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Democratic Republic of Congo

Volume 716: debated on Tuesday 5 January 2010

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Tanzania about arms trafficking into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL558]

These allegations were discussed in a recent bilateral between the Foreign Secretary and the Tanzanian Foreign Minister at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting. The Government of Tanzania have released a public statement denying any allegations of Tanzanian Government involvement. The Tanzanian police have announced that they will be conducting an investigation into the allegations in the report.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to strengthen the due diligence process for United Kingdom companies operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL600]

The Government encourage UK-registered companies to follow the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Government also promote the OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones which assists companies in applying a due diligence process in countries where Governments are unwilling or unable to assume their responsibilities.

Government officials overseas also play a significant role in encouraging UK companies towards a due diligence approach (particularly in weak governance/conflict zones). Government's Business and Human Rights Toolkit, which explains how business operations may affect human rights, actions staff can take overseas to promote human rights, and guidance on complaints against UK companies using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's National Contact Point can be accessed on the Foreign and Commonwealth website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/human-rights/

The Government are an active member of the EU Task Force on the issue of Natural Resource Exploitation and Conflict, in which we have helped bring the private sector and non-governmental organisations together to address questions of due diligence in the mining sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The UK has worked with UN Security Council partners on the renewal and expansion of the sanctions regime in the DRC (Resolution 1896 (2009) was adopted by the Security Council on 30 November 2009). This new resolution mandates the Group of Experts to come up with recommendations to the Committee for guidelines on the exercise of due diligence to prevent indirect support to armed groups through the exploitation and trafficking of natural resources in the DRC.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made about United Kingdom companies and individuals named in the report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo. [HL601]

The Group of Experts has made recommendations for sanctioning individuals and entities. As I am sure you understand, we do not advise on whom the UK has recommended, or will be recommending, for sanctions. This is purely for practical purposes as to do so would give the individuals/companies concerned the opportunity to avoid the effects of any future asset freezes.

I can however assure you that the UK takes its obligations under the Democratic Republic of Congo sanctions regime very seriously and will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.