HART Weekly Round Up (06/10/2017)

October 6th, 2017

HART Weekly Round Up (06/10/2017)

This week’s HART Weekly Round Up includes blogs, responses from the government to Baroness Cox’s written questions, and a summary of the top stories from the countries where we work.

Blogs:

  • Burma’s Forgotten Minorities: The suffering of the Rohingya has made headlines around the world. Yet Burma’s other persecuted minorities are not getting any international attention.
  • Fulani Herdsmen on a Deadly Mission: Fulani herdsmen were the 4th deadliest terrorist group in the world in 2014, higher than Boko Haram. How much do you know about them?

Baroness Caroline Cox speaking in parliament.

Questions for Written Answer

1) Home Office: Sharia Law Independent Review (18 September 2017)

Baroness Cox:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the independent inquiry into the application of Sharia Law in the United Kingdom to conclude; and when they expect the report to be published.

 

Baroness Williams of Trafford, The Minister of State, Home Department:

Professor Mona Siddiqui’s independent review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales is expected to report to the Home Secretary in the coming months. The Government will consider the publication of the review and its response, once the review report has been submitted.

2) Home Office: Sharia Law Independent Review (18 September 2017)

Baroness Cox:

To ask her Majesty’s Government what has caused the delay in publishing the report of the independent inquiry into the application of Sharia Law in the United Kingdom.

 

Baroness Williams of Trafford, The Minister of State, Home Department:

The Government independent review into the application of Sharia Law in England and Wales is not delayed. The new chair, Professor Mona Siddiqui, is expected to submit her review report in the coming months.

3) Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Syria: Overseas Aid (20 September 2017)

Baroness Cox:

To ask her Majesty’s Government what type of assistance they provided to the Syrian opposition between 2015 and the latest date for which figures are available; which factions associated with the Free Syrian Army received that assistance; what was the nature of that assistance; and what was the cost.

 

Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, Minister of State:

Through the cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for Syria the UK is supporting those groups opposed to Daesh and Assad as well as Syrian civilians and their communities. This support to the moderate opposition has included political support and non-lethal equipment. In terms of equipment, we have provided communications, medical and logistics equipment. We have also provided equipment to protect against chemical weapons attack. For security reasons we do not disclose the names of groups supported. The UK does not supply weapons to anybody in Syria. The value of the CSSF for Syria is £69 million in the current financial year, was £64 million in 2016-17, and £66 million in 2015-16.

4) Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Syria: Overseas Aid (20 September 2017)

Baroness Cox:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the source of their funding for the Syrian opposition since 2015; and whether those funds were provided from the international development budget.

 

Lord Ahmed of Wimbledon, Minister of State:

Through our Conflict, Stability and Security Fund the UK is providing over £60 million annually to support those groups opposed to Daesh and Assad as well as Syrian civilians and their communities. This is a cross-government fund run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. The majority of this spend is Official Development Assistance. Through this fund, we are helping to meet the needs of Syrian communities by supporting local governance, the delivery of key services (including education, basic policing and search and rescue services) and livelihoods in areas controlled by the moderate opposition.

 

5) Home Office: Money Laundering: Azerbaijan (22 September 2017)

Baroness Cox:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the statement by the Prime Minister’s spokesman on 5 September that information relating to the Azerbaijani Laundromat scheme received from the media would be examined by the National Crime Agency (NCA), whether they have asked (1) the NCA, or (2) a financial regulator, to examine allegations relating to UK-registered companies and partnerships.

 

Baroness Williams of Trafford, The Minister of State, Home Department:

Investigations into allegations of money laundering are conducted by law enforcement agencies such as the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office, and the police. Decision in whether to investigate and how to do so is purely a matter for law enforcement. The NCA, SFO, and the police of are operationally independent of the Government.

 

For more on Baroness Cox’s parliamentary appearances, click here.

 

News Round Up –  the top stories from this week’s news in our partners’ countries.

Burma:

  • Diplomats urge government to let UN experts visit Rakhine – Burma currently allows no UN officials or media to visit the region on the claim of security issues. A few diplomats were recently taken on a selectively planned tour of Rakhine, away from the areas of violence. More than 500,000 Rohingya refugees are now in Bangladesh, with more arrivals every day and numerous reports of severe malnutrition.
  • Burma’s Northern Shan State and Prospects for Peace – Armed conflict between the Burmese Army and various ethnic armed organizations continue to threaten the peace process of the National League for Democracy government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Around 9,000 Shan and Karen refugees remain in limbo after their food aid was cut this month.

A Burmese soldier stands guard on the tower as military helicopters carrying diplomats arrive at Sittwe Airport in Rakhine State on Monday. (Myanmar Times/ EPA)

Nagorno-Karabakh:

  • Artsakh GDP increases fourfold in ten years – “The other day we summed up economic indicators over the past 10 years: general figures for Artsakh are very interesting. Thus, in 2007 the GDP equaled 70.8 billion drams, in 2016 – 229.6 billion drams.”

Nagorno-Karabakh’s economy is thriving despite its exceptional circumstances (ARKA)

Nigeria:

  • A Freedom of Information Request has prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to release details about the agenda of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Nigeria earlier this year (August 2017).
  • Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi saturday said that Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed the country. He noted that the various agitations across the country was the cumulative effect of leadership failure that has ‘bedeviled the country since its independence’.
  • Our guest blog from this week looks at the Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria and why they gain such little international media attention in comparison to Boko Haram, despite being deadlier.

Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi (ThisDay)

Sudan:

  • US expected to end sanctions on Sudan – Despite huge opposition from activists and organisations like HART, it is reportedly likely that US sanctions on Al-Bashir will be lifted today. Treatment of minorities in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile continues to be dire, and the regime maintains its contempt of human rights.
  • Sudan’s Al-Bashir to change constitution to run for a third term – Under the current constitution, the president’s second and final term is set to end in 2020. Although, it was widely expected that he would step down from office, sources have revealed that NCP is planning to bring forward a proposal to review and rewrite the constitution to allow the president to run for a third term.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attends the joint Sudan and Saudi Arabia air force drill in Khartoum, Sudan on 9 April, 2017 (Ebrahim Hamid/Anadolu Agency)

South Sudan:

Women and children line up for water at a refugee camp in South Sudan. 1,000 extra tonnes of food aid will be sent to South Sudan through Sudan. (Oxfam International/Flickr)

Uganda:

The governments of Uganda and South Sudan have signed a cross-border agreement allowing Uganda to extend electricity inside the South Sudan border towns of Kaya and Nimule. (Daily Monitor)

Timor Leste:

  • This week’s blog looks at the use of the Moringa plant in Timor Leste, and how it is a miracle food for those suffering from malnutrition.

Women learning how to cultivate plants to grow food for their families


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