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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 26 November 2001


Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will introduce legislation to extend antisocial behaviour orders to Northern Ireland. [17952]

Mr. Browne: Different administrative and legal structures in Northern Ireland mean that it is not currently possible to extend the provisions in the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 creating antisocial behaviour orders to Northern Ireland. In particular, the provisions rely on local authorities having responsibilities in the criminal justice field which they currently do not have in Northern Ireland.

Holy Cross Protest

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many and what type of complaints he has received from (a) Ardoyne road and (b) Glenbryn road residents relating to the Holy Cross protest. [17231]

Jane Kennedy: The Government have received a number of representations and written correspondence concerning the situation at Holy Cross Girls Primary School from Members of this House, Members of the devolved Administration and the general public. We continue to encourage local dialogue between the two communities. We have consistently called on the protesters to call off their protest, but in the meantime support the police in their operations to ensure the children of Holy Cross Primary can make their way to school. We welcome recent efforts by local politicians and community representatives to resolve the current impasse.

Community Groups (North Belfast)

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what Government grants have been allocated to local community groups in north Belfast; and for what purpose, since 1998. [17234]

Dr. John Reid: Responsibility for this subject has been devolved to the Northern Ireland institutions and is therefore no longer a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the impact of the incitement to religious hatred clause of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill on preaching against Roman Catholicism in Northern Ireland. [18183]

Mr. Browne: It has been an offence in Northern Ireland since 1987 (under the Public Order (Northern Ireland) Order 1987) to stir up hatred or arouse fear

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against a group of persons because of their religion. The proposed amendment to the Public Order Act 1986 will not, therefore, have any impact there.


Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which prison establishments in Northern Ireland do not use the Royal prefix. [15948]

Jane Kennedy: All Northern Ireland prison establishments can and are referred to officially both as HMP and by name only.

The inclusion or exclusion of the Royal prefix is at the discretion of the governing governor of each establishment.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

David Burnside: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what colours will be used in the new uniform of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, excluding those used in the badge. [17470]

Jane Kennedy: The Report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland (the Patten report) recommended that the colour of the current police uniform should be retained (Recommendation 154). The Government have accepted this recommendation.



Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan following the ejection of the Taliban from key centres and of the opportunities this presents to increase the volume of food aid to the country; and if she will make a statement. [15584]

Clare Short: The advances made by the Northern Alliance in recent days should enable us to improve humanitarian programmes and give better access to some of the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan who have received the least help in recent weeks. Such progress is dependent on improved security.

We hope that the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross will be able to improve delivery of food, healthcare, and other assistance to two million vulnerable people in the Northern Region of Afghanistan and that some of the internally displaced will be able to return home before the winter gets worse. Plans are now being made for the international staff of the UN, Red Cross and non-governmental organisations to return and thus improve services to vulnerable people. In addition, we will be able to accelerate deliveries to areas in central Afghanistan which will become harder to access in the coming months so that stockpiles can be built closer to the people who need them.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her response to the proposals by the Mineseeker Foundation on a scheme to clear mines in Afghanistan. [17973]

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Clare Short: My Department has not received any proposals from the Mineseeker Foundation for mine clearance in Afghanistan.


Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has received from the Ugandan Government about buying arms. [14533]

Clare Short: I have held meetings with President Musevini of Uganda on a number of occasions over the past two months. Our discussions covered a wide range of issues, including defence expenditure.

Women's Leadership Training

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money her Department has spent on women's leadership training in (a) newly democratic and (b) developing nations in the last five years. [16682]

Clare Short: The statistics requested cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost but my Department puts women's empowerment at the heart of its work.

It starts with: girl's access to basic education and completion of primary schools; support for civil society organisations that represent the needs of and advocate for women in decision-making roles; education of the whole community about the rights of women and girls.

Women's leadership training needs to be built on these foundations.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proposals her Department has for funding leadership training for women in Afghanistan once stability has been restored. [16681]

Clare Short: It is the responsibility of the entire international community to ensure that the women of Afghanistan are fully involved in the new political settlement in Afghanistan.

As reconstruction activities begin, the programmes that we support will be designed and monitored to ensure that women and girls benefit. Women are both often the poorest members of communities, and the best organisers. Participation of women in public life is therefore integral to our approach.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with EU Ministers about EU aid to Ethiopia; and if she will make a statement. [17721]

Clare Short: We play a full part in discussing EU aid to Ethiopia both at the Development Council and in meetings with the Commission. Officials from my Department visited Brussels earlier this week to discuss the new EU Country Strategy Paper for Ethiopia. Current EU assistance concentrates on food security, human development, roads and democratisation/institution building.

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Chris McCafferty: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) if she will list her Department's aid contribution specifically aimed at reducing illiteracy in (a) 1997, (b) 1998, (c) 1999, (d) 2000, (e) 2001 and the projected contributions in (f) 2002, (g) 2003 and (h) 2004 (i) in total and (ii) as a proportion of gross national product; [16641]

Clare Short: Literacy statistics are notoriously misleading, particularly when they are disaggregated from the overall sector in which they are embedded. Figures cannot be provided in the form requested.

DFID's major focus for tackling illiteracy is helping developing countries achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education for all by 2015. Increasing access to good quality primary education and ensuring that children are literate when they leave school is essential for development and poverty reduction. Since 1997 the Government have committed over £600 million to support sustainable education systems in developing countries able to provide high quality primary education for all children. We will do more. We will also give increasing attention to helping developing countries tackle adult illiteracy and poverty reduction. All this will require a broad-based, multi- sectoral approach, aimed at enhancing national capacity to plan and implement effective national poverty reduction programmes.

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