Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 2nd March 2015.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish all correspondence and documentation held or produced by his Department on how the Government's Overseas Justice and Assistance Human Rights Guidance would affect the decision to enter an agreement with Bahrain to establish a naval base in the Gulf; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of this decision with (a) international human rights treaties to which the UK is a party and (b) the promotion of human rights in Bahrain.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Holding answer received on 05 January 2015

The UK has had a naval presence in Bahrain since the 1950s which has supported naval patrols operating in and around the Gulf. Under the new arrangement signed by the Foreign Secretary in December 2014, the UK and Bahrain agreed to working together to enhance the existing facilities at the port. This arrangement is fully in accordance with the UK's international human rights obligations, which the Government takes extremely seriously.

The Government's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance (OSJA) is a tool to ensure that security and justice assistance provided by the UK to a government overseas meets our human rights obligations and values. The recent defence agreement does not involve the provision of assistance to Bahrain, and therefore no assessment was required.

However, the UK Government is supporting the government of Bahrain in its reform programme, including work to help Bahrain strengthen its human rights and justice sector, and all elements of this work that could have implications for human rights are subject to an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessment.

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