Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:22 pm on 29th July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour 6:22 pm, 29th July 2020

My Lords, having been involved in human rights issues and working for NGOs both at DfID—which the Government are now shamefully abolishing—and now at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, I strongly support this SI.

I remind the House that the Council of Europe, not the European Union, has always been the principal body focusing on human rights in Europe. Its remit is human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and its membership extends to the 47 countries of Europe, including Russia, not just EU members. Many of the key issues represented in these regulations—media freedom, combating modern slavery, preventing sexual violence in or related to conflict, freedom of religion and belief, torture prevention and the protection of human rights defenders—are regularly covered in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolutions and discussions in our committees. The council has agreed resolutions on the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the ruthless violence against the Rohingya population in Myanmar, and we have raised the Magnitsky issue. It is therefore welcome that many of those involved in these atrocities are included in these regulations.

In supporting what so many have said in this debate, I ask the Government that those who have persecuted the Uyghur people of China should also be included. I hope the Minister will give us a hint, at least, in that direction.

Finally, when considering future designations, will the Government consider seeking the advice of the Intelligence and Security Committee?