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Debate on question raised by Baroness D’Souza (Life Peer) in the House of Lords on 22nd October 2020

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Debate on question raised by Baroness D’Souza (Life Peer) in the House of Lords on 22nd October 2020

Baroness D’Souza:

‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of the United Arab Emirates about the possible repatriation of 18 former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen.’

Reply from Baroness Sugg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office):

‘My Lords, we have not made representations to the Government of the UAE on their plans to return 18 former Guantanamo Bay detainees to Yemen. The UK regularly raises human rights issues with the UAE, and we remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Yemen. We will monitor the situation closely.’ 

Reply from Baroness D’Souza:

‘I thank the Minister for what was a rather disappointing reply. UN experts have expressed deep concern about the 18 previous Guantanamo detainees, all of whom have been cleared of being terrorist suspects by no less than six USA security bodies. They have already undergone two decades of detention and mistreatment, first in Guantanamo and then in the UAE. Repatriation to Yemen would likely result in torture, disappearance and death.

Given the UK’s principled opposition to the Guantanamo detention facility and the death penalty and its often-stated close relationship with the UAE, which allows it to raise sensitive human rights issues, will the Government now call on the UAE to release these men immediately from arbitrary detention and the threat of forcible repatriation?’

Reply from Baroness Sugg:

‘My Lords, the case is ultimately one between the parties involved—the UAE, Yemen and the United States—but as the noble Baroness highlights, we remain committed to the promotion of universal freedoms and human rights. As she also highlights, we are more likely to bring about change through engagement, dialogue and cooperation. We will continue our relationship with the UAE and raise human rights issues both in private and in public.’ 

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