Baroness Cox – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Baroness Cox on 2016-06-15.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they or the UN are collecting reports or intelligence detailing suspected crimes against humanity or genocide in Iraq and Syria, and if so, whether that information will be used to profile people who wish to enter the UK from that region.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

We have provided over £8 million to support the documentation of human rights abuses and violations in Syria and Iraq.

In Syria, we support the work of the UN Commission of Inquiry and continue to call for them to be given unhindered access to investigate human rights violations and abuses. The UK provides financial support to a specialist organisation to collate and build prosecution-ready criminal case files against the high level perpetrators in Syria. These cases are built for international prosecution should a referral to the International Criminal Court be forthcoming, or should individuals be subject to litigation by hybrid, specialised and national courts.

In Iraq, the UK co-sponsored the UN Human Rights Council Resolution in September 2014 mandating the investigation of Daesh abuses. The UN continues to issue regular reports on abuses committed by Daesh in Iraq. Through our Human Rights and Democracy Fund we funded a project that documents case of sexual violence crimes.

A unit within the Office of Counter-Terrorism monitors various country situations, focusing on issues such as international crimes. This information can be used to help identify possible perpetrators and also to support any decision to refuse their application to enter or stay in the UK.

Where there is credible evidence that a visa applicant has been involved in international crimes (war crimes and crimes against humanity) their case will be investigated further. This applies to any nationality. If there is sufficient evidence, the applicant would be refused entry on the of grounds of their character, conduct or associations. It is also possible to exclude such people from the UK by virtue of the Home Secretary, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Theresa May)’s powers under the Immigration Act. With regard to Syria, applicants under the Syrian Humanitarian Assistance Programme are also screened for any security concerns; including international crimes.