On 18th and 20th September 2017 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, received written answers to five questions about Sudan, on the humanitarian impact of sanctions, the demolition of churches and the human rights situation:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds:
(i) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian impact of sanctions on the people of Sudan.
(ii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the United States regarding the suspension or refinement of sanctions on Sudan.
(iii) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the efficacy of sanctions on Sudan.
(iv) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the human rights situation and current levels of humanitarian access in Sudan.
(v) To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Sudan regarding the demolition of churches built on land that has since been designated for buildings other than places of worship.
(i) Lord Bates: HMG, through DFID, follows the humanitarian situation closely and provides over 550 thousand vulnerable people in Sudan with humanitarian assistance each year. DFID supports Sudan’s most vulnerable people to meet their basic needs, sustain their livelihoods, and build their resilience to crises.
We welcome the temporary suspension of US bilateral economic sanctions on Sudan, which if lifted permanently will support progress towards inclusive economic development for Sudan’s people. We encourage the Government of Sudan to continue to make the required progress to enable permanent lifting of US sanctions. The UK continues to apply the United Nations’ arms embargo and targeted sanctions in Darfur, as well as the European Union arms embargo on Sudan.
(ii) & (iii) Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: There has been a reduction of large scale armed conflict in Sudan, which was a key priority for the British Government. We will continue to support the targeted UN sanctions and arms embargo on Darfur, as well as the EU arms embargo that remains in place across Sudan. We welcome the suspension of US bilateral economic sanctions on Sudan, which, if lifted permanently, will support progress towards economic development. We encourage the government of Sudan to make the required progress in order to enable the permanent lifting of US economic sanctions.
(iv) Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: We continue to be concerned by the human rights situation in Sudan. This includes restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, and sexual and gender based violence, especially in the conflict areas of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile.
Whilst the release and pardon of six human rights activists by the government of Sudan, including Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam, an issue on which the UK actively lobbied the government of Sudan, was a positive development, considerable human rights challenges remain. Sudan is a Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights Priority Country and improving human rights is a key objective in our engagement.
The UN states that there has been an improvement in levels of humanitarian access in Sudan, including to previously inaccessible parts of Darfur. We welcome this and encourage the government of Sudan to make further progress on full humanitarian access.
(v) Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The British Government continues to be deeply concerned by reports of the demolition of churches in Sudan. Through the UK-Sudan Strategic Dialogue, and our policy of phased engagement, we continue to raise human rights issues with the government of Sudan and make regular representations on freedom of religion or belief, including in relation to reported church demolitions, most recently during the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Sudan in July.