Parliamentary Replies – February 2015 – Sudan; Darfur; South Kordofan; Burma; Freedom of Belief.


Questions asked by David Alton :

Baroness Northover, the Department for International Development, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4385):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government when officials from the Department for International Development, the European Union or United Nations agencies last had access to conflict areas of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur; how many displaced people are estimated to be located in Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains; and how many refugees and people displaced by conflict in the Republic of Sudan and South Sudan are estimated to be in camps inside and outside these countries. (HL4385)

Tabled on: 23 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Northover:

United Nations agencies operate in all five states of Darfur and Government held areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. DFID and ECHO travel regularly to these states (with the exception of South Kordofan) to monitor programmes. The Government routinely denies humanitarian access to areas of active conflict where needs are often greatest. Humanitarian access from Sudan to opposition held areas of Blue Nile and South Kordofan has been blocked by the Government since 2012.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are 3.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sudan, 1,470,000 of these live in IDP camps in Darfur. There are 540,000 IDPs in the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, with a fifth of these living in non-government controlled areas. There are an estimated 625,000 Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries. In South Sudan, there are around 1.5 million IDPs and 500,000 South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries, including 120,000 in Sudan

Date and time of answer: 03 Feb 2015 at 15:27.

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Baroness Northover, the Department for International Development, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4386):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children living in Sudanese internally displaced persons (IDP) camps are estimated to be receiving education; how many schools are known to be occupied by armed militias or IDPs; what reports they have received of forced marriage, rape, and gender-based violence in camps such as Maban refugee camp; what access women in those camps have to medical services and psychosocial support; and how many pregnant women are estimated by the United Nations Population Fund to be in need of urgent care, and to be at risk of dying because of complications, respectively. (HL4386)

Tabled on: 23 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Northover:

According to OCHA, less than 60 per cent of children in almost two thirds of localities in Darfur have access to basic education. Over half of all primary school aged girls in West Darfur and 45 per cent in South Darfur do not attend school. In Sudan, the UK supports education projects through the Common Humanitarian Fund. In 2013-14, CHF funded projects reached 223,000 people across Sudan, the majority of which were children in conflict affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Recent insecurity and displacement in both Sudan and South Sudan have led to a further increase in women’s vulnerability and risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) although there is a poor reporting of incidents. In Maban refugee camp in South Sudan, there were 316 SGBV incidents reported in 2014. Domestic violence remains the most widespread type of incident in the camp, accounting for 59% of all reported cases, followed by forced marriage (11%), rape (9%) and attempted rape (5%). Women in Maban refugee camp access SGBV prevention and response services including counselling, case management and psychosocial support. The UK supports the provision of these services through the UNHCR.

UNFPA estimates that around 44,211 women in IDP camps in Darfur are pregnant and in need of safe motherhood services. An estimated 6,632 pregnant women are expected to develop a potentially life-threatening complication during pregnancy or at the time of delivery, and may require a Caesarean section.

Date and time of answer: 03 Feb 2015 at 15:26.

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Baroness Northover, the Department for International Development, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4406):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) cases, and (2) deaths, in Sudanese refugee camps have been reported by the World Health Organisation of (a) cholera, (b) malaria, (c) malnutrition, and (d) diarrhoeal diseases; how many people have been killed by violence since December 2013 in Sudan and South Sudan; how many people living in areas of conflict in Sudan and South Sudan are projected to be in crisis or emergency phases of food insecurity; how many are estimated to be in urgent need of humanitarian assistance; and what percentage of internally displaced persons are estimated to live in flood-prone areas. (HL4406)

Tabled on: 26 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Northover:

There is no official figure for how many people have been killed by violence in Sudan and South Sudan. In South Sudan, the International Crisis Group (ICG), estimates that at least 50,000 people have been killed since conflict broke out in December 2013.

The UN currently estimates that 5.4 million people need humanitarian assistance in Sudan in 2015. In South Sudan it is projected that 2.5 million conflict affected people will be in crisis or emergency phases of food insecurity during January to March 2015.

In Sudan, 871,160 IDPs live in flood-prone areas, constituting 28% of the total IDP population.

Date and time of answer: 03 Feb 2015 at 15:25.

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Lord Bates, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4384):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Baroness Northover on 13 January (HL Deb, col 652) and the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 21 January (HL4111) what is the difference between the 3,800 “Syrian nationals and their dependents” to whom they say they have given sanctuary and the 90 people whom they say were relocated to the United Kingdom under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme; what is meant by the phrase “given sanctuary”; how many of those given sanctuary were invited to the United Kingdom; how many came under their own steam; how many of the 3,800 Syrians have been given asylum or granted re-settlement; how many arrived in the United Kingdom before the present disturbances; and how many refugees in the United Kingdom are from Iraq or other parts of the Middle East region. (HL4384)

Tabled on: 23 January 2015

Answer: Lord Bates:

The latest published figures show that between April 2011 and the end of September 2014, a total of 3,468 Syrians were granted protection in the United Kingdom. This number represents those people who have claimed asylum in the United Kingdom, and includes those who have left Syria since the onset of the crisis, as well as those already residing in the United Kingdom who are unable to return safely. It is not possible to break the data down further to show how many people have arrived in the UK since the onset of the crisis, as opposed to those who were already residing in the UK.

The 90 people who were relocated under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) between March 2014 and end of September 2014 are in addition to the number quoted above. Potential beneficiaries of the scheme are referred to us from Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt by UNHCR on the basis of vulnerability.

The next set of asylum and VPRS statistics will be published on 26 February.

The phrase ‘given sanctuary’ is defined as those given protection by the United Kingdom. The table below shows the number of people from the Middle East who have been granted a form of protection or other leave after claiming asylum in the UK. It includes those granted asylum, discretionary leave, humanitarian protection, as well as other grants outside these three categories. The data also include dependents.

Q2 2011 – Q3 2014

Country Grants

Syria 3,468

Bahrain 108

Iran 4,472

Iraq 421

Israel 5

Jordan 3

Kuwait 111

Lebanon 27

Oman 0

Occupied

Palestinian

Territories 123

Qatar 1

Saudi Arabia 35

UAE 4

Yemen 72

Date and time of answer: 05 Feb 2015 at 14:08.

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4439):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on human rights and religious liberties of Burma’s new Religious Conversion Bill and of other new bills in that country aimed at the protection of race and religion and which focus on restricting inter-faith marriage, monogamy and population control; and what representations they have made to the government of Burma on the matter. (HL4439)

Tabled on: 27 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

Restrictions on interfaith marriage, religious conversion and population growth are currently being debated in the Burmese parliament. We are concerned that, if enacted, these laws could harm religious tolerance and respect for diversity in Burma, and contravene international standards and treaties to which Burma is a signatory.

We have voiced our concerns over this proposed legislation to members of the Burmese government and to Burmese parliamentarians. Most recently, Minister of State at the Home Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), raised the issue when she met Deputy Foreign Minister Thant Kyaw during her visit to Burma in January. The UK also endorsed a statement issued by EU Heads of Mission in Rangoon in January reiterating those concerns and calling on the Burmese government and parliament to ensure that all new legislation is fully compliant with Burma’s international human rights obligations. We will continue to raise this issue in our dealings with the Burmese authorities, both in public and in private.

Date and time of answer: 05 Feb 2015 at 15:23.

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4407):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report and recommendations of the All Party Group for Sudan and South Sudan, launched on 21 January, “Bridging the Gaps: Lessons from International Engagement with South Sudan 2011–2014”. (HL4407)

Tabled on: 26 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

We welcome the All Party Group’s report on South Sudan as a valuable and thorough contribution on an important subject. Officials are studying the detailed recommendations. Our most immediate priority remains securing peace and the formation of an inclusive transitional government that is willing to address long-term issues, and – supported by the international community – to engage widely, deeply and consistently with the people of South Sudan.

Date and time of answer: 02 Feb 2015 at 16:27.

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4408):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of (1) violence in Sudan and South Sudan over the past three months, (2) reports of aerial bombardment of civilian populations, (3) the provision of arms, (4) the number of children recruited into militias, (5) the report by the United Nations Security Council of crimes committed against children, and (6) the number of unaccompanied and separated children identified by UNICEF since the conflict began. (HL4408)

Tabled on: 26 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

Since the end of the rainy season we have noted an increase in fighting in both Sudan and South Sudan. We are deeply concerned at aerial bombings in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile) of Sudan, and have condemned the recent attack on a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres. Recent evidence of violations of the UN arms embargo in Darfur will inform our approach to upcoming discussions on the renewal of the mandate for the sanctions regime. EU arms embargoes continue to remain in place on both countries.

Children continue to be seriously affected by the conflicts in both countries, and we are particularly concerned by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) estimates that since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013 almost 7,000 children have been separated from their families and 12,000 used by armed groups in South Sudan alone. South Sudan attended the UK-led roundtable on Children and Armed Conflict in New York in September 2014, and we agree with the Secretary General’s recommendation in his report of 11 December 2014 that the Government of South Sudan should develop and implement a strategy for the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of children. As we highlighted in last year’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights Report, the Government of Sudan is also yet to fully implement their Child Act (enacted in 2010), which prohibits recruitment of children to armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas.

Date and time of answer: 02 Feb 2015 at 16:23.

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4409):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report of the assassination of a number of professors from the University of Mosul because of their opposition to Daash. (HL4409)

Tabled on: 26 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

We are aware of reports that the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has killed a number of professors from Mosul University. We are horrified by the atrocities that ISIL continues to commit and strongly condemn all abuses and human rights violations. We continue to encourage the new Iraqi government to ensure the protection of all citizens, promote human rights, reassert the rule of law and bring to justice those responsible for all violations and abuses. The UK is committed to a comprehensive, long-term strategy, as part of a global coalition, to degrade and defeat ISIL.

Date and time of answer: 02 Feb 2015 at 16:22.

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL4410):

Question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of India about the reported killings in 2014 of Christians and reported assaults on priests, pastors and leaders of Christian communities in acts of religious hatred. (HL4410)

Tabled on: 26 January 2015

Answer: Baroness Anelay of St Johns:

We are aware of reports of attacks on Christians and churches in India. These matters are being investigated by the Indian authorities.

I also refer the noble Lord to my answer of 31 December 2014 (HL3827), which gives details of our discussions with the Indian authorities.

Date and time of answer: 02 Feb 2015 at 16:21.