Mosul

Oral Answers to Questions — International Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 2016.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Conservative, Salisbury 12:00 am, 16th November 2016

What steps the Government are taking to support the people of Mosul; and what plans her Department has for such support once the Iraqi-led counter-Daesh operation has concluded.

Photo of Craig Williams Craig Williams Conservative, Cardiff North

What steps the Government are taking to support the people of Mosul; and what plans her Department has for such support once the Iraqi-led counter-Daesh operation has concluded.

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

The UK is at the forefront of efforts to tackle Daesh and has led the way in supporting the Government of Iraq with humanitarian and stabilisation work as part of the response in Mosul. It is not enough simply to defeat Daesh on the battlefield; we have to ensure that we support the victims of barbarous regimes to get access to humanitarian support as events unfold in Mosul.

Photo of John Glen John Glen Conservative, Salisbury

In such a complex and sensitive environment, how will DFID use its leadership role to ensure that other aid providers work together and take a united approach, to maximise the effectiveness and value for money that we can achieve from investment in this critical area?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

My hon. Friend is right to highlight the issue not only of Mosul and stabilisation, but of the humanitarian response. DFID and the British Government are leading the way and working through our membership of the humanitarian country teams. We are working closely with the UN, donors, NGOs and, of course, the Iraqi and Kurdish Governments, to deliver a co-ordinated, targeted and effective response.

Photo of Craig Williams Craig Williams Conservative, Cardiff North

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s response to the urgent humanitarian needs. What are the UK Government doing to support the Government of Iraq in preparing for securing the peace and stabilising the city of Mosul once we get it back?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

Stabilising newly liberated areas and helping people to return to their homes in a safe and secure environment is a central priority of the Government of Iraq. We are working alongside them and the UN coalition. Britain’s support for the stabilisation efforts is helping the UN to clear lethal explosives, repair water supplies, restore power networks and reopen schools. Those stabilisation efforts have already helped more than 700,000 people to return home across Iraq.

Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee, Chair, International Development Committee

There is concern across the House about Daesh’s brutal treatment of minorities, including Yazidis and Christians. What approach will DFID take on that question, and will the Secretary of State speak to the Home Secretary about the potential for a medical evacuation or resettlement programme for Iraqi minorities, similar to that which we have for Syria?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the persecution of minorities by brutal regimes such as Daesh. He is also right to highlight the cross-Government approach that we have taken. I absolutely acknowledge his points. I will reflect on them and work with my colleagues across Government to pick up on them.

Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment)

Does the Secretary of State agree that women have a key role to play, and that we need to do whatever we can to support them? Women have been doing so much to help protect civil infrastructure in Syria. If the Government do not have a plan, will they kindly consider putting in place a women-specific plan?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

The hon. Lady is right to highlight the role of women. Not enough attention is given to the role that they play in peacekeeping and stabilisation. We hear much about the consequences of conflict for women, but they can play a significant role and that will be part of our ongoing dialogue with the Government of Iraq.

Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Shadow Minister (International Development)

As winter creeps in across Iraq, thousands are expected to be exposed to temperatures close to zero as they flee for their life from Mosul. This is the worst time for the UNHCR to experience a funding shortfall in its winter assistance plan. What steps is the Secretary of State taking to guarantee that the UK and others meet their humanitarian obligations and address that shortfall?

Photo of Priti Patel Priti Patel The Secretary of State for International Development

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to raise not only the humanitarian issue, but the contributions required. The UK’s efforts are meeting in full our commitments to Iraq. The hon. Gentleman will recall that, at the UN General Assembly, we were the first, in terms of our pledges and commitment, for preparedness before the operation in Mosul. On the question of what more can be done, I and other colleagues in the donor community need to step up. I constantly engage with the donor community, pressing for a greater sense of urgency in getting funds, preparing for winter and, importantly, ensuring that shelter, food and emergency equipment are put in place sooner rather than later.