Overseas Aid

House of Lords written question – answered on 1 November 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 are shown to assassinate dissidents.

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

The Government use four partnership principles to ensure that the UK now only provides budget support directly to Governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to:

reduce poverty and achieve the millennium development goals; respect human rights and other international obligations;improve public financial management, promote good governance and transparency, and fight corruption, and;strengthen domestic accountability.

This Government take very seriously the treatment of opposition and dissidents by our partner countries. 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 may change the way that we provide aid so that the poorest and most marginalised do not suffer as a result.

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

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