On 18th July 2017, Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Saudi Arabia about the imminent execution of fourteen people, including two juveniles. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Revd. Justin Welby, asked a follow-up question. Below is his question and its ministerial response.
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, as the noble Lord said a few moments ago, we have heard some very balanced and judicious answers, with considerable condemnation and very clear statements. However, surely the depth of our relationship with Saudi Arabia in trade and finance, and the presence of many Saudi Arabians in this country—the long-standing way in which we have been together through war and peace—would indicate that we have the options for significantly more leverage than mere condemnation. I wonder what other measures the Government are taking which involve action as well as condemnation, particularly over this question.
Baroness Goldie: I thank the most reverend Primate for his question. There always has to be a mix of representation of view and opinion and certainly condemnation of activity, where, in the opinion of the United Kingdom Government, that condemnation is justified. Saudi Arabia is aware of our concerns. We have continued to represent these concerns at all levels, as I said earlier to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace, in the most robust and clamant way we can. At the end of the day, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state and it is not possible for us to interfere with either its judicial system or its constitutional approach to these matters—but we can make clear, as we do, our profound disapproval of and opposition to abuses of human rights and the deployment of the death penalty.