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Leaving the EU: Human Rights

Volume 671: debated on Tuesday 4 February 2020

14. What plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals for a UK autonomous global human rights sanctions regime after the UK leaves the EU. (900599)

Now that we have left the EU and regained control of our sanctions rules, we will be bringing into force our own global human rights Magnitsky-style sanctions regime, which will give us a powerful new tool to hold the world’s human rights abusers to account.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that any new Magnitsky legislation must be targeted at the worst human rights abusers, including those perpetrating terror against minorities in China, most notably the Uighurs and the Tibetans? To that end, will he support my Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill, mirroring legislation passed in the US which is throwing a spotlight on some of the worst human rights abuses against the Tibetans within China?

I thank my hon. Friend for his question and pay tribute to his tenacious efforts in this regard. When I was in Washington, on the hill, I had a number of conversations about US legislation and the approach it is taking. He is right to say that our regime should target the worst human rights abusers. He will see the individuals designated in due course, but I can reassure him that our approach will be universal in its scope.

The 6,500 children fleeing Idlib in Syria daily, where barrel bombs are being used on hospitals and schools, must wonder where on earth the protectors of their human rights are. Unfortunately, in this House we have all but forgotten them. What is the Foreign Secretary’s plan to ensure that those children know that their human rights are protected?

I share the hon. Lady’s concern about the situation in Syria. We encourage all the actors—whether it is the Russians, the Turks or, indeed, the Assad regime itself—to find a peaceful way through. We support the UN efforts to find a peaceful solution and, in particular, the humanitarian relief that will provide relief to the children and other vulnerable people suffering in that terrible conflict.