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Jane Kennedy: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) 200001 report will be published on Tuesday 14 August 2001. Copies of the report will be placed in the House of Commons Library. The report will also be available to the public from that date.
Jane Kennedy: Dependent upon the precise circumstances of the case, a civilian would be likely to be prosecuted under Article 6 of the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 1981. Other Articles of the Order might also be relevant.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what response he has made to the report of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission on the recording of the use of plastic bullets in Northern Ireland. 
Jane Kennedy: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland wrote to the Chief Commissioner on 12 June acknowledging receipt of the report. The Secretary of State assured the Commission that the Chief Constable would consider the recommendations carefully and where appropriate take the necessary action.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the criteria adopted by the Government for deciding which parties should be invited to participate in the Weston Park talks; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. John Reid: The talks hosted by the British and Irish Governments at Weston Park concerned the implementation of the Belfast Agreement, and it was therefore appropriate to invite representative of all the parties to the Agreement.
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Dr. John Reid: The British and Irish Governments invited representatives of the parties to the Belfast Agreement to participate in the talks at Weston Park held during 813 July. The parties invited to send representatives were:
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many additional appointments are to be made to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; and on what date these appointments will be made. 
Mr. Browne: Further appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will be made as soon as possible, and by the end of the summer. The response to the advertisements was very high (over 500 applications were received) so the process has taken longer than expected. The number of appointments is still to be determined.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the extent to which the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission can extend its powers under the Paris Principles of 1991. 
Mr. Browne: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's powers and duties are set out in section 69 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. Under sub-section 69(2) of that Act, the Commission is required to make recommendations to the Secretary of State about how its effectiveness might be improved; the adequacy and effectiveness of the functions conferred on it; and the adequacy and effectiveness of the provisions of that part of the Act relating to the Commission. The Secretary of State received these recommendations in March of this year and they are currently under consideration. The Secretary of State will respond formally in due course.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures will be taken to ensure that disabled voters have easy access to polling stations before the next Assembly elections. 
Mr. Browne: Polling station schemes are a matter for the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland. However, I am aware that he takes his responsibilities on access very seriously. The Chief Electoral Officer is a designated public authority for the purposes of section 75 of the
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Northern Ireland Act 1998. He is currently drawing up an equality scheme which will be put out for public consultation. I know that he will ensure every reasonable measure is taken in providing access for the disabled voter.
Detailed preparation of the draft legislation and an implementation plan, which will be published for consultation, is well advanced. Subject to the outcome of consultation, the Government expect to introduce a draft Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill in Parliament this Session.
Mr. Browne: The provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which created categories of racially motivated offences were not extended to Northern Ireland. The Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987, however, makes provision for a range of offences of stirring up hatred or arousing fear on religious or racial grounds. In response to approaches that have been made in recent months, it is our intention to conduct a consultation exercise later this year to consider how best to legislate in Northern Ireland against race crime.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to monitor sentencing of individuals according to (a) perceived community origin, (b) ethnic origin, (c) gender, (d) sexual orientation and (e) disability. 
Mr. Browne: Some information is already available on sentencing trends according to gender. The Government are committed to developing a strategy for equity monitoring the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland as it affects different categories of people, while ensuring that such monitoring does not compromise judicial independence.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to ensure the records of the Patten Commission, the written submissions made to it and the transcripts of oral hearings are (a) made available to researchers and (b) archived for historians. 
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Linenhall Library in Belfast. On written submissions, the Commission placed an advertisement in the main Northern Ireland newspapers in October 1999 advising the public that private or personal submissions which had been made to it would be destroyed. Other written submissions which were made to the Commission were passed to the Northern Ireland Office and will be made available in accordance with usual public record requirements.
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