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Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had with the Government of Nepal regarding the situation of indigenous groups and untouchables who are the victims of bonded labour in Nepal; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Foulkes: Our officials have in recent weeks been in dialogue with senior Government of Nepal officials in the Home Ministry and Prime Minister's Office in support of the campaign to make bonded labour illegal in Nepal. I am pleased to report that the Government of Nepal decided on 17 July to make this practice illegal and in so doing cancelled all related debts. The challenge now is how to ensure legislation is enforced, and to support these individuals in securing future livelihood opportunities. In addition to existing UK support to an Integrated Social Development Programme which works directly with bonded labourers and untouchables, we have informed the Government of Nepal that the UK is ready to assist further in the rehabilitation of bonded labourers. We are also working to mobilise the support of other donors.
Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she has taken to ensure that the 1999 annual report of her Department is made available to blind and visually impaired people. 
Mr. Foulkes: Given the relatively specialist nature of many of our publications, we have not normally made them available systematically in audio, braille or large print formats. The Departmental Report falls into this category. In the case of such publications, we consider any requests for audio or braille formats case by case and in the light of the provisions of the relevant legislation. We are however looking to continue to improve the accessibility of our publications for blind and visually impaired people, particularly in the case of those publications aimed at a broader public audience. This includes reviewing the scope for making more use of large print and audio formats, as well as ensuring the availability of material in appropriate formats via the internet.
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|Democratic Republic of Congo||550,000|
|Great Lakes/Central Africa||277,936,549|
|South Eastern Europe||39,024,792|
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Mr. Foulkes: It is not the normal practice of the Government to publish a daily Ministerial Duty Roster. This Department will ensure that it has sufficient cover through the summer recess in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.
The Solicitor-General: The significance of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the work of the CPS was recognised at an early stage, and a high priority has been given to ensure that preparations are well under way for implementation of the Act in October 2000.
In consultation with other prosecuting agencies and leading external human rights experts, the CPS has developed a comprehensive training course for CPS prosecutors. The training programme aims to reach over 3,000 key staff before the end of July.
This training programme and the continued guidance and advice that CPS staff will receive will ensure that cases giving rise to Human Rights issues will be dealt with in a wholly professional and effective manner. Initially, we expect that human rights problems will be raised in ordinary cases, and they will be dealt with in the ordinary way. We have anticipated additional costs, and there is no doubt that they will arise.
A witness satisfaction survey, conducted by BMRB Social Research on behalf of the Home Office, is to take place this month and next. The CPS co-operated with the planning of this survey, which will obtain a broad indication of the level of satisfaction of witnesses with their treatment by criminal justice agencies.
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The Crown Prosecution Service regards violence in a domestic context as particularly serious. Prosecutors will therefore consider the full range of prosecution options, whether or not the victim is willing or able to attend court as a witness.
The Solicitor-General: The essential criterion used in selecting the new Treasury Solicitor was whether he or she could fulfil the role. This means that the successful candidate should, among other things, be able personally to give advice to Ministers on a range of legal issues, often of a highly sensitive nature; be able to act as the Chief Executive of the Treasury Solicitor's Department, which is an executive agency; be able to act as Head of the Government Legal Service with overall responsibility for recruitment, training and career development of some 1,300 Government lawyers; and, finally, be able to implement the Modernising Government programme within the Government Legal Service. Miss Juliet Wheldon, who is the new Treasury solicitor, fully meets all of these requirements.
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