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Deportation: Human Rights Compliance

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2020

What recent steps he has taken with the Home Secretary to ensure UK Government compliance with international human rights law in the handling of deportation cases. (909149)

Deportations, removals and returns are a Home Office lead. The Home Office is responsible for ensuring that action is in compliance with the relevant legal frameworks. The Foreign Secretary and the Home Office meet regularly to discuss international business, and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Ministers periodically discuss FCDO support for return flights to specific countries with Home Office colleagues, most recently the resumption of flights to Nigeria and Ghana following a pause due to the covid-19 pandemic. The UK’s international legal obligations, including under international human rights law, underpin all those exchanges.

The Julian Assange case is just one of many recent cases that have led to greater public discussion of the issue of extradition between the US and the UK in recent years. There are concerns across the House about our country’s extradition treaty with the USA. One is that the US can request extradition in circumstances Britain cannot, something the Prime Minister labelled “unbalanced” earlier this year. Another is that provisions within the treaty are not properly upheld—for example, the treaty bans extradition for political offences. What is the Minister doing to ensure that the ban on extradition for political offences is always upheld?

As the hon. Member may already know, changes were made under the previous Government to make the system more balanced. I can tell him that the FCDO is committed to upholding the full range of rights set out in the universal declaration of human rights and in international human rights treaties to which we are a state party.