whether he is taking steps to raise the importance of freedom of religious belief with the Indonesian Government.

Answer (Mark Field)

The Government of Indonesia has taken steps to address the issue of freedom of religion, including through the creation of a new Presidential Working Unit which aims to promote, among other things, tolerance of the 6 officially recognised religions of Indonesia. We also welcome the ruling of the constitutional court in November 2017 permitting followers of traditional beliefs to state their faith on their identity cards. However, we remain concerned about treatment of non-Sunni Islamic groups, such as the Ahmadiyya and Shia communities who often face intolerance. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN most recently discussed it with the Indonesian Ambassador to London in January.

21 Dec 2017, 2:49 p.m. Nasser Navard Goltape Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Iran on the case of Nasser Navard Goltape.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The human rights situation in Iran, including the harassment and persecution of Christians, is of serious concern. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with the Iranian Government as a notable element of his visit to Iran on 9-10 December. I did likewise during my visit on 5 August.
21 Dec 2017, 2:45 p.m. Yousef Nadarkhani Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to the Government of Iran on the appeal by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani against his 10-year prison sentence and two years in exile.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The human rights situation in Iran, including the harassment and persecution of Christians, is of serious concern. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with the Iranian Government as a notable element of his visit to Iran on 9-10 December. I did likewise during my visit on 5 August.
21 Dec 2017, 2:41 p.m. Iran: Administration of Justice Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the Government of Iran to reform its legal system to tackle the problem of people being charged with offences that are far more serious than their actions.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The human rights situation in Iran is of serious concern. The Foreign Secretary raised our human rights concerns with the Iranian Government during his visit to Iran on 9-10 December, as did I during my visit on 5 August.
7 Dec 2017, 4:17 p.m. Ukraine: Famine Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the UK Government has plans to mark the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

The Minister of State for the Middle East remembered the millions of Ukrainians who died during the closing speech of a debate in Westminster Hall on 7 November. The UK was also represented by the British Embassy in Kyiv's Chargé d'Affaires during the commemoration service held by President Poroshenko on 25 November.

4 Dec 2017, 5:26 p.m. Crimea: Human Rights Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Russian counterparts on the detention of Tatars involved in human rights works in Crimea.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

​The British Government is committed to raising concerns publicly, multilaterally and directly with the Russia Government, about human rights abuses committed by the "de-facto" Russian authorities against Crimean Tatars since the illegal annexation of Crimea. I regularly raise our concerns directly with the Russian Ambassador to the UK, and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers will continue to raise our concerns with Russian counterparts. The UK has supported Ukraine in ensuring the persecution of Crimean Tatars remains in the international spotlight, most recently through our support of the successful resolution on the human rights situation in Crimea at the UN General Assembly's third committee in November.

21 Nov 2017, 4:12 p.m. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign Affairs, whether he has had discussions with her US counterpart on that country's decision to add the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist groupings.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

In addition to US sanctions, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is already subject to EU sanctions in its entirety. Furthermore, a large number of individuals and entities are also designated because of their support for, or links to, the IRGC. Listings fall under the EU's proliferation and human rights sanctions regimes relating to Iran, as well as under the EU Syria sanctions regime.

The UK – including during the Foreign Secretary’s recent visit to Washington – regularly talks to the US about a variety of issues related to Iran, including our commitment to keeping the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and our concerns about Iran’s destabilising activities in the region.

21 Nov 2017, 4:10 p.m. Yemen: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on the role of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in supplying arms and ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The UK is aware of reports that Iran has provided the Houthis with ballistic missiles. These reports are deeply concerning, and it is essential that the UN investigates them fully. The UK strongly condemns Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, including the ballistic missile attempt of 4 November. Such attacks prolong the conflict in Yemen, fuel regional tensions and undermine UN efforts to reach a political solution.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and associated entities are known to be involved in multiple regional conflicts, including operating through proxies. The Government is clear that Iran should cease disruptive involvement in regional conflicts, and should instead look to play a constructive role in regional stability.​

21 Nov 2017, 3:53 p.m. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps: Human Rights Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what information his Department holds on the role of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in human rights violations in Iran.

Answer (Alistair Burt)

The human rights situation in Iran is a serious concern and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has designated Iran as a human rights priority country. The latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran sets out the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in human rights violations in Iran, in particular, their role in the harassment and detention of minority groups. Several prominent members of the IRGC are listed under EU human rights sanctions and I was able to raise our wider human rights concerns with my Iranian counterpart during my visit to Tehran in August this year.

31 Oct 2017, 4:59 p.m. South Sandwich Islands: Marine Protected Areas Theresa Villiers

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether his Department plans to include the South Sandwich Islands in the Government's plans for marine protection zones.

Answer (Sir Alan Duncan)

In 2012 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands' entire marine environment was declared a sustainable-use Marine Protected Area combining over 20,000 square kilometres of no-fishing zones with areas where commercial fishing may continue under some of the strictest regulations in the world.