HL Deb 17 March 2005 vol 670 cc67-8WS
Baroness Amos

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Gareth Thomas) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Earlier today, I informed the government of Nepal that the Department for International Development was ending support to Nepal's police, prison services and the Prime Minister's office. A total of £2.4 million had been committed but £1.3 million remains unspent and will now be cancelled.

This follows the dismissal of the Government by King Gyanendra of Nepal on 1 February. Since then, the UK Government have been carrying out an initial assessment of the implications for our development partnership with Nepal. Assistance will continue to be kept under review.

The criteria against which decisions on DfID assistance are made are the ability to make an effective contribution towards the millennium development goals and the safety and security of staff. We need to ensure that our programmes can continue to benefit poor and excluded people in Nepal. It is vital that the government of Nepal maintain agreed financial allocations to essential development services, such as health and education, and not divert them to other purposes.

Along with the rest of the international donor community, the safety and welfare of staff carrying out development programmes, especially those in the field, is of paramount importance. We will not continue programmes in the face of increased and unacceptable risk or interference. The UK has called on both parties to the violent conflict in Nepal to ensure that the international community can continue to provide the development assistance that is needed to provide essential services to the poor. The Department for International Development will press for concrete measures by both sides to affirm that they will do everything in their power to safeguard poverty reduction programmes and staff.

We are deeply concerned about human rights in Nepal and will continue to work with others in the international community to encourage democracy in Nepal, the full protection of human rights by both parties to the conflict and progress towards a peace process.

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