Overseas Aid

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

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will continue to provide aid, both directly and indirectly, to countries that deny basic human rights.

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, 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.

The majority of UK Aid is provided to countries indirectly, through multi-lateral agencies or non-governmental agencies. This provision is essential to lifting millions out of poverty, to preventing unnecessary deaths through disease or inadequate medical treatment, and getting children into school.

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