Questions in Parliament-March 11- Magnitsky Powers and a call to coordinate an international initiative to tackle the refugee crisis
During Question Time in the House of Lords David Alton called on the Government to include corruption within the proposed new Magnitsky Law. He also told the Government to initiate an international effort to tackle the root causes of the refugee crisis:
My Lords, will the noble Earl return to the question put to him by the noble Lord, Lord Collins, about the use of Magnitsky powers? With inflation in Zimbabwe running at 500% by the end of last year, extreme poverty rising to 34% and corruption remaining rampant—authoritarian and brutal individuals own properties in London and have salted away money and assets here—why are the Government considering excluding kleptocracy and the misuse of resources by political leaders from the Magnitsky powers? Will he give an undertaking that the Government will reconsider that?
My Lords, I will certainly take that point away and bring it to the attention of colleagues; it is very important. We do our utmost to ensure that our bilateral aid, for example, does not go through the Government of Zimbabwe or their agencies directly. We work primarily through multilateral organisations, notably United Nations agencies. The noble Lord is absolutely right: the economic crisis in Zimbabwe is very serious indeed. We are disappointed that the staff-monitored programme agreed with the IMF has gone off-track. Our focus at the moment is on mitigating the worst impacts of the economic crisis and concentrating on the most vulnerable Zimbabweans.
My Lords, as we sit here, there are some 70 million displaced people or refugees worldwide. Could Her Majesty’s Government do more to try to convene a conference of the great powers to discuss what can be done to respond to the massive numbers of people who are migrating purely because of conflict or war?
My Lords, I have outlined just how generous this country is and has been over our history. We are a small island and we are doing what we can. As I have said, under the national resettlement schemes