House of Lords written question – answered on 10th January 2012.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 13 December (WA 256), through what mechanisms they work closely with other European Union member states to address human rights issues; and whether those issues could be raised within the structure of the United Kingdom-Turkey strategic partnership.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

Our embassy in Ankara participates in the twice yearly meeting on the European Union (EU) Human Rights Defenders strategy for Turkey and in regular EU co-ordination meetings on human rights related projects. Our embassy contributed to two joint projects, on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and on refugee interpreter training. Our embassy also attends regular monthly meetings with "likeminded" embassies, including the EU Commission and EU member states. These meetings focus exclusively on human rights issues and have led directly to the co-funding of human rights-related projects.

The Government also contribute to the EU's Instrument for Pre-Accession fund. In 2010 the UK Probation Service undertook a project in Turkey to help the Turkish authorities improve Turkish probationary procedures.

The UK-Turkey strategic partnership provides an overall framework for the relationship between the UK and Turkey. We will continue to encourage Turkey to make further progress in improving its overall human rights record.

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