Government Minister confirms that the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office are assessing the impact and legal ramifications of the National Security Law, including for current extradition arrangements. And Government’s response to examples of tear gas misuse in 22 countries including the territory of Hong Kong

Jul 17, 2020 | Uncategorized

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL6703):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:


To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the introduction of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, what plans they have (1) to follow the government of Australia’s decision to suspend its extradition agreement with Hong Kong, and (2) to encourage other countries to emulate the government of Australia’s decision to give skilled migrants from Hong Kong five-year visas with a pathway to permanent residence. [T] (HL6703)

Tabled on: 10 July 2020

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon 1

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

We are deeply concerned that China has enacted this national security legislation. On 1 July, the Foreign Secretary made clear to Parliament that this legislation, imposed by the authorities in Beijing on the people of Hong Kong, constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Joint Declaration.

The Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office are assessing the impact and legal ramifications of the National Security Law, including for current extradition arrangements.

The Foreign Secretary set out on 1 July the UK’s new, bespoke arrangements for British Nationals (Overseas) and their dependants. We will grant them 5 years limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study. After these 5 years, they will be able to apply for settled status, and after a further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship.

Immigration matters are of course a matter for national governments. However, we are coordinating closely with partners on our approach to Hong Kong, as demonstrated through recent joint statements at the UN Human Rights Council, and with G7 foreign ministers.

Date and time of answer: 17 Jul 2020 at 11:31.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5744):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Amnesty International Tear Gas: an investigation, published in June, which details examples of tear gas misuse in 22 countries including the territory of Hong Kong; what assessment they have made of the effects of tear gas (1) when fired directly at people in large volumes, (2) in response to peaceful protests, and (3) in confined spaces; what steps can be taken if UN Guidelines on its use are ignored; and what plans they have to press for more effective regulation of the design, trade and use of tear gas. (HL5744)

Tabled on: 16 June 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

Whilst the Department of Health Committee on Toxicity has approved the use of CS spray, actions taken by the police or security agencies during protest must be proportionate, necessary and in accordance with guidelines.

The Government takes strategic export control responsibilities seriously. We examine every strategic export application on a case-by-case basis against strict Criteria. We draw on a range of sources in making assessments, including NGOs and international organisations, our diplomatic posts, and reports from our overseas networks. Our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changing facts on the ground and we can take action when our assessment changes. The Department for International Trade would not issue a licence if to do so was inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria. If it was being misused, the Foreign and Commonwealth office would advise them accordingly on export licence applications.

We continue to monitor developments closely, seeking further information where appropriate. As an example, on 25 June 2019, the then Foreign Secretary announced that we would not issue any further export licenses for crowd control equipment to Hong Kong until we are satisfied that concerns raised on human rights and fundamental freedoms have been thoroughly addressed. As we have said repeatedly, we believe the Hong Kong SAR Government should establish a robust and independent investigation into events.

Date and time of answer: 13 Jul 2020 at 15:55.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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