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Promoting freedom and democracy. Poverty? Not so much. June 29, 2022

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.
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This from the Guardian notes that with the merger of the UK Foreign Office with the Department for International Developments there’s a new emphasis from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss:

Liz Truss told the committee that in the past she thought the aid budget was not sufficiently focused “on promoting freedom and democracy” and she said some aid money would now be spent on a G7 initiative intended to challenge China’s Belt and Road initative.

Truss insisted alleviating suffering was still a priority for aid spending, but the Independent’s Rob Merrick was not convinced.

Fascinating to see the implications of all this in practical terms. For example, humanitarian aid has been slashed.

UK direct humanitarian aid to foreign countries was £744m last year, compared with £1.53bn in 2020, a cut of 51%, according to the most recent provisional UK aid figures. UK official development assistance was nearly £11.5bn last year, compared with £14.48bn in 2020, a fall of 21%.

And:

Separate figures published in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) annual report last year revealed direct UK aid and planned aid to Ethiopia fell from £241m in 2020/21 to £108m in 2021/22, a cut of 55%; aid to Kenya fell from £67m to £41m, a cut of 39%; and aid to Somalia fell from £121m to £71m, a cut of 41%.

One of the largest global humanitarian crises is in Yemen, devastated by eight years of civil war. About 24 million people need help, including nearly 13 million children. UK aid to Yemen fell from £221m 2020/21 to £82m in 2021/22, a cut of 63%.

And just on the promotion of freedom and democracy. Can Truss call it like it is?

Back at the foreign affairs committee Chris Bryant (Lab) told Liz Truss she said the government wanted to end its reliance on authoritarian regimes for energy. “How would you describe the Gulf states?” he asked.

Truss said she would regard them as partners of the UK.

When Bryant put it to her that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi, and that Saudi Arabia had carried out 81 executions in one day, Truss said it was an important partner for the UK. “We’re not dealing with a perfect world,” she said, although she did not accept Bryant’s request to accept that the country was authoritarian.

She also claimed that she did raise human rights issues with the Gulf states. But when Bryant asked her to tell the committee the last time she did raise a human rights issue with a Gulf state leader, she said she would have to get back to the committee with the answer.

So the answer is, apparently she can’t call it like it is. 

Comments»

1. mal - June 30, 2022

Sure why try and prevent starvation and poverty when you can push your political agendas.

Liked by 1 person


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