Overseas Aid

House of Lords written question – answered on 26th October 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their policy to impose sanctions on, or withdraw aid from, countries where abuse of minorities is permitted, in cases other than those in which the minority consists of gay persons.

Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Department for International Development)

The Government brought in new partnership principles in July this year to ensure that the UK now provides aid directly to Governments only when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to:

reduce poverty;respect human rights and other international obligations;improve public financial management;promote good governance and transparency; and fight corruption.

When we have specific concerns about a Government's failure to protect their citizens' rights, including those of minority groups, we raise these either directly or in conjunction with international partners at the highest levels of the Government concerned. We may judge that specific human rights concerns are sufficiently serious to merit a suspension of our financial assistance to the Government. If budget support is suspended, we make sure those funds are provided in alternative ways so that the poorest and most marginalised do not suffer as a result.

We work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure that UK concerns about the treatment of minority groups are registered at senior levels.

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