Skip to main content Skip to accessibility
This website is not compatible with your web browser. You should install a newer browser. If you live in Jersey and need help upgrading call the States of Jersey web team on 440099.
Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Correspondence regarding medical aid provided to Palestinians (FOI)

Correspondence regarding medical aid provided to Palestinians (FOI)

Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 10 January 2024.
Prepared internally, no external costs.

​​​Original Request

The International Development Minister (the “Minister”) has publicly said that “robust controls” are in place to ensure that aid sent by Jersey Overseas Aid goes to intended beneficiaries.

Jersey Overseas Aid gave £103,000 to Medical Aid for Palestinians for Promoting Women's Rights and Inclusive Health prior to the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on 7 October.

Hamas are the Government of Gaza and a Designated Terror Group under Jersey law. 

Please disclose:

  • All correspondence between the Minister or her Department with the Executive of Jersey Overseas Aid or its Commissioners relating to the selection process for this charity, reviews of the funding proposals, risk assessments, Minutes; 
  • Details of the robust controls that the Minister claims to be place to ensure the aid reached intended beneficiaries; and
  • Any correspondence, notes or memoranda of the Minister or her Department post October 7 2023 which demonstrate whether any medical supplies or medicines bought with these funds were in the possession of Hamas before, on or after October 7 2023.

Original Response

Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (JOA) is not a Scheduled Public Authority under the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 therefore not subject to Freedom of information Legislation but was established as a separate corporate body by way of the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (Jersey) Law 2005.

Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (Jersey) Law 2005 (

That Law reflects that the Chairman of the Commission must be a member of the States but goes on to provide that during their appointment, each Commissioner shall be an officer of the Commission (Article 5.4).

As such, any correspondence and included documentation between:

  • Other Jersey Overseas Aid members and the individual who happens to be Minister, when said individual is acting as Chair / an officer of the Commission; and/or
  • Any correspondence between other JOA members into which such individual may be copied because she is Chair or an officer of the Commission, 

is not subject to Freedom of Information legislation. It is concluded that the requested correspondence and associated documentation was processed by Deputy Labey in her capacity as the Chair of the JOA and officer of the Commission and therefore not disclosable under the Freedom of Information law. The requested information requested is therefore not held by the Government of Jersey. Article 3 of the Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 applies. 

However, please see the link below from the Hansard pages of the States Assembly website within which donations from Jersey Overseas Aid to Palestine were discussed during a Ministerial Questions without Notice session on 7th November 2023. 

Hansard 7 November 2023 (

The following extract is of note: 

5. Questions to Ministers without notice - The Minister for International Development

5.1 Deputy B. Ward:

Can the Minister update the Assembly on Jersey’s response to the escalation of violence in Palestine?

Deputy C.F. Labey of Grouville and St. Martin (The Minister for International Development):

May I first say how appalled we are, Jersey Overseas Aid and in the Island, to witness the tragic loss of life in Israel and Palestine, and we continue to monitor the situation very closely as humanitarian needs in the region were significant even before the recent escalation of violence.  Most recently Jersey’s response has been a rapid and urgent increase to the needs and we have allocated £200,000 to the U.N.O.C.H.A. (United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Palestine Humanitarian Fund, which is a U.N. country-based pooled fund.  Jersey funds will go towards addressing priority needs including food, water, medicine and shelter. 

5.2 Deputy M.R. Scott:

With respect to the funding in respect of Palestine, I am sure States Members are aware of the difficulties in helping people in the Gaza area given the Israeli action that has taken place, and the problems in terms of there being a formal ceasefire, but also the moves to have a pause in hostilities.  I am asking the Minister for International Development, in order to ensure that aid can go into the area is she perhaps liaising with the Minister for External Relations to support this move?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

I have been liaising with the Minister for External Relations.  Obviously our roles are very different here; my main focus is to get aid into Palestine where there is the need.  That is my focus; it clearly is not the Minister ... well it is the Minister for External Relations’ interest, but we have been liaising, for example, about writing the unity statement to show a coming together of our community. 


5.2.1 Deputy M.R. Scott:

The actual question was in relation to the problems with the delivery of aid, given the continuation of hostilities and, therefore, whether the Minister might consider more of an interaction with the Minister for External Relations to see whether there can be any support of a cessation in hostility to enable aid to be delivered.

Deputy C.F. Labey:

We have certainly discussed a ceasefire; I think everybody wants to see a ceasefire, but for now I think the best we can hope for is a pause so we can get humanitarian aid in.  We have obviously been liaising with the N.G.O. (non-governmental organisation) that we have chosen to deliver, which is U.N.O.C.H.A., we have been dealing with the country-based pool funds since 2016 and we feel that is the most effective way of delivering our aid. 

5.3 Deputy L.J. Farnham:

I missed Deputy Scott’s supplementary - I hope I am not going to repeat it - but can the Minister give assurances to the Assembly that assistance provided by the J.O.A. (Jersey Overseas Aid) will get to the civilians in need in occupied Palestinian territory?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

That is a good question and there is no such thing as 100 per cent risk-free humanitarian relief.  We have to acknowledge that it is an incredibly complex and challenging environment in which to work and that the emergency aid is delivered in, and none more challenging situations than in Gaza.  It has got to be acknowledged that many aid workers have also died in this recent conflict.  Our responsibility, as I have said, is to work through our partners who have the strictest and tightest risk mitigation measures in place, and they operate in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.  Those are the values that Jersey Overseas Aid follow very closely. 

5.4 The Connétable of St. Helier:

Shocking and tragic as the recent events are in the Middle East we are, of course, also aware that the war in Ukraine continues and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas is still happening as the country moves into winter.  Could the Minister update us as to how the Jersey Overseas Aid is supporting Ukraine as the war there continues?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

Jersey has given so far - Jersey Overseas Aid and the people of Jersey through the Bailiff’s Fund - £3.4 million to Ukraine.  Jersey Overseas Aid through its emergency relief funding has this year given £124,000, so we continue to monitor, we continue to work with agencies on the ground.  We are following our minesweeping techniques mainly to teach women in minesweeping, and the incubator kits that we continue to supply in the Ukraine.

The Connétable of St. Helier:

​I just wanted to ask if the Minister would convey to all the team at Jersey Overseas Aid the thanks of the Assembly for all the work they are doing. 

5.5 Deputy S.G. Luce:

Getting back to the hostilities in the Gaza Strip.  The Minister has told us that she is working through partners, United Nations partners, but can she confirm whether the partners have delivered any of this aid that we are contributing to into these areas?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

As I said, we have donated to the U.N.O.C.H.A. pooled funding.  Being a relatively small donor we feel it is the most effective way of getting aid through.  We have given the aid to them, they have warehouses there and we are waiting for access to be negotiated so we can get the aid in.  So we do receive reports back and we will be receiving reports back when the funding has been delivered but at the moment the vital element, as I have said, is to get access so that humanitarian aid can actually be delivered. 

5.6 Deputy A. Howell:

On a slightly different note, I see that the Jersey Overseas Aid are advertising a community work project this evening and I wondered if you could please update the Assembly on what will be happening. 

Deputy C.F. Labey:

Thank you, that is a nice question.  Yes, we have the launch of our 2024 community work projects next year.  We are putting 4 projects on, which is the most we have ever done.  We are sending teams of volunteers to Rwanda, Malawi, Nepal and Kenya to build a sand dam.  If any States Members would like to come along I would encourage them.  I would also very much encourage them to take part in one of these because they are lifechanging experiences. 

5.7 Deputy S.Y. Mézec:

In answer to an earlier question, the Minister said words to the effect that everybody wants a ceasefire but the best we can hope for are pauses, which is not true because there are some international players in this scenario who actively oppose the policy of a ceasefire because they consciously think it is the wrong thing to do, not because they think it is an unrealistic thing to achieve.  One of the bodies that disagrees with that position is of course the U.N. itself, which is overtly calling for a ceasefire.  So could I ask the Minister for International Development whether she agrees with the U.N.?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

I would like to see a ceasefire, certainly.  I think most people would.  But the reality of the situation is that we are not a sovereign state, we follow the U.K. foreign policy and neither are we privy to the U.K. intelligence on this.  Again, I would very much like to see a ceasefire, I would like to see an end to these troubles, but I think the most we can hope for at this point in time, and the most urgent thing is - like the European Parliament have recognised whereby 500 out of the 545 M.E.P.s (Member of the European Parliament) supported a resolution to condemn Hamas, to release the hostages and support a humanitarian pause. 

5.8 Deputy S.G. Luce:

Over the weekend I have received reports, like the regular updates I get about families in Romania, and it is quite clear that while the main city may give the appearance of doing good things and buildings being built and roads being resurfaced, but out in the countryside conditions are awful for normal families, without running water in many cases, toilets, and general things that we just take for granted.  I know a lot of people in the Island support families in Romania and charities that go to Romania.  Can the Minister update us as to whether Overseas Aid has done any work with Romania in the last few years?

Deputy C.F. Labey:

No, it has not.  We have no reason to give emergency aid there and Romania is not one of our focus countries where we provide sustainable development, so the answer is no.  That is not to say a local charity that operates in the Island cannot apply for match funding or something of that nature in order to support particular communities. 

The Deputy Bailiff:

Thank you, Minister.  If there are no further questions for this Minister then we will move on to questions for the Chief Minister. 

Some information may be made available by Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, at their discretion. Please see the contact details below:  

Contact us | Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (​

Article applied 

Article 3 - Meaning of “information held by a public authority”

For the purposes of this Law, information is held by a public authority if –

(a)     it is held by the authority, otherwise than on behalf of another person; or

(b)     it is held by another person on behalf of the authority.

Internal Review Request

I would like to request an internal review. I do not believe the legal analysis, that basically a Minister can wear 'different hats', is right and it is not supported by any form of legal analysis. 

I do not believe that the statute governing Jersey Overseas Aid overrides the definition of a Minister under the Freedom of Information Law. In the same way that a director of a company can never turn off their responsibility as a director, neither can a Minister. 

Please may I enquire whether the Minister uses her email account when dealing as Chair of Jersey Overseas Aid or whether she uses a separate Jersey Overseas Aid mail account not held on Government servers. If the latter, then I may be able to be persuaded. If the former, then the position stated is untenable.

Internal Review Response

This review has been completed by two senior staff members of the Government of Jersey, independent of the original decision-making process. The original response has been reviewed and assessed to identify whether the application of the exemption had been applied correctly.

In the same way that an individual may be a director of a number of different a group companies, and when acting as a director of each such company, wears a different hat, a Minister always potentially wears at least two hats- that of Minister and that of “States Member”. 

An individual who is a Minister can also separately be a company director or be a trustee for a charity, or in this case, be a Commissioner.

The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (Jersey) Law 2005 (, (the “JOAC Law”) being the statute governing the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (the “Commission”) does not override the definition of a Minister under the FOI law. Please see the following link: 

Jersey Overseas Aid Commission (Jersey) Law 2005 (

The JOAC Law provides in Article 4(2) (b) that the Commission’s membership is as “specified in the Constitution”.

The constitution of the Commission is found in Schedule 1 to the JOAC Law and specifies in Article 5.1 that the membership consists of:

(a)        a Chairman;

(b)        2 States Commissioners; and

(c)        3 Non-States Commissioners.

Article 5.1 does not specify that the office of Minister (which is in accordance with Article 26 of the States of Jersey Law 2005 a legal body (corporation sole) in its own right), is to be a member of the Commission. In fact, the JOAC Law and Constitution make no reference to Ministers at all. Please see the link below: 

States of Jersey Law 2005

Instead in Article 5.2 of Schedule 1 provides that the Chairman and “States Commissioners” must be “an elected member of the States”.

The Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (“FOI Law”) applies to “Scheduled Public Authorities” (“SPA’s”) being public authorities described in Schedule 1 to such law. Please see the following link: 

Freedom of Information (Jersey) Law 2011 (​

Whilst a Minister is an SPA, members of the States of Jersey are not, nor is the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission or a States Commissioner of the JOAC described in Schedule 1 to the FOI Law.   

To make the work of the Commission subject to FOI Law would therefore run counter to both the terms of the FOI Law and the terms of the JOAC Law. 

As regards the comments on the use of a account, what email account may be used by the Deputy of Grouville and St Martin when corresponding on a particular matter is not necessarily capable of conclusively determining the role that correspondence is being sent under.​

Back to top
rating button