North Africa: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 3rd February 2011.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions his Department made representations to the governments of (a) Egypt, (b) Tunisia and (c) Algeria on human rights issues in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK holds annual Strategic Dialogues with Egypt and Algeria at which a range of issues of concern to both sides are discussed, including human rights. Crucially, at the third Strategic Dialogue with Egypt this January, we raised our concerns about the 2010 parliamentary elections, in particular about media restrictions and cases of electoral irregularities. The issue of human rights also forms part of ongoing discussions between our embassies and the host Governments in the three countries concerned.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), addressed the issue during his visit to Egypt in November last year and I have personally raised the subject of human rights during my recent visits to Algeria and Tunisia as well as in my meeting with the Tunisian ambassador to London following his arrival in October 2010.

At the European level, the issue of human rights has been a core component of negotiations with Tunisia with respect to its application for advanced status with the EU.

The UK actively raises human rights concerns in the UN, including in the Human Rights Council. In the case of Egypt, the UK raised its concerns during the adoption of Egypt's Universal Periodic Review in June 2010.

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