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19 Sept 2002 : Column 437Wcontinued
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to assist those countries which have signed up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to protect children's rights to freedom from violence. 
Clare Short: We seek to reduce the poverty of children by working to address the causes of deprivation in their communities. Support for children's rights to protection from violence, exploitation and abusive labour is central to our work towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. DFID's plans for tackling child poverty and supporting the rights of children are set out in "Breaking the cycle of child poverty", published earlier this month. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what efforts her Department is making to ensure that the commitments made in the UNGASS, World Fit for Children, outcome document are implemented in the countries her Department works in. 
Clare Short: DFID's plans for tackling child poverty are set out in our publication "Breaking the Cycle of Child Poverty", which was launched at the UN Special Session and is available in the Library of the House. Our policies for the reduction of poverty are set out in our published country strategies. The UN General Assembly Special Session on Children reaffirmed the UN commitment to meeting the Millennium Development Goals, which is the central objective of DFID policy.
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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the refurbishment projects that (a) are in progress and (b) will start within the next six months; and what action is being taken to ensure that these will procure certified timber. 
Clare Short: DFID is, in the next three months, due to commence a major refurbishment of our East Kilbride office. The detailed specifications for these works are currently being established, but the contractors have been instructed as they were for the refurbishment of 1 Palace Street, that all timber and veneers are to be sourced from sustainably managed forests, in accordance with the relevant DEFRA guidelines. My Department will also ensure that appropriate checks are carried out to ensure that these requirements are met, as they were in 1 Palace Street, despite false claims to the contrary.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many Liberians have fled their country following conflict between the Liberian Government forces and the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Development. 
Clare Short: Since the start of this year, UNHCR estimate that around 24,000 Liberians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries as a result of fighting between the Liberian army and rebel forces. Most of these have entered Sierra Leone (some 14,000), though around 6,000 have gone to Guinea, and 4,000 to Cote d'Ivoire.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has offered to the (a) United Nations and (b) Cote d'Ivoire to deal with refugees fleeing Liberia. 
Clare Short: Since the start of this year, DFID has contributed £2 million to UN agencies and to the International Committee for the Red Cross for their work with refugees and displaced people in the West Africa. We have provided no support directly to the Government of Cote d'Ivoire.
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Clare Short: DFID has allocated £70 million for Malawi in 200203. Of this £25 million is set aside for direct budget support. Budgetary support is currently suspended as the Government of Malawi has failed to carry out a number of agreed economic and financial reform measures crucial to progression in poverty reduction in Malawi. I am currently considering redirecting the first tranche of funds set aside for budgetary support to provide additional fund assistance to Malawi.
Clare Short: World Bank-led teams have recently completed a damage assessment following the IDF incursions in the West Bank during April. The physical infrastructure rebuilding costs amount to $360 million. We have agreed to provide technical support for the reconstruction of Jenin camp. Our on-going programmes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and our enhanced support to the United Nation Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, help address a wide range of Palestinian development needs.
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Department has incurred in each year since 1997 on employing external consultants to deal with the press or public relations of her Department. 
Clare Short: Bilateral debt relief provided by the UK in 2001 accounted for 0.024 per cent. of Gross National Income (GNI), out of total official development assistance of 0.32 per cent. of GNI. In addition, we provided £23 million in 200102 to an international Trust Fund managed by the World Bank which finances relief on multilateral debt.
Clare Short: The latest figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicate there are (a) 129,800 Somalian refugees in Kenya and (b) 50,906 Somalian refugees in Ethiopia. The Kenya figure does not include approximately 10,000 people who have crossed the border into Kenya at Mandera this month.