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Volume 513: debated on Wednesday 7 July 2010

DFID does not provide direct financial assistance to the Government of Columbia. We provide aid primarily through multilateral organisations, including the European Commission and the World Bank. In addition, DFID supports a number of projects through non-governmental organisations to support human rights and poverty reduction. We are, of course, reviewing our programme and Colombia will be part of that.

I thank the Minister for that response. Will he assure the House that any direct or indirect aid is channelled through humanitarian groups such as the International Red Cross? He is aware that Columbia is an extremely dangerous place to be for those who oppose the regime and, just recently, President-elect Santos ordered his troops to dress up in International Red Cross uniforms to carry out illegal activities. I am sure that the International Red Cross would welcome the opportunity to meet the Minister to talk through this issue.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this point because it is extremely important. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will meet the head of the International Red Cross next week and this will be a significant matter on the agenda for that meeting.