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 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-4 out of 4
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: National Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the use of national conscripts, reported to be at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa's programme 'Reconnecting Eritrea and Ethiopia through rehabilitation of the main arterial roads in Eritrea'.
A
Answered on: 18 February 2020

UK support for the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa project, to reconnect Eritrea and Ethiopia through the rehabilitation of the main roads, is conditional on the EU working with the UN to monitor the treatment of national service workers implementing the project. The project, run by the Eritrean state-owned company Segen Engineering, will employ approximately 300 civilian National Service workers who will receive technical and health and safety training.

We are not aware of any reports of sexual or gender-based violence connected with this project or within the construction industry as a whole. DFID works closely with the European Union on our joint agenda to safeguard against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment. We will continue to review these specific concerns relating to Eritrean national service, and work with the EU to put further measures in place where we judge these are required.

Q
Asked on: 03 February 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Eritrea: National Service
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea's second report, published on 8 June 2016, that conscripts in Eritrea are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
A
Answered on: 13 February 2020

We are aware of claims by women who have left Eritrea that they were sexually abused at the National Service Military Training Centre in Sawa, and these concerns were raised during the Universal Periodic Review of Eritrea in January 2019. The UK is committed to tackling the scourge of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment and continues to call for reform of Eritrea's use of a system of universal and compulsory national service.

The Government of Eritrea has justified this service on grounds of the security threat posed by Ethiopia. Following the July 2018 peace agreement with Ethiopia we have yet to see any concrete proposals for reform. In July 2019, the Eritrean Government said that it would undertake a review of national service, but they gave no deadline for the review's completion.

At the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in July 2019, the UK renewed calls for Eritrea to reform the national service system, recognising that sustainable reform of national service needs to happen in tandem with an improved economic situation and job creation. We also raise human rights in Eritrea, both directly with the Government, as the former Minister for Africa did with the Eritrean President's senior adviser when she saw him in July 2019, and when the Head of East Africa Department, with our Ambassador in Asmara, saw the same advisor in November 2019.

Q
Asked on: 30 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Portia Management Services
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 22 January (HL306), whether they have asked Portia Management Services to end its business relationship with the Myanmar military.
A
Answered on: 10 February 2020

​Military and military linked companies are entrenched in the Myanmar economy. Relationships are often opaque and it can be extremely difficult to clearly identify ownership. Nevertheless we continue to urge individual companies to ensure that they are not dealing directly with military owned companies. Our Embassy has written to all British companies, including Portia Management Services, to stress the importance of undertaking robust due diligence. We will continue to offer advice and support to British businesses on responsible investment in Myanmar.

Q
Asked on: 13 January 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Ports
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, if any, with Portia Management Services about its management of TMT Port in Yangon, which is owned by the Burmese military controlled Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd.
A
Answered on: 22 January 2020

As the recent UN Fact Finding Mission report sets out, the Myanmar Military and companies linked to it are entrenched across the economy. Some of the relationships are opaque, and being clear about the precise details of ownership of a company or infrastructure is sometimes very difficult.

Following the publication of the UN Fact Finding Mission report, the British Embassy has met regularly with British companies, including Portia Management Services, and stressed the importance of undertaking robust due diligence.

We offer advice and support on working with responsible local partners and encourage all British companies to undertake their own due diligence on any investment projects.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-4 out of 4
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100