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Baroness Cox (crossbench) posed questions to the UK Government about foreign relations and freedom of religion in Sudan, as well as immigration from the Horn of Africa. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative) and Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative) responded.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the most recent round of discussions in the UK–Sudan Strategic Dialogue.
The Strategic Dialogue provides an important platform to raise issues of bilateral interest between the UK and Sudan. At the Fifth Round, held in Khartoum on 24 April, we discussed a range of issues with senior Sudanese Government representatives, including the peace process, human rights, development, migration, trade and investment, and counter-terrorism.
Both the British Government and the Government of Sudan welcomed the continued progress made since the last round of the UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue in October, and agreed to continue work jointly on issues of mutual interest.
The Communique of the Fifth Round of the Strategic Dialogue is available on the British Government’s website.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of freedom of religion or belief in Sudan.
Sudan remains a Human Rights Priority Country for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and we are deeply concerned about infringements and restrictions on freedom of religion or belief. We are considering ways that FCO programme funding could help to promote freedom of religion or belief in Sudan. We raised our concerns with the Government during the UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue on 24 April, and will continue to do so as part of our ongoing bilateral engagement.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made under the EU–Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative to tackle irregular migration from the Horn of Africa.
The Khartoum Process has made good progress to address people smuggling and human trafficking in the Horn of Africa. The UK chaired two thematic meetings in 2016 and 2017 and Egypt hosted a trilateral meeting (Khartoum/Rabat Processes and Horn of Africa Initiative) in November 2017 to understand progress to date; ongoing challenges and the solutions needed for a joined-up and concerted response.
The Khartoum Process has approved 147 programmes under its Better Migration Management (BMM) programme in this area and it also continues to implement the Regional Operation Centre of Khartoum (ROCK) which aims to improve cooperation and information sharing between law enforcement agencies to effectively disrupt the people smuggling and trafficking rings exploiting migrants. The 2018 Italian Chairmanship will build upon these efforts with further thematic and training workshops alongside a review of thematic conclusions to ensure tangible future delivery. There will also be a Joint Senior Officials Meeting in November to assess the progress made under the Joint Valletta Action Plan.
You can see all of Baroness Cox’s written questions and answers here