MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates developments in Western Balkans

Source: British House Of Lords News

09 January 2019
Members of the Lords, including a former member of the UN Secretary-General High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change and a former senior special adviser to the Foreign Secretary, will debate developments in the Western Balkans and the threat posed by instability and insecurity in that region, in the House of Lords on Thursday 10 January.

This is a general debate. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
This debate will take place in the Moses Room, a room outside the Lords chamber used to host extra work. Any member can attend and participate, as with debates in the Lords chamber.
The debate was proposed by Baroness Helic (Conservative), former senior special adviser to the Foreign Secretary
Members expected to take part include:
Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative), former minister of state for the Commonwealth and the UN in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour), director VERTIC, support organisation for effective verification of international agreements
Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench), former member of the UN Secretary-General High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Earl of Sandwich (Crossbench), adviser to humanitarian aid organisation CARE International
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative), minister of state in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: Open Street Map

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MIL-OSI UK: Ministers questioned on inequalities faced by Gypsy Roma and Traveller communities

Source: British House of Commons News

08 January 2019
The Women and Equalities Committee questions ministers from three Government Departments about the inequalities experienced by Gypsy Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities. This is the final evidence session of the inquiry.

Purpose of the session
Areas likely to be covered include:
Who holds responsibility for various aspects of Gypsy Roma and Traveller welfare
Whether the ministerial working group commitments in 2012 are still relevant in ministerial thinking
Whether there is any joined-up strategising across departments to try to tackle inequalities, especially in light of the Race Disparity Audit
Whether changes in policy in various areas have been have been having any significant impact on the lives of Gypsy Roma and Traveller people
How data collection can be improved and what ministers plan to do to implement necessary changes.
Witnesses
Wednesday 9 January, Room 6, Palace of Westminster.
At 09.50am:
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department of Health)
Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Education)
Further information

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MIL-OSI UK: Human Rights in International Agreements inquiry launched

Source: British House of Commons News

13 December 2018
The Joint Committee on Human Rights launches inquiry into whether parliament should set up a specific mechanism to scrutinise international agreements for compliance with human rights and what processes should be followed to ensure adequate scrutiny of compliance with human rights standards in international agreements post-Brexit.

Background
International Agreements contain increasingly important provisions in a modern, globalised world and can have significant impacts on a huge variety of areas. Deals done in such agreements can impact on the human rights of those living in the UK and also the human rights of those living overseas. This could involve justice or home affairs treaties, such as mutual legal cooperation or extradition treaties, or trade deals allowing businesses special access to markets or the export of goods that could be used in human rights violations. All of these agreements have the potential to impact human rights, such as the rights of workers, the right to be free from servitude and forced labour, and the right to privacy of data as it passes across borders.
Send us your views
The Joint Committee on Human Rights seeks written evidence on the best mechanisms to ensure that human rights are protected in the UK’s future international agreements.  In particular we are interested in the following questions:
Should the UK Parliament have better mechanisms for scrutinising the human rights protections contained in international agreements contemplated by the UK?  If yes, what processes, information and analysis might be appropriate? What should the JCHR’s role be?
Should the UK require standard clauses in international agreements to protect human rights?  For example: 

should the UK require a standard exemptions clause such that nothing in the agreement prevents the UK from adopting measures necessary for the protection of the UK’s domestic and international human rights obligations?
should the UK require a standard suspension clause to highlight the importance of human rights in inter-State relations and to provide for potential sanctions if human rights standards slip below a certain threshold?
how should UK international trade rules ensure adequate restrictions continue to apply to the export of equipment that could be used in human rights abuses, such as torture?

The House of Lords Constitution Committee is also inquiring into Parliamentary Scrutiny of treaties more broadly.
Send a submission to the Human Rights Protections in International Agreements inquiry
Submissions should be no more than 1,500 words.  The deadline for submissions is Monday 14 January 2019.
The Committee is likely to take evidence early in the New Year so prompt submission is particularly helpful
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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