Written Question
Iran: Capital Punishment
10 Jul 2020, 5:27 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Matthew Offord

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Iranian counterpart on the imposition of the death penalty against Amir-Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi.

Answer (James Cleverly)

Iran's human rights record continues to be of serious concern to the UK. We remain deeply concerned by Iran's failure to uphold its international legal obligations. The continued use of the death penalty, weak rule of law and restrictions on freedoms of expression are deeply worrying. It remains a long-standing policy of the United Kingdom to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. While we have not made representations on these particular cases, the UK regularly raises human rights with the Iranian authorities at all levels. We unreservedly support the right to peaceful protest, and we continue to take action with the international community to press Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues.


Written Question
Iran: Nuclear Power
10 Jul 2020, 5:25 p.m.

Questioner: Gary Sambrook

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the viability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action of Iran’s refusal to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to access locations related to nuclear activity.

Answer (James Cleverly)

On 25 June, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors adopted a resolution tabled by the E3 in response to Iran's denial of IAEA access to two sites which were under investigation as part of Iran's implementation of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol. In denying access, Iran is not adhering to its legally binding safeguards obligations. The resolution reinforced the mandate of the IAEA Director General to continue his investigation, and sent a clear message to Iran that it should cooperate fully with the IAEA. This investigation is separate to Iran's non-compliance under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

The Foreign Secretary made clear in his statement with France and Germany on 19 June that we remain committed to ensuring that Iran never develops a nuclear weapon. Iran's reductions in compliance with the JCPoA raise serious proliferation concerns, which is why the UK, with France and Germany, triggered the JCPoA's Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM) on 14 January 2020. We want to use the DRM to resolve these concerns. The UK continues to work closely with all JCPoA parties to find a diplomatic way forward.


Written Question
Overseas Aid
10 Jul 2020, 5:22 p.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the allocation and spending of Official Development Assistance is (a) allocated and spent transparently and (b) used for the primary purpose of tackling poverty and working towards (i) ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 and (ii) other global goals.

Answer (James Cleverly)

To tackle poverty and advance our Global Britain objectives, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes evidence-based spending decisions. The FCO is fully committed to transparency and publishes on GOV.UK all the information on Official Development Assistance (ODA) that can be released whilst safeguarding UK national security, diplomatic relations and individual's personal information. Further details on how the FCO allocates ODA funding, and the priorities it supports, can be found on .GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/official-development-assistance-oda--2.


Written Question
Egypt: Torture
10 Jul 2020, 5:16 p.m.

Questioner: Preet Kaur Gill

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Egyptian counterpart on the alleged use of torture to obtain confessions from detainees in that country.

Answer (James Cleverly)

We are concerned about reports of torture and mistreatment in detention in Egypt and continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities. We have raised these concerns in public, through the UN Human Rights Council and through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Human Rights Priority Country reports, and in private in meetings with Egyptian Government representatives in London and in Cairo.


Written Question
China: Uighurs
10 Jul 2020, 2:28 p.m.

Questioner: Richard Thomson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Chinese Government on upholding religious freedoms in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of that country.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

On 30 June, the UK read out a statement on behalf of 27 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting concerns about human rights violations in Xinjiang and urging China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised the same concerns with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.


Written Question
Democracy and Human Rights
10 Jul 2020, 2:26 p.m.

Questioner: Thangam Debbonaire

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, when his Department next plans to publish the annual report on human rights and democracy abroad.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

We intend to publish the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2019 Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report before Parliament rises for the summer recess.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Staff
10 Jul 2020, 1:04 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to retain staff expertise and experience of working directly with local communities held within the Department for International Development when that Department is merged with his Department.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The Department for International Development (DFID) has amassed world class expertise and all of its people can take pride in how they have helped transform hundreds of millions of lives around the world. Merging the departments will mean changes for how teams are structured and some roles and responsibilities will change, but there will be no compulsory redundancies. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will remain at the heart of the new department - taking forward the work of UK aid which will remain central to the mission of the new department.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
10 Jul 2020, 1:03 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) the Secretary of State for International Development had with (i) NGOs, (ii) aid recipients, (iii) local in-country representatives and (iv) other key stakeholders before the announcement of 16 June 2020 to merge his Department with the Department for International Development.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The Government continues to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including UK and international Non-Governmental Organisations, on issues relating to the merger. The Prime Minister has concluded that in the next decade, international issues will be even more important to the lives of our citizens and our own national interest; that the world will become even more complex and competitive, with growing, interconnected challenges and opportunities for the UK; and that therefore we need a new all-of-government approach if we are to secure our values and interests in a changing world.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Overseas Aid
10 Jul 2020, 1:01 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Dan Poulter

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to ensure that official development assistance is spent effectively on tackling poverty and gender inequalities after the merger of his Department and the Department for International Development.

Answer (James Duddridge)

Spending 0.7 percent of our national income on aid is enshrined in law. The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 also makes a consideration of gender equality in all UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement, ensuring that gender equality remains at the heart of our work.

The Prime Minister is committed to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on gender equality and poverty. We will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction. As the Prime Minister has said, the work of UK aid to reduce poverty will remain central to the new Department's mission.


Written Question
British Overseas Territories: Coronavirus
10 Jul 2020, 12:49 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Randall of Uxbridge

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) financial, and (2) other, assistance they have offered each of the UK Overseas Territories as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Answer (Baroness Sugg)

The safety and security of those in the British Overseas Territories (OTs) is a UK Government priority. Multiple government departments, led by DFID and the FCO, have been working with OT Governments to respond to the pandemic.

It is first and foremost for the OTs to make full use of their financial resources in order to address their needs. The UK Government will consider requests for further support/funding on a case-by-case basis. All UK financial support is subject to robust governance and needs assessments.

To address immediate healthcare, access and security needs, FCO has reallocated £15m of 2020/21 CSSF and £5m of 2020/21 International Programme funds to COVID-19 support. DFID is providing an initial £10m from its budget to mitigate immediate non-health impacts in the three ODA-eligible OTs, and has earmarked an additional £20m to mitigate short to medium term impacts of the outbreak on these OTs.

To date, the UK Government has procured and delivered medical supplies to all the inhabited OTs (except Pitcairn, which has had no confirmed cases of COVID-19), delivered testing systems to 6 territories and boosted testing capabilities in three other OTs. Health professionals from Public Health England are providing advice and support to each OT, and the Government has supported OTs to recruit medical personnel.

MoD and Home Office have provided in-territory security support to Turks and Caicos Islands through a Security Assistance Team and an additional 29 military personnel have reinforced TCI's Maritime Police Unit to counter illegal migration. A further Security Assistance Team is supporting the Cayman Islands to assist planning on security, logistics, COVID-19 and hurricane response. RFA ARGUS arrived in the Caribbean earlier than planned to provide support to the OTs during the hurricane season; she could also provide support for COVID-19 impacts if required.

The UK Government has arranged four flights to the Caribbean, including two paid for by the Cayman Islands Government, and a flight to the South Atlantic, flying residents of the Overseas Territories home from the UK as well as repatriating British Citizens and other nationalities from the Bahamas, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Cayman Islands and St Helena. The Government has also repatriated people from Ascension and the Falkland Islands using regular RAF flights.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Australia and Canada
9 Jul 2020, 5:28 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what conversations he has had with his (a) Australian and (b) Canadian counterparts on the merger the of the Department for International Development with his Department.

Answer (James Duddridge)

We will learn from the examples of Australia and Canada, who run generous and respected development programmes from their foreign ministries. There are lessons we can draw from the experiences of other countries, but ultimately we will do this in a way that works best for the UK.


Written Question
Baltic States: Coronavirus
9 Jul 2020, 5:08 p.m.

Questioner: Alberto Costa

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing a travel corridor between the UK and (a) Latvia and (b) other Baltic States as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

A list of countries and territories from which passengers arriving in England will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days was published on 3 July. This follows the Government's first review of public health measures at the border, which were introduced in June 2020. The Government has always been clear that any decisions on border measures will be proportionate and science-led.

We are continuing to engage with all partners on all aspects of the global response to the Coronavirus pandemic.


Written Question
Chechnya: LGBT People
9 Jul 2020, 4:56 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Percy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of risk for LGBT people in Chechnya.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

We remain deeply concerned about the continuing persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya. Persecution for being LGBT, anywhere in the world, is abhorrent. As we state in our Travel Advice, there are credible reports of arrest, torture and extrajudicial killing of LGBT people in Chechnya.

In December 2018 the UK was one of 16 countries to invoke the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism, requiring an independent OSCE investigation. The OSCE Moscow Mechanism's independent 2018 report confirmed allegations of serious human rights violations in Chechnya against LGBT people and other groups including unlawful detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings. We continue to urge Russia to implement the recommendations made in the Moscow Mechanism report and to end the climate of impunity for human rights abusers in Chechnya.

We continue to raise our concerns about the persecution of LGBT people in Chechnya with the Russian Government at all levels. On 17 June 2020, I raised this with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Titov.


Written Question
Uighurs: Conflict, Stability and Security Fund
9 Jul 2020, 12:10 p.m.

Questioner: Alicia Kearns

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to use the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund to trace missing family members of the Uighur community on a similar basis to that previously used in Syria.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund does not operate in China. The Government nevertheless remains committed to promoting the human rights of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. On 30 June, the UK read out a statement on behalf of 27 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting concerns about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions in Xinjiang. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised the same concerns with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Departmental Responsibilities
9 Jul 2020, 12:08 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure the Disability Inclusion Strategy and Strategic Vision for Gender Equality frameworks are embedded and implemented in the work of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Answer (Wendy Morton)

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of this Government's mission, and vital to fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. This government is committed to supporting a long-term movement for change on the neglected global issue of disability inclusion. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to these agendas.

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, and will define the Government's ambition for the UK's role in the world. The Integrated Review's outcomes will shape the objectives of the FCDO. Both the Review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister's commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on disability and gender equality.

As part of the merger discussions, we will review, refresh, and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate. We do not see the core ambitions of the Department For International Department's Strategic Vision for Gender Equality or Disability Inclusion Strategy changing. The challenges for the advancement of girls' education, sexual and reproductive health and rights, women's political empowerment, women's economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls, and supporting people with disabilities are as acute now, if not more so, as when the strategy was published in 2018.


Written Question
Israeli Settlements
8 Jul 2020, 5:14 p.m.

Questioner: Owen Thompson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to respond to the Israeli annexation of the West Bank since his statement on 31 January 2020.

Answer (James Cleverly)

As the Prime Minister made clear in the House of Commons on 16 June, we are concerned by reports that the new Israeli Government coalition has reached an agreement which may pave the way for annexation of parts of the West Bank. I reiterated this as our position in a statement to the UN Security Council on 24 June. Any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law. The United Kingdom will not recognise any unilateral attempt to change the border. Such a step would go against the rules-based international order and the UN Charter. We urge Israel to reconsider. The Prime Minister did so in an article in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on 1 July.


Written Question
Hong Kong: National Security
8 Jul 2020, 5:08 p.m.

Questioner: Stephen Kinnock

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he plans to have with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong on the powers bestowed on her under the new National Security legislation to appoint judges to hear national security cases.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

As the Foreign Secretary said in Parliament on 1 July, the enactment by China of the national security law for Hong Kong is a grave and deeply disturbing step. The law's imposition on the people of Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Joint Declaration. We are particularly concerned by the provision for Hong Kong's Chief Executive, rather than the Chief Justice, to appoint judges to hear national security cases.

On 1 July, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office summoned the Chinese Ambassador to make clear the UK's deep concern at China's actions. Our Consul General in Hong Kong has also raised our concerns about the legislation with members of the Executive Council Hong Kong. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Chinese State Councillor and Minister for Foreign affairs, Wang Yi on 8 June. We will continue to raise our concerns with both the Governments of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.


Written Question
Operation Blue Star
8 Jul 2020, 5:07 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has for an inquiry to establish the extent of the UK Government's involvement in the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

We fully appreciate the importance many people attach to information concerning the events at the Golden Temple in 1984. The Heywood review of 2014 worked specifically to establish facts about the UK advice and assistance to the Indian Government. It concluded that UK assistance was advisory, ended several months before the operation, and had limited impact on the tragic events that followed. The Government has concluded that there is no basis to challenge the conclusions of the 2014 review.


Written Question
Israel: Palestinians
8 Jul 2020, 5:06 p.m.

Questioner: Sara Britcliffe

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to help secure peace between Israel and Palestine.

Answer (James Cleverly)

The UK's longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees. We continue to work closely with international partners strongly advocating a two-state solution and encouraging a return to meaningful negotiations. The Foreign Secretary did so most recently in a meeting with French and German Foreign Ministers on 19 June. The Foreign Secretary also discussed the Middle East Peace Process and our opposition to the unilateral annexation of territory during calls with Alternate Israeli Prime Minister Gantz on 20 May and Israeli Foreign Minister Ashkenazi on 2 June.


Written Question
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office: Overseas Aid
8 Jul 2020, 5:05 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Lisa Cameron

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to (a) maintain the current level of parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget and (b) ensure departmental accountability to UK taxpayers after the merger of his Department and the Department for International Development.

Answer (James Duddridge)

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be accountable to Parliament and to taxpayers for how it spends UK aid. The form this takes is a matter for Parliament. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget.


Written Question
Operation Blue Star
8 Jul 2020, 4:54 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proportion of the documents published in relation to the 1984 Amritsar massacre contain redacted information.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The information is not readily available, nor held centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Operation Blue Star
8 Jul 2020, 4:54 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proportion of Government documents relating to the 1984 Amritsar massacre has been put into the public domain.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The information is not readily available, nor held centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.


Written Question
British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus
8 Jul 2020, 4:49 p.m.

Questioner: Luke Pollard

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish a breakdown of the expenditure of the £75 million announced as part of the partnership between Government and airlines to repatriate stranded British travellers during the covid-19 pandemic.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

The Government has committed up to £75 million to help thousands of British travellers return home and this work is ongoing. A proportion of this commitment has been spent to date across the repatriation effort - not only directly on the transport required to get people home - including charter flights to the UK - but also the costs of ground transport and internal flights to get people to the departure airport. As with all spend, we are committed to ensuring value of money for the taxpayer. Work continues to help British travellers get home, and we are retaining the capacity and capability to stand up further charter flights if necessary. Provision of a detailed breakdown at this point would impact ongoing and future tenders for charter flights and include currently commercially sensitive information.


Written Question
China: Prosperity Fund
8 Jul 2020, 4:46 p.m.

Questioner: Stephen Kinnock

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how much funding has been allocated to China through the UK Prosperity Fund.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

All information on FCO ODA spending is available at GOV.UK link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/official-development-assistance-oda-fco-prosperity-fund-spend


Written Question
British Nationals Abroad: Coronavirus
8 Jul 2020, 4:44 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will publish a list of countries from which the Government organised chartered flights to repatriate British travellers abroad who were stranded due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Nigel Adams)

Helping British travellers who need and want to return to the UK is one of the Government's highest priorities. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open. We have brought home over 38,000 people on 186 special charter flights organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, China, Peru, Tunisia, Ghana, Algeria, Ecuador/Bolivia, Cayman Islands (via Bermuda/Bahamas), Philippines, Nepal, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Eritrea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, New Zealand, Bermuda, Fiji, Cayman/Turks & Caicos, Honduras/Colombia, Jamaica, Argentina/Guyana, DRC/Cameroon, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda, Cote d'Ivoire/Guinea, Liberia/Cape Verde, Eastern Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Montserratm Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, British Virgin Islands) and Andes (Chile-Ecuador-UK).