§ The Earl of Sandwich
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have a new policy to maintain a "restrictive position" on the funding of expatriate staff of non-governmental organisations in Afghanistan; and, if so, whether it is on the grounds of insecurity; whether it applies to all aid agencies; whether it has any legal basis; and whether it has been tested or applied elsewhere. [HL371]
§ Baroness Amos
The Government's policy on assistance to Afghanistan was set out by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development on 8 December in response to a Parliamentary Question from Neil Gerrard MP. In her statement, Clare Short made clear that, because of security concerns, we are continuing to advise British aid workers against returning to Afghanistan. This means that DFID is not able to support NGOs that send expatriates back into the country. This restriction does not apply in the same way to the International Committee of the Red Cross and UN agencies because of their specially mandated role under international agreements.
We consider that we have a duty of care towards people employed by the NGOs we fund in situations of armed conflict and physical instability. This includes people of all nationalities (expatriate and local) employed through DFID funding. We seek to ensure in all such situations that our funding does not drive NGO staff to imprudent behaviour by motivating them to take undue risks in conducting their work or discharging their obligations towards us.
The legal base for such action is the Overseas Development and Co-operation Act 1980.