The Office of Tibet, London will be hosting a live panel discussion on Monday July 6th to celebrate His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s commitments and leadership to coincide with His Holiness’s 85th Birthday.

.

Dear All,

I hope and trust this finds you all well. As aware,  the Office of Tibet, London will be hosting a live panel discussion to celebrate His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s principal commitments and benevolent leadership on Monday 6th July 2020 coinciding with His Holiness’s 85th Birthday.

We will be broadcasting the event live on Facebook page of Office of Tibet, London. Please find the link below to join us celebrate the day of Happiness.

https://www.facebook.com/otlondon.net/

With best wishes and warm regards
Tsering Tsomo

UK Government responds to reports of the torture of the Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang and the arrest of Chinese Bishop Augustine Cui Tai.

.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6106):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the claims of the Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Quanzhang, that he was tortured during a four-year prison sentence, kept under 24-hour surveillance by two armed police officers within his prison cell, and was forced into making a false confession; what representations they have made to the government of China about his reported treatment; and what response they have received. (HL6106)

Tabled on: 24 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We have directly raised our concerns about the detention, mistreatment, and harassment of Wang Quanzhang on multiple occasions with the Chinese Government, and raised the case during China’s last Universal Periodic Review. The Foreign Secretary raised human rights concerns with his Chinese counterpart, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on both 9 March and 8 June.

Date and time of answer: 03 Jul 2020 at 14:10.

=================

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5969):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about reports that Bishop Augustine Cui Tai was arbitrarily arrested on 19 June; what is known about his health and whereabouts; and what priority they assign to human rights violations on grounds of religion or belief in the context of UK–China trade deals. (HL5969)

Tabled on: 22 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are aware of the arrest of Bishop Augustine Cui Tai, but do not have details of his health and whereabouts. We remain concerned by restrictions placed on Christians and other religious groups in China, including reports of individuals being detained for their beliefs and regularly raise cases of concern with the Chinese authorities.

Date and time of answer: 01 Jul 2020 at 13:46.

==================

 

UK Government responds after Pakistan Government’s State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs voiced support for an anti-Ahmadiyya twitter campaign by calling for Ahmadis to be punished by death. Minister says: “The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. We are concerned by language that may incite violence against any religious or ethnic groups.”

 

Tariq AhmadAhmadi 4

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5971):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Pakistan about freedom of religion or belief in view of reports that that government’s State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs has voiced support for an anti-Ahmadiyya twitter campaign by calling for Ahmadis to be punished by death. (HL5971)

Tabled on: 22 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan. We are concerned by language that may incite violence against any religious or ethnic groups.

We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens, regardless of their belief.

I raised the UK Government’s concerns about the protection of the Ahmadiyya community with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 27 February and our concerns about the comments made by the Pakistan Minister of State on 5 June.

I then raised our concerns again about Freedom of Religion or Belief with Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights by letter on 5 June.

I also raised the UK Government’s concerns about the protection of the Ahmadiyya community, including comments made by the Pakistan Minister of State, with Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Nafees Zakaria, on 12 and 27 May. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan met Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights on 8 June and raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief in Pakistan, including the comments made by the Pakistan Minister of State.

Date and time of answer: 03 Jul 2020 at 11:33.

 

US Congressman Chris Smith says that Xi Jinping’s assault on Hong Kong democracy activists is the latest example of the Chinese Communist Party’s cruelty and weakness.

US Congressman Chris Smith says that Xi Jinping’s assault on Hong Kong democracy activists is the latest example of the Chinese Communist Party’s cruelty and weakness.

Chris Smith

At a congressional hearing today, Rep Chris Smith (R-NJ), author of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act – and one of the most faithful and consistent advocates for human rights in the US Congress –  said “the great people of Hong Kong had a sweeping, draconian, anti-democracy policy imposed upon them yesterday—the so-called National Security Law.”

Smith said, “President Xi Jinping has today massively broken his government’s solemn promise embedded in the Basic Law and in an internationally recognized  treaty—the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration—to respect the human rights of the people of Hong Kong and to assure a high degree of autonomy.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had made those commitments as part of the deal to convey Hong Kong from the United Kingdom back to China.  The treaty was supposed to be enforce for 50 years—until 2047.

According to Smith, the new law includes severe criminal penalties aimed at Hong Kong democracy activists including “collusion” with lawyers, human rights organizations, journalists, academicians and lawmakers outside of China.

Xi Jinping’s assault on Hong Kong democracy activists is the latest example of the Chinese Communist Party’s cruelty and weakness. The genocide against  Muslim Uighurs, the pervasive use of torture throughout China, forced abortion and gendercide, and worsening religious persecution underscores the pathetic state of human rights abuse by Xi and his government, ” Smith said

It is now likely that the CCP will jail and torture Hong Kong human rights activists for simply meeting with or for being in contact with members of the U.S. Congress,” Smith said.  “This perverse violation of free speech and association must be fought with sanction and other tools,” he added.

The law also authorizes China’s national security agencies to enhance their presence in Hong Kong.  Smith said that is the “harbinger of more violence against democracy activists.”

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo certified on May 27 Hong Kong was no longer entitled special treatment under U.S. law because of its’s diminished autonomy.

 

Government Responds to the killing of 14 year old Samaru Madkami and religious persecution in India.

Samaru Madkami

The following report was issued by CSW….

A 14 year-old Christian boy was murdered in the village of Kenduguda, Malkangiri District, Odisha, on 4 June.

According to a First Information Report (FIR) registered with local police, the victim has been identified as Samaru Madkami and was picked up from his house at about 11pm by several men who took him to a jungle approximately four kilometres from his home.

Samaru’s hacked body parts were later found buried in the ground by police who were taken to the scene by the alleged perpetrators who were being investigated. Local sources report that Samaru was martyred for his faith, as his murder was carried out by Hindu nationalists who had been targeting his and other Christian families in their village. The perpetrators had later returned to Samaru’s home to kidnap his cousin, Onga, and his wife, but they managed to escape.

Samaru was cared for by his father, Unga Madkami, after losing his mother when he was around six years old. Mr Madkami’s village was previously home to thirteen Christian families, but only four remain; these have since been relocated to a safer place. According to one source, Christians in the village have been pressured to forsake their religion by local Hindu nationalists for several years. According to Pastor Bijay Pusuru, who leads the Bethel House Church, which Mr Madkami attended, since the start of this year, there have been four harassment complaints made at the Malkangiri police station. So far, four people have been arrested in relation to the murder of Samaru.

The state of Odisha has witnessed some of the most brutal killings carried out against the Christian community in recent history. In 1999 Australian missionary Graham Staines, who provided care for leprosy patients, was burnt to death with his sons Philip (10) and Timothy (6) while they were asleep in their vehicle in Manoharpur, Keonjhar District. In 2008 targeted communal violence against Christians in Kandhamal resulted in nearly 100 deaths, around 56,000 people being displaced and nearly 295 churches and places of worship destroyed.

John Dayal, a civil rights activist and writer in India, said: “This is the most heinous and gruesome case of anti-Christian violence that has come to light in the enforced silence of the coronavirus lockdown. There has been an unending series of various degrees of violence against the Christian community in several states. What is equally and compellingly obnoxious is the way local politicians and a section of media are trying to erase or at least underplay the abduction and lynching of the young believer. The case must be investigated by the national Investigating Agency as the state police and administration have lost the trust of the people.”

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to Samaru’s father, Mr Madkami, for the loss of his son. Samaru was martyred for his faith. We are deeply concerned by the intolerance and violence towards Christians that continues to fester in Odisha despite lessons from the savage attacks against Christians in Kandhamal which took place 12 years ago. There is clearly a systematic plan to wipe out the Christian community in these areas. We urge the state government to identify the sources of hate and crimes against minorities and to hold those responsible to account.”

==============================

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

The UK’s Foreign Office Minister, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has sent this response to representations made to him about Samaru’s murder:

The Lord Alton of Liverpool
House of Lords
London

30 June 2020

Dear David,

Thank you for your email of 15 June about the appalling killing of Samaru Madkami and religious persecution in India.
I find the reports of Samaru’s killing as tragic and disturbing as you do. As you know, and as I’ve said often in the House and publicly, we condemn any instances of discrimination because of religion or belief, regardless of the country or faith involved.

India’ strength, like that of the UK’s, is in its diversity and we trust the Government of India to address the concerns of people of all religions.

We engage India on the full range of human rights matters, working with Union and State Governments, and with NGOs, to build capacity and share expertise to promote human rights for all.

Where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India. 

Most recently, I discussed the situation for India’s minorities with the Acting High Commission of India on 22 May, and have previously raised our concerns about the impact of recent legislative and judicial measures on minorities with Indian Government Ministers.
The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India run projects promoting minority rights. Over the last 3 years, we have worked with local NGOs to bring together young people of diverse faith backgrounds and build positive relationships between them.

In 2019, this programme, which we hope to expand, brought together hundreds of young people from Delhi, Hyderabad, and Kolkata to work together on social action projects in their local communities, and learn about each other’s religions and cultures.

Our diplomatic network also engages leaders of all faiths in India, using important milestones such as Interfaith Week and the British High Commission’s annual Iftar to reach out to faith communities and understand their perspectives.

The British High Commission held a virtual Iftar last month and were joined by over 100 Muslim and civil society contacts from across India, with positive media coverage reaching around 7 million people.

Yours sincerely,
LORD (TARIQ) AHMAD OF WIMBLEDON
Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth
Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary declare a breach of the Sino-British Treaty. Arrests are already taking place under the new Communist Party imposed Security Law. In one case a Hong Konger who chanted “Long Live Liverpool”  was arrested. Collusion with foreigners can be grounds for arrest along with expressing support for independence – but if it were not so serious this would surely induce a belly laugh.  Statement from the President of the International Bar Association and other leading lawyers

The Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary declare a breach of the Sino-British Treaty. Arrests are already taking place under the new Communist Party imposed Security Law. In one case a Hong Konger who chanted “Long Live Liverpool”  was arrested. Collusion with foreigners can be grounds for arrest along with expressing support for independence – but if it were not so serious this would surely induce a belly laugh.

 

On Monday in Parliament I asked Foreign Office Ministers whether they regarded the breach of the British -China Joint Declaration guaranteeing Hong Kong’s freedoms. 

Today we got the answer from the Prime Minister:

“The enactment and imposition of this national security law constitute a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament.

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-8478963/UK-says-Chinas-security-law-violation-Hong-Kong-treaty.html

Monday June 29th: House of Lords:

Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)

My Lords, following the question asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Warwick, what are we doing to support the seven United Nations special rapporteurs who last week expressed serious concern that Beijing’s new security law fails to comply with international human rights law? Do we regard that new security law as a formal breach of the Sino-British joint declaration?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon

My Lords, in answer to the noble Lord’s second question, we have made our position quite clear: it is a breach of that agreement, as well as a basic breach of Hong Kong’s own laws. On working in the UN and supporting what it is doing, he will be aware that we raised the issue at the UN Security Council on 29 May and continue to work with international partners on the issue of Hong Kong.

 

 

The South China Morning Post has reported that there have already been arrests in Hong Kong using the new legislation.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3091175/national-security-law-hong-kong-police-make-first-arrest

Joshua Wong gave an early example of how this new law will be used to arrest and imprison people on flimsy ground. In one case a Hong Konger who chanted “Long Live Liverpool”  was arrested. Collusion with foreigners can be grounds for arrest along with expressing support for independence – but if it were not so serious this would surely induce a belly laugh.     

Long Live Liverpool.jpg

This is a summary of the punitive new law and how it strikes at the heart of Hong Kong’s basic freedoms….

National Security Law Key Facts 

 

Offences Created

The legislation creates four offences: secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign nations or organisations to endanger national security. All four offences are arbitrary and ambiguously defined and the law criminalises many activities which are protected under the ICCPR, including the right to freedom of thought, the right to freedom of expression, the right to be elected at elections, and the right of peaceful assembly.

 

  • Secession explicitly covers peaceful acts which has the aim of 1) seceding Hong Kong SAR from the People’s Republic of China, 2) changing the legal status of Hong Kong SAR or 3) transferring the sovereignty of Hong Kong SAR to another sovereign nation. This criminalises advocacy of Hong Kong Independence even if the means used are completely peaceful without any threat or use of force. Information given by the HKSAR government stated that people who chant slogans or display flags that contain Hong Kong Independence wording will be illegal under the new law and could be prosecuted. As of 1 July, 2020, arrests have been made for possessing Independence-related items.

 

  • Subversion (Overthrowing the Chinese and HKSAR administration) criminalises all actions with the aim to 1) overturn or undermine the basic systems under the PRC Constitution, 2) overthrow the body of power of Hong Kong SAR, 3) interfere or disrupting with the Hong Kong SAR government’s exercise of its functions, or 4) attacks or destruction of government facilities in Hong Kong.

 

  • Terrorism is similarly vaguely defined as acts with the aim of forcing the Chinese government, the Hong Kong SAR government or international organisations to realise a political manifesto, including the following means: 1) serious violence against a person; 2) damaging public transport and utilities; 3) interference with or damage of public utilities, networks or their control systems. This offence would cover vandalism of public transport vehicles with political messages. Worth noting this offence also carries a sentence of having one’s assets seized.

 

  • Collusion with foreign nations or organisations to endanger national security is the offence which has the greatest potential to damage Hong Kong’s role as an international city. It criminalises all acts which involve:
  1. the provision of intelligence to foreign entities, organisation or persons;
  2. requests of actions from foreign governments, entities, organisation or persons; or
  3. accepting assistance from any foreign governments, entities, organisation or persons; with any of the following aims:
  4. creating serious threats on the national sovereignty of the PRC;
  5. serious hindrance on the formulation or implementation of policies or law of the Hong Kong SAR or PRC government;
  6. sanctions or blockades on the Hong Kong SAR or PRC government or other hostile activities; or
  7. provoking hatred of the Hong Kong SAR or PRC government by unlawful means

 

While this obviously hinders international lobbying activities, it is noteworthy that foreign businesses in Hong Kong will be caught by this offence if they recommend their home governments to exert diplomatic pressure on the Hong Kong SAR or PRC government to further their business interests. Banks could potentially break the law if they are required to implement sanctions measurements by other foreign governments. Reporters working for foreign press are also under substantial risk when they report news which may potentially embarrass the Hong Kong SAR or the PRC government.

 

All four offences carry the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

 

Jurisdiction

 

  • The NSL has an alarmingly extraterritoriality nature which criminalises even activities conducted wholly outside of Hong Kong by non-Hong Kong residents. The law asserts jurisdictions if any part of an act or if any result of the act happens in/influences Hong Kong.
  • All Hong Kong permanent residents will be subject to the jurisdiction of this law even if they are not physically in Hong Kong. For non-Hong Kong residents, jurisdiction will be asserted for all acts which target the Hong Kong SAR. For example, an MP of the UK Parliament will be guilty of the offence of “connection with foreign nation or organization to endanger national security” if he voted for an Act of the Parliament to impose sanctions on the HKSAR government or condemns the HKSAR government for passing the NSL.
  • This has potentially far reaching effects as Hong Kong currently has extradition agreements with 20 countries. Since this law is also a national law of the PRC, extradition potential is not limited to countries that have agreements with Hong Kong.

 

Judicial Process

 

  • The NSL overrides the pre-existing right to bail for persons charged with an offence. All persons charged under the NSL will be denied bail unless the court can be satisfied that the accused will not commit further NSL offences
  • The NSL abolishes the jury system for NSL offences upon the decision of the Secretary of Justice to replace it with three High Court Judges from a list vetted by the Chief Executive
  • Trials will no longer be public if it involves national security or public interest.
  • Right of silence is abolished as everyone who is subject to investigation under the NSL has to provide information.

 

Political Rights

 

  • The NSL overrides the Basic Law and implements a mandatory requirement to swear allegiance to Basic Law and Hong Kong SAR – this applies to the civil service, the judiciary, LegCo members and District Council members, and anyone who is holding a public office.
  • The above-said personnel who are convicted of a NSL offence will also be deprived of their office immediately. This removes the protection granted to publicly-elected councillors and the judiciary by the Basic Law, where due process in removing them from office was guaranteed.
  • Article 35 stated that a person who is convicted of a NSL offence will be disqualified to stand in both Legislative and District Councils elections, or to hold any public office. In the law it does not indicate how long will this disqualification last. HKSAR Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng indicated on 1 July that such disqualification could last for a lifetime. This is practically a Deprivation of Political Rights concept in Chinese Law and is in serious breach to the Basic Law provisions in political rights.

 

 

Key organisations created:

 

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Chinese government organ in HK)

 

  • The staff and their work in the Office are not subject to the jurisdiction of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
  • Article 55 stated the Office could exercise jurisdiction under three categories
    • 1) A case that is complex due to the involvement of foreign elements, 2) a serious situation occurs when the HKSAR government is unable to enforce the NSL, or 3) there is a major and imminent threat to national security.
  • For cases where the Office has jurisdiction, the Office is overriding all existing legal procedure of Hong Kong set up by the Basic Law, as the investigation will be conducted by the Office, prosecution will be handled by China’s Supreme People’s Prosecutorate, and trial will be adjudicated by a court designated by China’s Supreme People’s Court. Potentially, all cases involving foreign nationals or foreign elements or deemed complicated will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Office, hence completely overriding Hong Kong’s judiciary.
  • The Office will coordinate with other Chinese government organs in Hong Kong and the HKSAR government to “increase” the management of foreign and international organizations’ Hong Kong office, foreign / international NGOs and news outlets.

 

The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR government organ)

  • Chaired by the Chief Executive, the committee will include the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice, the Secretary for Security, the Commissioner of Police, the Head of the Police National Security Department, the Director of Immigration, the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, and the Director of the Chief Executive Office.
  • The Committee will establish a secretariat, headed by a secretary-general. The said role will be appointed by the Chinese government upon nomination by the Chief Executive.
  • The work of the Committee will be secretive, and no government department, institution or individual could intervene with the work of the Committee. The decision made by the Committee cannot be challenged by judicially review. There is no legal method to scrutinise the Committee.

 

Police to set up National Security Department
This group will collect and analyse information related to national security, carry out the work given by the committee etc. The power of the police is significantly increased; for example they are allowed to recruit “professional and technical talents” from outside the HKSAR.

Also see:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-53230391

  • The city will be required to establish its own national security commission to enforce the laws, with a Beijing-appointed adviser.
  •   Hong Kong’s chief executive will have the power to appoint judges to hear national security cases, a move which has raised fears about judicial independence.

     * Beijing will have power over how the law should be interpreted. If the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, the Beijing law takes priority.

“Unlike elsewhere in China, Hong Kong has an independent judiciary. For this reason, the Party’s leadership was not going to leave interpretation of this law in the hands of just any old judges.

No. Those who will be allowed to preside in these matters will be hand-picked by Carrie Lam, the city’s leader who was effectively installed by Beijing.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-53230391

 

 

China’s National Security Law for Hong Kong contrary to rule of law   
We, the undersigned, find the action of the Chinese Mainland legislature in enacting the new National Security Law in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), without proper consultation with Hong Kong SAR peoples and institutions, fundamentally objectionable.

The new law is:

  • contrary to the norms of international law;
  • incompatible with the rule of law and fundamental human rights; and
  • inconsistent with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR.

The National Security Law in its present terms is a grave departure from the fundamental principles upon which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) agreed with the United Kingdom to govern Hong Kong after its transfer to the PRC. The National Security Law has been enacted by the PRC without meaningful engagement with the people of Hong Kong SAR in the legislative process. This bodes ill for the survival of even the attenuated conditions of democracy and human rights that have been practised in recent times in Hong Kong SAR.

 

 

We urge that the new law not be adopted or implemented without full and uninhibited consultation with the people of Hong Kong SAR who are affected by it. This may not be the law and custom of the PRC, however, it is a basic norm of universal human rights that is observed in democratic countries and expected in Hong Kong SAR.

Furthermore, we are concerned that, despite the text of the National Security Law not being released to the people of Hong Kong SAR, in the few short hours in which the sweeping law has been enacted, the world has witnessed prominent Hong Kong SAR activists shut down their campaign groups and delete their social media profiles for fear of being arrested and sent to mainland China – where ‘secession’, ‘subversion’ and ‘collusion with foreign forces’ are criminalised – to be tried.

In addition to the above, our other concerns include:

  • the non-existent ability of legal experts to review the compatibility of the law with Hong Kong SAR’s legal and constitutional framework, and China’s international legal obligations;
  • the purported imposition of retrospective legislation;
  • reports that the National Security Law will take precedence over Hong Kong SAR law, and, where disputes may arise, China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will adjudicate;
  • the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR will be given the power to appoint former judges and magistrates to particular National Security Law cases. Presently, it is senior judges who undertake such actions in assigning cases as enshrined in Article 85 of the Basic Law; and
  • the opaqueness of criteria for identifying cases which will result in rendition to mainland China, and the insufficient safeguards to protect such individuals.

Effectively, law is being used to curtail the democratic freedoms of the semi-autonomous territory. This is a sad and deeply worrying time for the people of Hong Kong SAR and for their friends across the globe.

Horacio Bernardes Neto 
President, International Bar Association

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG 
Co-Chair, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc
Co-Chair, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Mark Ellis
Executive Director, International Bar Association

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Government Minister, (Diana) Baroness Barran, promises that the Government will tackle the continued exploitation of some of the most vulnerable in our supply chains. If the Government shows it really does mean business in tackling companies which give business a bad name, it will deserve praise and support.

Government Minister, (Diana) Baroness Barran, promises that the Government will tackle the continued exploitation of some of the most vulnerable in our supply chains.  If the Government shows it really does mean business in tackling companies which give business a bad name, it will deserve praise and support.

During the parliamentary debate on the Telecommunications Bill on Monday evening the Government gave a very welcome assurance that they intend to deal with the failure of the 2015 Modern Slavery Act to adequately safeguard men, women and children being used as slave labour in many parts of the world. Too often, companies claim that they do not use slave labour when, within their supply chains, there is plenty of evidence that they have benefited from slave labour.  

Baroness Barran said:

“First, a number of noble Lords raised the point about companies needing to do the right thing. Of course the companies that we are talking about are in compliance with the Modern Slavery Act and Section 54 but, as the noble Lord, Lord Alton, knows better than probably the rest of us put together, there are problems and issues with the teeth of Section 54; that is, in a way, at the heart of his amendment and will be at the heart of our response to the consultation later this summer.”

The parliamentary debate focused on the plight of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang being “re-educated” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in slave labour camps.

https://davidalton.net/2020/06/30/politicians-from-left-right-and-centre-unite-in-the-uk-parliament-to-challenge-human-rights-violations-against-uighurs-in-xinjiang-and-say-that-telecom-companies-that-aid-and-abet-egregious-abuses-sho/

Within their supply chains, telecommunications companies like Huawei  are either beneficiaries or even willing to partner with the CCP by providing their surveillance equipment to deprive the Uighurs of their freedoms. 

But its’ not just in Xinjiang.

The same is true in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo where young children are used in cobalt mines

UNICEF estimates that about 40,000 boys and girls work as artisanal miners in southern DRC, many of who extract cobalt. Some artisanal miners use chisels and other hand tools to dig holes tens of metres deep, often without any permit. Others handpick rocks rich in cobalt ore at the surface.

This leads to frequent illness – with cobalt dust causing the potentially fatal hard metal lung disease and skin contact causing dermatitis.  They aren’t even given mask or gloves and are forced to work up to 12 hours a day for as little as a dollar a day.  

Child labour mines the cobalt – and cobalt is what powers our telephones. 

Cobalt is a key component of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and in late 2019 some of the globe’s leading brands – Apple, Alphabet (parent company of Google LLC), Microsoft, Dell and Tesla became ensnared in a legal action from the families of children killed or injured while mining. They have all declined to say whether their supply chains are tainted by slave labour.

 

The Arise Foundation has tirelessly campaigned to change the law so that companies are held to account.  https://www.arisefdn.org/give-your-time

If the Government really does intend to show it means business in dealing with companies which give business a bad name it will  truly be able to claim that its Modern Slavery Legislation is not a slogan but worthy to be called world class cutting edge legislation. 

https://www.arisefdn.org/post/arise-trustee-ensures-that-uk-protects-most-vulnerable-in-global-supply-chains

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/01/13/are-these-tech-companies-complicit-in-human-rights-abuses-of-child-cobalt-miners-in-congo/#3a7c7b7d3b17

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ewelinaochab/2020/07/01/is-china-preventing-births-among-persecuted-uighur-muslim-minority-communities/

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/un-human-rights-council-44-cross-regional-statement-on-hong-kong-and-xinjiang

uighur slave labour 6uighur slave labour 8

Parliamentary Replies from the UK Government following the publication of the recent report on Nigeria (“An Unfolding Genocide?”) by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief 

Parliamentary Replies from the UK Government following the publication of the recent report on Nigeria (“An Unfolding Genocide?“)by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief

 

Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5821):

Question  from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial, technical and capacity building support they intend to offer to the government of Nigeria to implement the recommendations of the report by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide, published on 15 June. (HL5821)

Tabled on: 17 June 2020

This question was grouped with the following question(s) for answer:

  1. To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide, published on 15 June. (HL5819)
    Tabled on: 17 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Sugg:

We welcome the APPG’s report and the detailed analysis it provides on the complex issues of intercommunal violence across multiple states of Nigeria and acts of terrorism committed by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa in North East Nigeria. The UK Government strongly condemns all acts of violence in Nigeria. We are considering the report and its recommendations in detail and the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, will provide a full response in due course.

================

Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5822):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about violence in the Nigerian Middle-Belt involving farmers and herders. (HL5822)

Tabled on: 17 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Sugg:

Intercommunal violence across multiple states in Nigeria has had a devastating impact on all communities. The UK Government has engaged closely with the federal government, state government, international partners and the National Economic Council to help address the drivers of intercommunal violence and push for solutions. UK officials discussed the issue in detail with the former Chief of Staff to the Nigerian President in January.

The FCO and Wilton Park hosted a joint conference on ‘Fostering Social Cohesion in Nigeria’ in February. Attendees included representatives of the Nigerian Government. The discussion focused on the complex causes of conflict and explored solutions. A full report from the conference has been published. The British High Commissioner and her team are increasing their engagement with state governors in affected states. For example, a team visited Plateau State in December to discuss the situation with the Governor, Christian and Muslim faith leaders and to meet organisations working on reconciliation.

Date and time of answer: 30 Jun 2020 at 13:24.

=============

Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5823):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Nigeria about the investigation of cases of reported military complicity in violence against Christians and other human rights abuses. (HL5823)

Tabled on: 17 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Sugg:

The UK is firmly committed to promoting and protecting human rights around the world. We have made clear to the Nigerian authorities, at the highest levels, the importance of protecting civilians, including all ethnic and religious groups, and human rights for all Nigerians. We are aware that communities of all faiths have made allegations of military complicity in some incidences of violence. We call for all allegations of human rights abuses or excessive use of force to be investigated and those responsible to be held to account.

Following allegations of human rights abuses made against Nigerian military detention facilities in Amnesty International’s recent report, ‘We Dried our Tears’, the British High Commissioner raised the report with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and called for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses. We reiterate that the UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned.

Date and time of answer: 30 Jun 2020 at 13:23.

===============

Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5824):

 

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to introduce mandatory training for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff in Nigeria on (1) identifying patterns of discrimination and conflict with religious characteristics, and (2) the interaction of religion and religious actors with specific societal and conflict contexts. (HL5824)

Tabled on: 17 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Sugg:

Our staff are encouraged to develop an understanding of religion and its role within society, including in conflict situations and in countries like Nigeria where religion is important to most people’s identity. Specific training on religion is available to all staff through the FCO’s Diplomatic Academy. In addition, our Nigerian local staff provide first-hand insight into the role of religion and religious actors within Nigerian society, including conflicts affecting the country. We also use expertise from the FCO’s Africa Research Group and conflict-prevention experts.

We are now working on an enhanced training offer related to religion as part of our commitment to implement the recommendations made in the Bishop of Truro’s independent review. This work is being led by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Rehman Chishti MP.

Date and time of answer: 29 Jun 2020 at 14:47.

===============

Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5820):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they plan to have with the government of Nigeria about the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan to help reduce the conflict involving farmers and herders in Nigeria. (HL5820)

Tabled on: 17 June 2020

Answer:
Baroness Sugg:

The UK worked closely with international partners to provide technical support to the Vice President’s office to develop the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). The NLTP sets out a long-term approach to transition towards more sedentary forms of cattle-rearing and explicitly addresses some of the factors underpinning intercommunal violence. The plan is being implemented in eight Middle Belt states. A number of other states have expressed interest and we are encouraging their adoption of the plan. The High Commission will continue to encourage adoption of the NLTP in discussions at all levels of the Nigerian Government, including with state governments.

Date and time of answer: 29 Jun 2020 at 14:46.

==================

Politicians from Left Right and Centre Unite in the UK Parliament To Challenge Human Rights Violations Against Uighurs In Xinjiang And Say That Telecom Companies That Aid and Abet Egregious Abuses Should Not Be allowed To Be Involved In UK Telecoms – Cross-Party Op Ed From The Daily Telegraph

Politicians from Left Right and Centre Unite in the UK Parliament To Challenge Human Rights Violations Against Uighurs In Xinjiang And Say That Telecom Companies That Aid and Abet Egregious Abuses Should Not Be allowed To Be Involved In UK Telecoms – Cross-Party Op Ed From The Daily Telegraph

The full parliamentary debate can be read here:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2020-06-29/debates/D7049ECF-9381-4003-922A-C8A70DF2975F/TelecommunicationsInfrastructure(LeaseholdProperty)Bill

The speeches of the four Movers of the All -Party Amendment also appear here:

An Urgent Question was also asked in the House of Commons by the former leader of the Conservative Party, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP: 

Uighurs Urgent Question House of Commons 1

Also see:

https://genocideresponse.org/2020/06/call-the-atrocities-against-the-uighur-muslims-genocide-british-parliamentarians-call-upon-the-uk-government/

 

The Daily Telegraph: June 28th 2020 

Human Rights, Uighurs, and Huawei:  Time For Helsinki with Chinese Characteristics – say Four Members of the House of Lords

 

Michael Forsyth, David Alton,  Kishwer Falkner,  and Andrew Adonis

 

We lived through the Cold War, and all of us have wondered how political leaders of the time would have responded to the challenge now posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

 

Faced with Soviet Communism, would Margaret Thatcher or Ernest Bevin have allowed it, and the companies it controls, access to the UK’s critical infrastructure – compromising defence and national security? 

 

And how would they have responded  to the suffering of millions of its victims?

 

Of course, we know exactly how the free world responded – and, with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, we know the final outcome.

 

Throughout those decades we never lowered our guard. We stood together, fearlessly defended our values and, through the Helsinki Process, made the defence of human rights a touchstone of our response. 

 

When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn opened our eyes to the horrors of the gulags – and after hearing the testimonies of  escaping refuseniks and dissidents – we didn’t refuse to listen. And we certainly weren’t gullible enough to confuse engagement and dialogue with handing over large swathes of our economy and strategic interests to the perpetrators.

 

Forty years later, and from a range of different political backgrounds, we make no apology for challenging the contemporary horrors being visited, in a new Cultural Revolution, by the Chinese Communist Party, on millions of its citizens, including the Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, who are subjected to mass incarceration, torture, and egregious violations of human rights.

 

It is why we have tabled a hard-headed all-party amendment, being considered in the House of Lords today.

 

Our amendment would impose a human rights threshold which the Chinese Communist Party and its appendage, State-controlled Huawei – would have to traverse to be able to operate in the UK in the future. Let’s call it Helsinki with Chinese characteristics.

 

The interconnected nature of global digital supply chains is not in dispute. And Huawei boasts that it already operates in 170 countries – including the UK. We also know that once a supplier is embedded into our 5G telecommunications infrastructure, it is extremely complex, technologically challenging and expensive to remove it if our security is compromised.  If there is ever a case for the use of the precautionary principle, it is now.  

 

 

Our amendment directly challenges the wisdom of allowing companies like Huawei to gain  further access to our telecommunications infrastructure and to entrench itself further within our 5G network. And we make the violation of human rights the acid test.

 

Since the current  legislation was first mooted there has been a sea change in the  political climate and mood in Parliament – and that has been re-enforced by the emergence of more and more evidence.

 

The known  partnership between Huawei and Xinjiang’s Security Bureau is not in dispute.

 

A Xinjiang news press release quoted a Huawei Director as saying: ‘Together with the Public Security Bureau, Huawei will unlock a new era of smart policing and help build a safer, smarter society.’

 

This “smarter society” has been described by Professor Adrian Zenz, a German scholar, as “The largest detention of an ethno-religious minority since World War II”.

 

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute meticulously details the global expansion of 23 key Chinese technology companies and one of their researchers, Vicky Xu, says that the idea that Huawei is not working directly with local governments in Xinjiang is “just straight-up nonsense”.

 

Senior members of the House of Commons, including the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, have written to the Foreign Secretary urging him to “cease consideration of Huawei as contractors or partners for the UK’s 5G infrastructure until investigations have been conducted into Huawei’s work in Xinjiang and its relationship to the mass persecution”. 

 

Our amendment gives flesh to those bones.

 

Nor does our Government dispute any of this.

 

Home Office Ministers tell us that “The UK Government has expressed its concerns about China’s systematic human rights violations in Xinjiang, including credible and growing reports of forced labour, during the recent UN Human Rights Council.” 

 

“Credible and growing reports of forced labour” and an expression of our concern at the UN Human Rights Council, surely cannot mean it can be a case of business as usual.

 

Note too that our amendment is being considered as the Chinese Communist Party, under the cover of Covid19, enacts a new Security Law targeting the freedoms of Hong Kong; as a new report today details the coercive sterilisation of Uighur women; and in another report due to be published this morning, Professor Zenz sets out further previously unpublished evidence of the relationship between Huawei and the Communist State.

 

Responding to Huawei’s statement that they “don’t know” how their customers use their technology and that they do not engage directly with Xinjiang’s security services, he says: “Both statements are falsehoods. The company does engage in business with the security services in Xinjiang, worked with them for years on dedicated, custom-made security solutions, and it even proudly advertises how they are being operated. In 2014, Huawei received an award from Xinjiang’s Ministry of Public Security for its role in establishing citywide surveillance systems.”

 

After analysing the evidence, Professor Zenz says “We must conclude that Huawei is directly implicated in Beijing police state and related human rights violations in Xinjiang, and that it has lied to the public about this fact on at least two different occasions.”

 

Given all that we now know, the question for Parliament is whether it is willing to turn a blind eye and let Huawei march on regardless.  5G is a gamechanger, and our citizens need to know that we are protecting them.

 

In asking the Government to reconsider its opposition to our amendment we have urged them to look again at the evidence and to come forward with their own amendment at the Bill’s Third Reading. Otherwise, if they refuse to do that, they should be in no doubt, we will take this to a vote.

——————-

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench), Lord Forsyth of Drumlean (Conservative), Baroness Falkner of Margravine (Crossbench) and Lord Adonis (Labour)  are the four sponsors of an all-party  amendment to the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill before the House of Lords today.  The amendment is also  supported by the Liberal Democrat and Green Peers

 

 

Government Minister responds to the remarks of the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, that the recently published minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies appear “to reinforce the impression that social care has been an afterthought – a secondary consideration after the NHS” and that “this cannot continue”.

Government Minister responds to the remarks of the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, that the recently published minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies appear “to reinforce the impression that social care has been an afterthought – a secondary consideration after the NHS” and that “this cannot continue”.

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5150):

Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks of the President of the Association of Directors of Social Services, that the recently published minutes of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies appear “to reinforce the impression that social care has been an afterthought – a secondary consideration after the NHS” and that “this cannot continue”. (HL5150)

Tabled on: 03 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

Throughout this pandemic, we have been determined to give both the National Health Service and social care everything they need to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2020, the first guidance for the social care sector was published. In March, we announced £1.6 billion funding for local government and £1.3 billion to go to the NHS and social care for discharge support. In April, we announced a further £1.6 billion for local government and our COVID-19: Our Action Plan for Adult Social Care. A copy of the Action Plan is attached.

On 15 May, the Government published the Care Home Support package and an additional £600 million Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. This represents the next phase of our response for care homes.

We continue to work tirelessly with the care sector and public health experts to explore all measures possible to reduce transmission and save lives.

The following documents were submitted as part of the answer and are appended to this email:

  1. File name: covid-19-adult-social-care-action-plan.pdf
    Description: Adult Social Care Action Plan

Date and time of answer: 24 Jun 2020 at 11:28.

 

covid-19-adult-social-care-action-plan