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Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to assist the preparations for the Rio+10 conference; what contributions he intends to make at the conference; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Battle: As my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment has stated in his reply of today (UIN15779), the United Kingdom is taking a leading role in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in South Africa in September 2002. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is actively engaged in these preparations.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average length of time was between a case referred to the European Court of Human Rights and a judgment in a case in the last 12 months; and when he expects a judgment in the cases of (a) Leyla Zana, (b) Selim Sadak, (c) Hatip Dicle and (d) Orhan Dogah. 
Mr. Battle: The new European Court of Human Rights came into existence on 1 November 1998. The Court has set itself the objective of reaching a final judgment on the merits of a case within two years of that case being introduced. However, due to the considerable backlog of cases that the new Court inherited from the previous
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European Court and Commission, the Court is not at present in a position to meet that objective. The Government have provided additional assistance to the Court to help in clear that backlog. The majority of cases that do not go for judgment are decided within one year.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he will make to the Colombian Government over the recent threats made by Army and paramilitary personnel against the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado. 
Mr. Battle: We are concerned about the recent threats that have been made by armed groups against the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado. Representatives of Peace Brigades International and Christian Aid met officials from the Latin American and Caribbean Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 5 and 26 April respectively to discuss this problem, and what further steps might be taken to protect the Peace Community and other vulnerable groups in Colombia.
The British embassy in Bogota has raised our concern about the safety of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community with the Colombian authorities, most recently with the Head of the Human Rights Unit of the Prosecutor-General's Office on 24 April. We have been promised a response soon.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he will make to the Colombian Government concerning the rights of the peace communities in Colombia not to be intimidated by military and paramilitary units. 
Mr. Battle: As I made clear in my statement on 13 February, we are very concerned about the increasing levels of violence in Colombia, and the threats and intimidation that continue to be directed against the civilian population, including the peace communities.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office visited Colombia again in March in order to support the Colombian Government's efforts to advance the peace process and protect human rights. She repeated the concerns that we both raised with the Colombian Government during our joint visit in September 2000 about paramilitarism, and strongly urged the authorities to increase their efforts to tackle paramilitary groups. On 20 April, I wrote to the Colombian Ambassador in London reiterating our concern about the human rights situation in Colombia, especially with regard to the protection of vulnerable groups, paramilitarism, and bringing members of the armed forces linked to paramilitaries to justice.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Chinese Government following the arrest of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang, together with priests and followers; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Battle: We have raised our concerns about the reported detention of Bishop Shi Enxiang on 27 April with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, and will continue to follow this case closely.
We regularly raise concerns about the harassment of Christians in our Human Rights Dialogue with China, the latest round of which was held in Beijing on 12-14 February. We made it clear that such harassment was unacceptable and not in keeping with the provisions of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which China signed in October 1998.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what obstacles remain to his signing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. 
Mr. Battle: The UK ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 1986 and is fully committed to its implementation. The Optional Protocol to the Convention was opened for signature on 10 December 1999. In 1999, following a review of our obligations under international human rights treaties, the Government concluded that priority should be given to the Human Rights Act 1998. The Government would prefer to give the Act, which has been fully in force only since 2 October 2000, longer to bed down before returning to the question of whether our citizens need an avenue of complaint to the UN human rights committees. The Home Secretary has said in a recent letter to the Law Society that we can return to the issue later in the year, but cannot give a precise timetable just yet.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on recent discussions he has had with the Chinese Government concerning animal welfare. 
The UK is at the forefront of international efforts to protect animals. We are closely involved in the work of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We support the work of non-governmental organisations in the field of animal welfare.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will make a statement concerning the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute any person arising out the death of Colin Griffiths. 
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have been carefully reviewed by a senior lawyer in the Casework Directorate of the Crown Prosecution Service. In addition, advice has been taken from experienced, independent counsel. Both have come to the firm conclusion that there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction against any person arising out of the tragic death of Mr. Griffiths. Mrs. Griffiths has been informed of the decision and she has also had a meeting with the CPS lawyer during which the basis of the decision was explained to her.
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