Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:14 pm on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Loomba Lord Loomba Crossbench 6:14 pm, 29th July 2020

My Lords, this is a welcome move by the Government, as laid out by the Foreign Secretary in the other place. It is right that we target human rights abuses by preventing perpetrators from availing themselves of our country’s facilities while carrying out horrendous crimes in their own country. The Minister said previously in this House:

“The new sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new tool in order to hold to account those who are involved in serious human rights violations or abuses.”—[Official Report, 8/7/20; col. 1143.]

He described some of the issues it would be concerned with, such as

“modern slavery, human trafficking, preventing sexual violence and freedom of religion.”—[Official Report, 8/7/20; col. 1150.]

If such abuses are suspected, and I have no doubt they are going on all over the world, can the Minister explain how the Government will identify such people or organisations and prove that they have committed such crimes? How will the Government ensure that we maintain justice and the rule of law, especially upholding the principle of innocent until proven guilty, if we must prove guilt or, indeed, investigate crimes in another country? Who will have the ultimate responsibility for overseeing the regulations and maintaining fairness and justice?