International Aid Transparency

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 3:23 pm on 13th November 2008.

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Photo of Andrew Mitchell Andrew Mitchell Shadow Secretary of State (Home Office) 3:23 pm, 13th November 2008

The Secretary of State is to be commended for his conversations with the noble Lord.

In stark contrast to the positive potential of economic changes, the most malignant factor among many that stop development working is conflict, along with bad governance, corruption and instability. These are what keep people mired in poverty and condemn them to a life of misery and fear.

In Burma, we have just witnessed the disgusting spectacle of 14 brave pro-democracy protestors being handed jail terms of up to 65 years for their part in last year's protests. I am sure that the whole House will want to express its solidarity with the people of Burma in their struggle for freedom and democracy. Last year, the Government agreed to increase British aid to Burma, after sustained pressure from leading NGOs and Opposition Members. Perhaps the Minister could update the House on how that aid is being spent and what it is achieving.

In Zimbabwe, millions of people are suffering at the hands of Mugabe and his henchmen. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, many across the Limpopo river into South Africa, and the economy is in ruins. It is clearly right that we should stand by the people of Zimbabwe, because otherwise they will lose out twice over: first, from having selfish and tyrannical leaders, and secondly, from a lack of much-needed support. What is DFID doing to support the people of Zimbabwe through the brave and determined NGOs on the ground, and what precautionary steps is it taking in the face of the looming food crisis there?

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a humanitarian crisis has seen many thousands of people driven from their homes in only the clothes that they were standing in.

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