Colombia

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 12th February 2015.

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Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Labour, Bradford South

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2014 to Question 210574, what assessment his Department has undertaken to ensure that the Colombian army units receiving British military training have not committed and will not commit human rights abuses against Colombian civilians.

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

Holding answer received on 11 February 2015

Ministry of Defence (MOD) has clear guidelines in place to ensure that Colombian army units receiving British military training have not and will not commit human rights abuses against civilians. This includes carrying out Overseas Security and Justice Assistance assessments where applicable and liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to ensure MOD's activity is in line with our international obligations. In addition we make regular representations to the Colombian government on human rights, reflecting the UK's deep commitment in this area. The former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and the Deputy Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr Clegg) both raised human rights with President Santos during their separate visits to Colombia in February 2014. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) also raised human rights with the Colombian government when he visited in June 2014. In all meetings the President's commitment to zero tolerance of human rights abuses was welcomed while also underlining the importance of taking action on threats to human rights defenders and trade unionists.

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