Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that over 500 people have been sentenced to between one month and one year in prison in Myanmar since late March for violating movement-control orders.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the briefing by the Secretary General of the UN COVID-19 and Human Rights: We are all in this together, published on 23 April, what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar about ensuring that curfews and physical-distancing directives aimed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are not exploited by security forces to exercise arbitrary and discriminatory detention of civilians.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar about the protection of religious minorities, including in relation to the arrest of five Christian pastors in Yangon and 12 Muslims in Mandalay, who were reportedly deemed as breaking COVID-19 curfews when praying at home.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Department for International Development
Burma: Humanitarian Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much, in total, the UK has provided in aid funding for humanitarian assistance to Burmese Chin refugees in Malaysia and Delhi.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Internally Displaced People
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Myanmar about protecting Chin villagers displaced by the conflict in Southern Chin State and Rakhine State; and what steps they have taken to ensure that Chin internally displaced persons receive urgent humanitarian assistance.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 03 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the announcement by the government of Myanmar of a four-month ceasefire by the military from 10 May until 31 August in order to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 not applying to Rakhine and Chin States.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Syria: Sanctions
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 13 May (HL Deb, col 681), what assessment they have made of the compatibility of the continuing prohibition on sales of dual use goods such as disinfectants and nitrous oxide for anaesthetics to the Syrian Ministry of Health with the exemption of medical supplies used for humanitarian purposes from sanctions on that country.
A
Answered on: 02 June 2020

EU Syria sanctions do not prohibit the sale, supply, transfer, export or finance of disinfectants, nitrous oxide and other goods required to combat Covid-19. Certain goods and their components can be used for internal repression, including through chemical attacks, and are therefore subject to prohibitions but even in those cases, humanitarian exemptions enable them to be sold or exported where the end user has demonstrated that the goods will be used to deliver humanitarian relief and will not be transferred to a designated person or entity. The Syrian Ministry of Health is not designated in the EU Syria sanctions. Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with UK legislation and the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. On 12 May, the European Commission issued guidance on the humanitarian exemptions to the Syria sanctions regulations to support humanitarian organisations.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Home Office
Offences Against Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 14 May 2019 (HL Deb, col 90GC), what steps they have taken to ensure better data on the scale of child sexual abuse; and what progress they have made in establishing a national prevalence survey on child sexual abuse.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Education
Outdoor Education: Coroanvirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of their COVID-19 recovery strategy, they will enable (1) professional outdoor education, and (2) adventure holiday providers, to offer appropriately distanced and planned activities (a) for schools, and (b) in the school holidays.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Outdoor Education: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in developing their COVID-19 recovery strategy, what assessment they have made of the risks of cross-infection through outdoor education activities compared to activities delivered by the rest of the hospitality sector; and what assessment they have made of whether the outdoor education sector should be reopened as part of phase two of the recovery strategy.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nigeria: Crimes against Humanity
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about the findings of the report by Amnesty International ‘We dried our tears’: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria’s conflict, published on 27 May, that the Nigerian armed forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during their operations.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Department for International Development
Nigeria: Overseas Aid
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Amnesty International ‘We dried our tears’: Addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria’s conflict, published on 27 May; and what plans they have to ensure that any UK aid programmes in Nigeria encompass (1) psychosocial support for children, and (2) gender equality initiatives.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 02 June 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Nigeria: Crimes against Humanity and Human Rights
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria to encourage the (1) investigation, and (2) prosecution, of (a) war crimes, (b) crimes against humanity, and (c) other human rights abuses, committed by (i) Boko Haram, (ii) Islamic State West Africa Province, and (iii) Fulani militia.
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Department for International Development
Syria: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the relative burden falling on (1) NGOs, and (2) the Syrian government and its agencies, in managing the COVID-19 crisis in Syria, including in respect of the size of the (a) populations, and (b) geographic areas, they are supporting.
A
Answered on: 01 June 2020

In May 2020, the UN launched an appeal of $384 million to provide a multi sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic (health and non-health sectors) across the whole of Syria. There are currently 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Syrian Government-controlled areas, with three deaths. There have also been unconfirmed reports of infections in North West Syria, whilst the Self Administration governing North East Syria have confirmed six cases.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said on 19 May that despite these numbers, a risk of a wider spread is ever present and called for essential, sustained and impeded humanitarian access. The WHO has warned of an impending ‘explosion’ of cases and a possibly significant outbreak that will be difficult for the already weakened health system to manage after years of conflict.

We are particularly concerned for the welfare of Syrians in IDP camps, who due to poor, crowded living conditions, would be unable to maintain social distance. In areas not currently under Syrian Government control, it is essential that humanitarian access to life-saving services and humanitarian support is unhindered. This must be done in a way that does not increase the spread of the virus, including through support for renewal of the UN Security Council resolution on cross-border humanitarian assistance.

In Syria the UK is one of the leading donors supporting international efforts to deliver vital healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene activities; all of which help to mitigate the threat posed by COVID-19. The UK is monitoring the situation closely and working with humanitarian partners inside Syria to respond to the outbreak and to sustain life-saving services.

Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Azerbaijan: Military Exercises
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of Azerbaijan has been conducting large-scale military exercises along the borders with Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh; and what representations, if any, they intend to make to that government about such exercises.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 01 June 2020

The Government is aware of reports of military exercises being conducted in Azerbaijan by the country's military. As with the exercises of other countries in the region, we will continue to monitor this closely.

We are also aware of ongoing reports of ceasefire violations along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At this time of global crisis, the United Kingdom fully supports the UN Secretary General's call for an immediate global ceasefire in armed conflicts around the world. The United Kingdom would like to see a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and fully supports the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in achieving that. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly raises the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and will continue to do so.

Grouped Questions: HL4627
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 18 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Armenia: Azerbaijan
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Azerbaijani troops used large-calibre weapons to fire at Berkaber village in Armenia’s Tavush Province on 13 May.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 01 June 2020

The Government is aware of reports of military exercises being conducted in Azerbaijan by the country's military. As with the exercises of other countries in the region, we will continue to monitor this closely.

We are also aware of ongoing reports of ceasefire violations along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At this time of global crisis, the United Kingdom fully supports the UN Secretary General's call for an immediate global ceasefire in armed conflicts around the world. The United Kingdom would like to see a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and fully supports the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in achieving that. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly raises the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan, and will continue to do so.

Grouped Questions: HL4626
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burkina Faso: Terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Burkina Faso about protecting civilians displaced by terrorist activity, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The UK is deeply concerned by the ongoing reports of terrorist violence in Burkina Faso and the tragic consequences for the population. The number of displaced people due to instability continues to rise. As of March 2020, just under 800 000 people were recorded as displaced in Burkina Faso. The UK condemns the violence and is committed to working with all partners, including the G5 Sahel countries, to support those most in need and tackle the long-term drivers of instability in the region. In March, the Minister for Africa attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and G5 Leaders' Summit, where he reaffirmed the UK's commitment to improved security and increased development in the Sahel. We are also deeply concerned by reports of abuses and violations of human rights in Burkina Faso, including by armed groups and the Burkinabe security forces. We welcome the Government of Burkina Faso's commitment to investigate recent abuses and hold those responsible to account, including following the attack on Malian refugees on 2 May and the deaths of 12 detainees in mid-May.

The UK is supporting Burkina Faso by providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to those affected by the crisis. Over £23 million of UK humanitarian aid will go to Burkina Faso between 2019 and 2021, including to help tackle food insecurity and treat acute malnutrition.

We are also funding a number of programmes that help provide access to education in emergencies and support women's sexual and reproductive health. The UK is supporting the security response through non-combat assistance to the French-led counter-terrorism mission Operation BARKHANE, in the form of three CH47 chinook helicopters. The UK is also committed to helping the G5 Sahel Joint Force reach full operational capability - bilateral funding has gone towards the provision of non-lethal military equipment and support for the human rights compliance framework. In response to COVID-19, the UK has committed up to £744 million of UK aid to combat the virus and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. In the Sahel, the UK is seeking to make sure existing programmes adapt to new needs and is working with partners like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank to ensure that countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, get the support they need to respond to COVID-19 and manage its impact.

Grouped Questions: HL4356 | HL4357
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burkina Faso: Terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to protect the towns and villages in Burkina Faso that are now outside of state control because of terrorist activity.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The UK is deeply concerned by the ongoing reports of terrorist violence in Burkina Faso and the tragic consequences for the population. The number of displaced people due to instability continues to rise. As of March 2020, just under 800 000 people were recorded as displaced in Burkina Faso. The UK condemns the violence and is committed to working with all partners, including the G5 Sahel countries, to support those most in need and tackle the long-term drivers of instability in the region. In March, the Minister for Africa attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and G5 Leaders' Summit, where he reaffirmed the UK's commitment to improved security and increased development in the Sahel. We are also deeply concerned by reports of abuses and violations of human rights in Burkina Faso, including by armed groups and the Burkinabe security forces. We welcome the Government of Burkina Faso's commitment to investigate recent abuses and hold those responsible to account, including following the attack on Malian refugees on 2 May and the deaths of 12 detainees in mid-May.

The UK is supporting Burkina Faso by providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to those affected by the crisis. Over £23 million of UK humanitarian aid will go to Burkina Faso between 2019 and 2021, including to help tackle food insecurity and treat acute malnutrition.

We are also funding a number of programmes that help provide access to education in emergencies and support women's sexual and reproductive health. The UK is supporting the security response through non-combat assistance to the French-led counter-terrorism mission Operation BARKHANE, in the form of three CH47 chinook helicopters. The UK is also committed to helping the G5 Sahel Joint Force reach full operational capability - bilateral funding has gone towards the provision of non-lethal military equipment and support for the human rights compliance framework. In response to COVID-19, the UK has committed up to £744 million of UK aid to combat the virus and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. In the Sahel, the UK is seeking to make sure existing programmes adapt to new needs and is working with partners like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank to ensure that countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, get the support they need to respond to COVID-19 and manage its impact.

Grouped Questions: HL4332 | HL4357
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 12 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burkina Faso: Terrorism
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Burkina Faso about the reported continuation of terrorist violence in the Centre-Nord region and surrounding areas, including (1) holding perpetrators to account, and (2) providing humanitarian aid for victims.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 26 May 2020

The UK is deeply concerned by the ongoing reports of terrorist violence in Burkina Faso and the tragic consequences for the population. The number of displaced people due to instability continues to rise. As of March 2020, just under 800 000 people were recorded as displaced in Burkina Faso. The UK condemns the violence and is committed to working with all partners, including the G5 Sahel countries, to support those most in need and tackle the long-term drivers of instability in the region. In March, the Minister for Africa attended the first meeting of the Sahel Alliance General Assembly and G5 Leaders' Summit, where he reaffirmed the UK's commitment to improved security and increased development in the Sahel. We are also deeply concerned by reports of abuses and violations of human rights in Burkina Faso, including by armed groups and the Burkinabe security forces. We welcome the Government of Burkina Faso's commitment to investigate recent abuses and hold those responsible to account, including following the attack on Malian refugees on 2 May and the deaths of 12 detainees in mid-May.

The UK is supporting Burkina Faso by providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to those affected by the crisis. Over £23 million of UK humanitarian aid will go to Burkina Faso between 2019 and 2021, including to help tackle food insecurity and treat acute malnutrition.

We are also funding a number of programmes that help provide access to education in emergencies and support women's sexual and reproductive health. The UK is supporting the security response through non-combat assistance to the French-led counter-terrorism mission Operation BARKHANE, in the form of three CH47 chinook helicopters. The UK is also committed to helping the G5 Sahel Joint Force reach full operational capability - bilateral funding has gone towards the provision of non-lethal military equipment and support for the human rights compliance framework. In response to COVID-19, the UK has committed up to £744 million of UK aid to combat the virus and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. In the Sahel, the UK is seeking to make sure existing programmes adapt to new needs and is working with partners like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank to ensure that countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, get the support they need to respond to COVID-19 and manage its impact.

Grouped Questions: HL4332 | HL4356
Q
Asked by Baroness Cox
Asked on: 06 May 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Pakistan: Ahmadiyya
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan to end discrimination and persecution of Ahmadis.
A
Answered on: 21 May 2020

We engage at a senior level with the Pakistani Government on our concerns about the mistreatment of religious and ethnic groups, including Pakistanis from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. We are concerned by language that may incite violence against any religious or ethnic groups. As the Minister of State for South Asia with responsibility for human rights, I raised the UK's concerns about freedom of religion or belief and the protection of the Ahmadiyya community with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 27 February and with the Pakistan High Commissioner to the UK, Nafees Zakaria, on 12 May. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.

Grouped Questions: HL4166 | HL4167
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