HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 cc611-2W
Angus Robertson

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the concerns raised by(a) Mr. Dennis McNamara, Inspector General of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UN HCR) and (b) Dr. Dawit Zawde, President and CEO of Africa Humanitarian Action during his presentation to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees' pre-Governing Executive Committee meeting in Geneva on 2 October; what plans his Department has to address these concerns; and if he will make a statement. [133655]

Hilary Benn

The Government attaches high priority to the concerns raised by Dennis McNamara on the safety and security of humanitarian workers in Iraq and other conflict-affected countries. Prior to the conflict in Iraq, DFID provided the Office of the UN Security Coordinator (UNSECOORD) with £100,000 for security support measures and a further £500,000 immediately following conflict also to support UN security. Since the bombing of the UN Headquarters, DFID funds of up to £3 million have been earmarked to UNSECOORD for extra staff, equipment and measures for improving UN security.

DFID maintains regular contact with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) working in Iraq, at which safety and security issues are carefully considered. Where necessary DFID is supporting NGOs to enhance security measures through our programme support to their work in Iraq.

Dr. Dawit Zawde raised concerns that smaller NGOs are being sidelined in favour of larger ones. DFID does not exclude small agencies. We are focused on achieving results and DFID will work with smaller agencies when this is the most effective way of achieving our objectives.

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