Exiting the European Union (Sanctions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:10 pm on 9th April 2019.

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Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State 2:10 pm, 9th April 2019

I am not sure it would quite work in that way, but I am very happy to write to the hon. Gentleman with our understanding of what we think the parliamentary engagement would be in any such decision to either list or not to list. Given that this is the early stage of our implementing the Act, I hope he can accept that as my commitment to him for the time being.

Having mentioned the Burma sanctions, the Venezuela sanctions, which we have been debating a bit, will: encourage the Venezuelan Government to abide by democratic principles, if only they would; respect human rights and the rule of law; refrain from the repression of civil society; and bring about a peaceful solution to the political crisis in Venezuela. The Iran human rights regulations are designed to encourage the Government of Iran to comply with international human rights law and to respect human rights. The EU sanctions regime emerged partly in response to the Iranian Government’s treatment of protestors in demonstrations against election fraud in 2009. The EU sanctions regime targets those who have been involved in the commission of serious human rights violations or abuses in Iran. The EU sanctions regime on Guinea-Bissau was established in 2012 and targets those who played a leading role in its 2010 mutiny and 2012 coup. It is designed to curb actions that undermine the country’s peace, security or stability.

Hon. Members will note that human rights are a significant focus of the sanctions regime under consideration today. I hope I have adequately explained how the human rights element of the sanctions Act, the Magnitsky clause, will fit into the statutory instruments before us today. The four statutory instruments transfer into UK law well-established EU sanctions regimes that are in line with the UK’s foreign policy priorities. They encourage human rights compliance, the rule of law, and security and stability in very difficult environments. I re-emphasise the importance of putting them in place. If this does not happen before exit day in a no-deal scenario, the UK would not be able to continue to properly implement the measures they contain. Therefore, Mr Deputy Speaker, I commend the regulations to the House.