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Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government plan to implement the provisions of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: The Government will apply the provisions of Part II to all the languages which they regard as meeting the Charter's definition of a regional or minority language. The Government will promote the use in public life of Welsh, Scottish-Gaelic and Irish by applying a minimum of 35 provisions from Part III to each of those languages.
Mr. Wilson [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Foreign Secretary, Baroness Scotland, the then Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Mr. Hain) and the Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) and I did not accept any invitations to Divali celebrations in 2000. The Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) accepted invitations from the Leicester Hindu Festival Council, the Leicester Bratma Samaj, the Shree Prajapati Association, London First and the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission in Neasden for Divali celebrations in 2000.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the result of the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education in October 1999; and what communications he has received concerning the recommendations of the special rapporteur. 
Mr. Battle: Following the special rapporteur's visit to the UK on October 1999, and her visit report which was presented to the Commission on Human Rights in 2000, we have not received any external communications about her visit.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for School Standards will meet the special rapporteur again on 7 February to discuss the report of her visit. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State and Deputy Home Secretary will also meet the special rapporteur to discuss her concerns about the provision of education in prisons.
2 Feb 2001 : Column: 352W
his decision to vote against resolution 2000/3 at the UN Human Rights Commission in March and April 2000 concerning the use of mercenaries; what position he will take in 2001; and what measures he has taken to regulate companies recruiting and offering the services of mercenaries. 
Mr. Battle: The EU does not believe the Commission on Human Rights is the appropriate forum to deal with the problem of mercenary activity. We share the view that this subject should be dealt with directly in the UN General Assembly's Sixth Committee. We have not decided what position we will take if and when we are asked to vote again this year. As in previous years, the UK, along with other member states of the European Union, could not support the resolution entitled "The Use of Mercenaries as a means of Violating Human Rights and Impeding the Exercise of the Right of Peoples to Self-Determination" at the 56th Session of the Commission on Human Rights in March-April 2000.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will sponsor with its European Union partners a resolution at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights this year condemning bonded labour and other forms of slavery. 
Mr. Battle: The Government are firmly committed to the promotion of fundamental labour standards including those covering forced and bonded labour. Discussions with EU partners continue on which initiatives should be considered at the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The Government, along with EU partners, have no plans to sponsor a resolution at UNCHR condemning bonded labour and other forms of slavery.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the comments by Richard Tomlinson concerning the training of MI6 personnel in the Gosport and Portsmouth area, with particular reference to illegal entry into people's homes. 
Mr. Robin Cook [holding answer 1 February 2001]: In accordance with well established policy I am not prepared to comment on speculation about alleged intelligence operations. This applies equally to the allegations described in the book by Mr. Tomlinson, who has a history of spreading sensationalist and misleading material. I can confirm, however, that officials of the intelligence services in the UK, including those undertaking training, are required at all times to carry out their work in accordance with the law.
2 Feb 2001 : Column: 353W
Union for February and (b) the major European Union events for the period between 1 February and 31 July 2001. 
|6||Brussels||Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|12||Brussels||Internal Market/Consumer Council|
|15||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|16||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|19||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|20||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|20-21||Brussels||Fisheries Council (possible)|
|31-1||Brussels||Informal Meeting of Ministers of the Environment|
|8-10||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|8-10||Brussels||Agriculture Council (Informal)|
|7||Brussels||Employment and Social Council (possible)|
|14-15||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|14-15||Brussels||Industry and Energy Council|
|28-29||Brussels||Justice and Home Affairs Council|
|28||Brussels||Education and Youth Council|
|5||Brussels||Internal Market/Consumer Council|
|11-12||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|11||Brussels||Employment/Social Affairs Council|
|18||Brussels||Fisheries Council (possible)|
|19||Brussels||ECOFIN Council (possible)|
|25-26||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|27-28||Brussels||Transport/Telecommunications Research Council|
|6-7||Brussels||Informal Employment and Social Affairs Council|
|13-14||Brussels||Regional Territories Council (Informal)|
|16-17||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
|16-17||Brussels||General Affairs Council|
2 Feb 2001 : Column: 354W
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