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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Working for Britons held overseas

Sunday, December 2, 2007

At a reception held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to recognise the work of ‘Prisoners Abroad’ the organisation caring for Britons held overseas, Meg made the following remarks.

For further information visit: http://www.prisonersabroad.org.uk/index.html

 

May I welcome you to the, to what I understand has become both an enjoyable, and valuable, tradition. 

 

Assisting British prisoners overseas is an important part of our work at the Foreign Office. At the last count, consular officials were aware of over two thousand British nationals in detention around the world, a number in difficult circumstances, sometimes experiencing very harsh conditions.

 

We have been working with Prisoners Abroad for over 20 years, since 1994 providing financial support.  Over that time our relationship has grown, based as it is on common values and objectives. Like us, Prisoners Abroad does not take a view on guilt or innocence. We are both concerned with basic humanitarian needs and the human rights of British prisoners overseas and their families at home.

 

Our strengths and interests are complementary.  There are limits to the assistance we can provide British prisoners overseas and Prisoners Abroad can plug some of those gaps. The experience of British nationals in prison overseas and on their return, as well as their families at home, is made easier for the advice, support and assistance that Prisoners Abroad provides.

 

They are a charity that improves the lives of hundreds of people every day.  They provide practical advice to prisoners, English books and magazines, money for the bare necessities of food, toiletries and bedding, medical assistance, a link to home, support for families left behind and resettlement for those returning to the UK.

 

On their first visit to British citizens in detention, our consular staff provide information on Prisoners Abroad and pass back their registration details to Prisoners Abroad when needed. We in turn rely on Prisoners Abroad to bring issues of welfare and human rights to the attention of consular staff. We ensure all the financial assistance provided by Prisoners Abroad reaches the prisoners across 80 countries.

 

But despite all of this good work, Prisoners Abroad does not find it easy to raise funds.  Their high quality work, together with government’s collaboration and funding, plus your partnership and financial support - we can all make a difference to people in desperate need.

 

I am pleased to see you here recognising the work of Prisoners Abroad. It’s really important that they receive the support they need in order to continue their important work.

 

I am also delighted to see our former colleague Sir Martin Berthoud honoured for his commitment and hard work for British prisoners abroad.

 

Thank you.


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