Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:51 pm on 29th July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Smith of Newnham Baroness Smith of Newnham Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence) 5:51 pm, 29th July 2020

My Lords, like other Members who have spoken, I welcome these regulations. However, along with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Judge, I have some reservations. The Minister pre-empted one issue I would have raised, about co-operation with other countries. The Government may seek to have a global Britain and vaunt the idea of having the first autonomous sanctions regime, but it is important that sanctions are imposed jointly with other countries where possible.

I would be interested in the Minister’s thoughts about the scope and facilities the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as it will named in future, will have in order to deal with the cases that could be brought forward. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, has asked, we need to know when people can submit evidence. Has the Foreign Office considered the ramifications and amount of work that could be coming forward? We have already heard this evening of cases in Zimbabwe, China, Colombia, and there are many others. We are looking at issues perhaps against individuals, against non-state actors, or as my noble friend Lord Bruce, said, the Kremlin. Will the Minister tell us what resources the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has to deal with this? Are mechanisms in place to have the sort of engagement with our European and Five Eyes partners to enable us to work effectively? It is important we have this regime and that Her Majesty’s Government pay as much attention as possible to human rights questions.

Finally, how far might the Government be willing to consider the situation of the Uighurs in China? This is a major issue and I understand the Minister is not able to speculate on specific cases. However, a general response would be welcome.