Oman: Shihuh Tribe

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society)

What discussions he has had with his Omani counterpart on the treatment of the minority Shihuh tribe in the Musandam region.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The Government are aware of the concern surrounding the imprisonment of members of the Shihuh tribe in Oman. Her Majesty’s ambassador has raised this with the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Muscat. We continue to monitor the matter closely and are exploring the allegations further. Discussions on human rights form part of our bilateral exchanges with our close ally and partner Oman, including at the recent joint working group on 25 April. I look forward to meeting the Omani ambassador for the first time next week to discuss a wide range of issues.

Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society)

I welcome the Minister to his place for his first Question Time. I am glad he is aware of the case of the Shihuh tribesmen from Musandam who have been given life sentences for something as trivial as communicating with human rights groups. Amnesty International has said that the convictions are “grossly unfair,” with credible claims that torture has been used to extract confessions. Will he undertake to speak to his Omani counterpart about this particular case and make it clear that the UK expects to see all citizens of Oman treated equally and fairly?

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. This Government take their obligations in respect of human rights extremely seriously. When speaking to our friends and allies, we make this point and share best practice all the time. As I said, I will be seeing the Omani ambassador shortly and have no doubt that we will discuss a range of issues. I suspect this case may form part of that discussion.