Tuesday 1 February 2022
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Myanmar Coup Anniversary
One year since the military seized power in Myanmar, it is clear they miscalculated. They did not reckon with the courage and tenacity of the people of Myanmar to resist their brutal takeover. However, the coup has plunged the country into a deep crisis. Over 14 million people are in humanitarian need, mass displacement is increasing, democratic gains have been reversed, and violence is escalating across the country. It is clear that the military has no interest in seriously addressing these issues
The UK is appalled by the brutal actions of the military regime, who continue to commit atrocities, with credible reports of torture, sexual violence and mass killings. We call on the military to immediately release the thousands of people it has detained arbitrarily, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
We continue to stand with the people of Myanmar who have rejected the military junta. We are clear in our support for all those working to restore democracy in Myanmar, including the National Unity Government.
We are using our global leadership role to bring the international community together, including at the UN Security Council and through the G7, to condemn the military’s actions. This included an unprecedented Security Council Presidential Statement on the coup on 10 March and a Security Council meeting to mark the anniversary of the coup on 28 January.
We have announced nine tranches of sanctions targeting the military leadership, and key military revenue streams. This includes three designations yesterday of individuals responsible for subverting democracy and the rule of law. We are working closely with partners in the US, Canada and the EU to identify further targets.
We are committed to preventing the flow of arms to Myanmar and worked to secure a UN General Assembly Resolution to this end. We will continue to put pressure on those who sell arms to the military.
Since the coup we have provided £49.4 million to support those in need of humanitarian assistance, deliver health and education for the most vulnerable and protect civic space. Our humanitarian programmes have reached over 600,000 people, including with water, sanitation, and life-saving food.
We remain committed to supporting efforts to hold perpetrators to account. We have provided additional funding to the independent investigative mechanism for Myanmar and established the Myanmar witness programme to collect and preserve evidence of serious human rights violations and abuses. We are closely monitoring the risks of further atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya.
We recognise the important role ASEAN is playing in resolving the crisis and we reaffirm our support for the ASEAN five-point consensus, which the military must implement immediately.
The UK, and the wider international community, has sent a clear message to the military regime. They must immediately end the violence, uphold human rights, protect civilians, and remove obstacles to a comprehensive health and humanitarian response.
Defence Space Strategy
Today I am pleased to publish the defence space strategy. This strategy sets out a vision for the Ministry of Defence as a global actor in the space domain. It articulates how the MOD will deliver the national space strategy’s “protect and defend” goal through capabilities, operations and the growth of a space workforce. It also emphasises the value of alliances and partnerships in pursuit of a safe and secure space domain. I am placing a copy of the DSS in the Library of the House.
The DSS explains how the MOD has apportioned its spending review 2020 allocation for space capabilities and activity: £1.4 billion over 10 years, in addition to the £5 billion over 10 years already allocated to our future Skynet satellite communications capability.
The DSS also reinforces all four of the 2021 integrated review’s objectives to: strengthen security and defence at home and overseas; build resilience; sustain strategic advantage through science and technology; and shape the international order of the future.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2022-02-01/HCWS576/
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Report: “Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks
Today, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its investigation report on child sexual exploitation by organised networks.
The report relates to the NCSA’s investigation as to whether there is evidence of conspiracy, cover-up, interference or tolerance in relation to child sexual abuse committed by persons of public prominence associated with organised networks and whether governmental, political and law enforcement institutions were aware of and took appropriate steps for safeguarding and child protection.
I pay tribute to the strength and courage of the victims and survivors who have shared their experiences to ensure the inquiry can deliver its vital work.
The Government will review this report and consider how to respond to its content in due course. I would like to thank Professor Jay and her panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, identify what went wrong in the past and learn the lessons for the future.
I have today laid this report before the House and it will also be published on www.gov.uk.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Advanced Research and Invention Agency
The leadership of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) has been the subject of much Parliamentary interest. Today, I am delighted to update the House that I have appointed Dr Peter Highnam as the agency’s first Chief Executive Officer and re-commenced the search for ARIA’s first Chair.
ARIA, the Government’s new science funding body, will focus solely on finding and funding ground-breaking research projects with the potential to transform the lives of people in the UK, and around the world.
This announcement comes at an opportune moment, as the legislation to create ARIA enters the final stages of its passage through Parliament, ahead of the agency becoming fully operational later this year.
Dr Peter Highnam will play a pivotal role in ARIA’s formative years by defining the agency’s vision, recruiting its first programme managers, and establishing its organisational culture. He will take post on 3 May 2022 for a fixed term of five years.
Dr Peter Highnam brings a wealth of experience to the role, as he has served as Deputy Director at the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since February 2018, and as acting director on two occasions. He has previously held positions as the Director of Research at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and as Director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. Born in the UK, Dr Peter Highnam holds a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. He obtained his master’s degree at the University of Bristol, and his undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester.
The appointment has been made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments, following a fair and open competition overseen by an Advisory Assessment Panel.
To support Dr Peter Highnam, I am re-launching the campaign to find ARIA’s first Chair. Once appointed, ARIA’s Chair will have the unique opportunity to be a trusted counsel for Dr Peter Highnam as he leads the agency through its fledgling years.