The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what contingency plans are in place to provide humanitarian aid in the event of a poor harvest in Burundi. [HL1693]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK Government is very concerned by the ongoing political unrest in Burundi and its humanitarian consequences. Burundi had high levels of food insecurity before the political crisis. However, the increase in market prices, the impact of late and heavy El-Nino rains, and the loss of livelihoods could result in further food insecurity and malnutrition.
DFID Ministers have already committed £3 million for humanitarian preparedness and early response within Burundi. We have further set aside contingency funds of up to £4 million should the situation deteriorate. DFID will monitor the humanitarian and food security situation and ensure appropriate support is provided if the situation warrants it.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diplomatic and financial assistance they are providing to the governments of Rwanda and Burundi to establish confidence-building measures that improve relations between those governments. [HL1691]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK remains deeply concerned about the ongoing political crisis in Burundi. The sharp deterioration in Burundi’s relationships with the region, including Rwanda, is particularly worrying. The recent restrictions imposed by Burundi on crossborder trade will further exacerbate the serious negative economic impact of the crisis on the lives of Rwandans and Burundians.
The UK is supporting a range of efforts to generate dialogue and ease tension in the region. We have worked with EU and UN Security Council partners to deliver strong and coherent international messaging to the government of Burundi. We have imposed EU sanctions on key individuals responsible for the violence; suspended direct EU aid to the government; and delivered robust strong Security Council Resolutions including July’s UNSCR 2303.
The former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge), visited Rwanda and Burundi in December 2015 and urged all parties to act responsibly to reduce violence. The UK Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Danae Dholakia, visits the region regularly to reinforce these messages. We have been clear in all our public and private dialogue with Rwanda on the need for neighbours to play a stabilising role in Burundi. The UK is also providing £6.85 million of DFID funding to support Burundian refugees in Rwanda.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial and diplomatic assistance they are providing to the East African Community and the UN to support them in their efforts to reduce existing tensions between the governments of Burundi and Rwanda. [HL1692]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The East African Community (EAC) has a central role to play in resolving the crisis in Burundi and mediating dialogue between Burundi and its neighbours. We strongly support the EAC mediation process, led by former Tanzanian President
Benjamin Mkapa. We have provided extensive diplomatic
support to the process through lobbying of regional leaders and attendance by our Special Envoy to the Great Lakes at meetings of the dialogue in May and July in Arusha, Tanzania.
Through our UN Security Council Membership we have worked with partners to ensure that EAC efforts are fully coordinated with, and supported by, the United Nations. In January 2016 our Ambassador to the United Nations participated in a Security Council visit to Burundi. In July the Security Council passed Resolution 2303 which welcomed the EAC’s efforts so far and called for all parties in the region to participate fully with the process.
The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they are providing to the government of Rwanda to tackle levels of inequality there. [HL1694]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: DFID supports various programmes that tackle economic and social inequalities in Rwanda. Our programmes on social protection, education and agriculture all support the Government of Rwanda to address inequality and focus on the needs and rights of the poorest and most excluded people. In addition to DFID’s direct support to Government
programmes, we also work with the private sector and
other partners to promote inclusive economic growth that
promotes social cohesion and reduces economic inequalities, creating decent and sustainable jobs for all.
We also work with non-governmental organisations and
civil society to address economic, social and gender inequalities. We have three dedicated programmes working on gender and women and girls’ empowerment, focusing on Gender Based Violence Prevention, the empowerment of adolescent girls, and addressing harmful social and gender norms.