HC Deb 25 November 1997 vol 301 c495W
Mr. Rowlands

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list those countries to which development assistance has been(a) curtailed and (b) suspended on grounds of the human rights record of the government of that state. [17317]

Clare Short

Since May 1997, aid from my Department's budget to Sierra Leone has been suspended, although we continue to assist the elected government which is now in exile. Aid also remains suspended through the governments of countries such as Burma, Nigeria and Sudan. In these cases, the regimes' records on human rights were one of the factors taken into account in our decisions. I have announced the outcome of my review of aid to Indonesia. In Belarus, in accordance with EU policy, we will not work through state organisations in future and will provide only humanitarian or regional support or support which directly promotes the process of democratisation. In countries where aid through central official channels has been suspended, we retain our aim of helping to eliminate poverty and will pursue this by working through NGOs and local government. We thereby also show our solidarity with oppressed peoples.

Where we retain official aid, we may also wish to modify the pattern of aid, including possibly curtailing aid, in response to a number of short or longer term factors, including human rights. This is a continuous and general process and it is often difficult to draw out any one factor as critical to the outcome.

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