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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the numbers of hits on the section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website dealing with travel warnings in relation to the numbers of British citizens visiting countries about which travel warnings have been issued. 
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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The travel area of the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) receives an average of 675,000 page impressions per month. We are not able to ascertain separate figures for page impressions for individual country advice notices. Nor are we able to determine how many of these inquiries are from British nationals. So we are unable to make such an assessment.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Vietnam regarding the persecution of Christians in that country. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We condemn all instances of persecution of individuals for their faith or belief. The UK Government take every opportunity to press the Vietnamese government to adhere to its international human rights obligations: I raised human rights, including the position of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister Mr. Nien in June. Our Embassy in Hanoi is a leading player in the EU Human Rights Working Group which has a regular human rights dialogue with the Vietnamese Government. Religious freedom is raised in this forum, for example at its most recent meeting on 16 October.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the (a) political manipulation of food aid and (b) selective starvation being carried out in Zimbabwe by its Government. 
Clare Short: It is a fundamental principle of the international and bilateral agencies working in Zimbabwe and elsewhere that food aid is targeted on the basis of need alone, and is not politically determined. The World Food Programme is working through non-governmental organisations under an agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe that enshrines this principle. Our bilateral feeding Programmes also work through NGOs on the same criteria, and within NGOs' established operational agreements with the Government of Zimbabwe. DFID and other donors are closely monitoring events on the ground to ensure that principles and agreements are honoured, and where problems are found or reported, that these are resolved through transparent complaints procedures.
Food assistance through the Government of Zimbabwe does not operate to similar levels of openness and transparency. I share the concern that there appears to be selective distribution. Whilst I am very concerned about malnutrition and hunger, it is premature to suggest there is starvation. But I have joined the UN in urging donor countries to help reduce the food gap in Zimbabwe to avoid crisis which remains all too possible.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment her Department has made of (a) the obstruction of food aid and (b) human rights abuses committed by the
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Zimbabwe Government against the Zimbabwean people; and what her Department's strategy is for dealing with the obstruction of food aid by President Mugabe. 
Clare Short: There has been no systematic obstruction of food aid provided by the UN agencies and international donors in Zimbabwe. There have been particular problems in one or two areas and for particular organisations apparently attributable solely to bias on the part of the authorities or local activists. There is on-going negotiation in country on problems for two UK NGOs. Where problems have arisen, aid has been suspended until the organisations concerned have been satisfied that unfettered distribution can resume. At present the major constraints to food aid are the need to scale up the capacity of all the implementation organisations, and to get full funding of the UN appeal.
This House is well aware of Government's concern about the on-going abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe. We deplore the continuing record of oppression and human rights abuse to suppress legitimate opposition and criticism of its disastrous policies.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money her Department has given to the UN World Food Programme in Zimbabwe. 
Clare Short: DFID has provided a total of #10.5 million for WFP feeding programmes in Zimbabwe, and #45,000 to strengthen food logistics management in country.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the banning of Oxfam and Save the Children from distributing the World Food Programme food by the Zimbabwean Government; and what discussions her Department has had with (a) Oxfam and (b) Save the Children following the ban. 
Clare Short: Applications by Save the Children and Oxfam to act as implementing partners for the WFP feeding programme have not yet been approved by the Ministry of Social Welfare in Zimbabwe. The UN takes the view, as do I, that these highly respected and experienced organisations could make an important contribution to the feeding effort. Discussion continues between the UN, the NGOs and the Zimbabwe authorities. DFID has been fully consulted, and maintains an on-going dialogue on operational concerns for these and other UK based NGOs in Zimbabwe.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights. 
Clare Short: The report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights XIntegrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy" was published on 12 September this year. I attended a launch event in Geneva on 16 September, along with Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Director General of the
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World Trade Organisation, and Dr. Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The report has been widely commended as an important contribution to the debate on how intellectual property rules and practices can work better for developing countries, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The Government established the commission as part of its wider effort to ensure global rules and institutions serve all countries equitably and take full account of the needs of developing countries. The commissioners, two of whom were from developing countries, brought a wide range of expertise to bear in science, law and economics. They included representatives from Government, the legal profession, academia and industry. The report is available in the Libraries of the House and on the commission's website www.iprcommission.org.
The Government are grateful to the commission for its report. We welcome it as a very useful and constructive contribution to the debate on these important issues. We will encourage the widest possible debate on its proposals and will make it available in all relevant fora. Although commissioned by the British Government, the recommendations of the commission are directed at policymakers in all Governments, at the national and international institutions involved in intellectual property policy, and other important stakeholders such as industry and NGOs. The Government hope serious consideration will be given by these bodies to the recommendations of the report.
There is much detail in the report which requires careful consideration. The Government are currently considering its own response to the detailed recommendations of the commission and hopes to publish this early next year.
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action the Government are planning to implement the recommendations in the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights. 
Clare Short: The Government are currently considering the detailed recommendations of the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights. We have welcomed the report as an important contribution to the debate on how intellectual property rules and practices can work better for developing countries, and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
It is planned that the Government's response to the report will be published early next year. That response will set out how they plan to address the Commission's recommendations and to pursue their implementation. It should be noted that most of the report's recommendations are directed to all governments and institutions involved with intellectual property. The Government hope these other bodies will also consider carefully the report's recommendations.
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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on (a) her Department's support for clinical services and (b) levels of maternal mortality in Malawi. 
Clare Short: My Department's support to the National Sexual and Reproductive Health Programme (SRHP) and Communicable Diseases control programme contribute to improved clinical services in Malawi.
Under the SRHP DFID provides for:
The communicable disease component of DFID's work supports the National Tuberculosis Control Programme, by providing:
In the longer term, joint donor support to the Ministry of Health, through a sector-wide approach, will address all levels of clinical service provision.
Maternal mortality in Malawi is increasing. The 2000 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey indicates a doubling in the figure to 1,120 deaths per 100,000 live births. The reasons are complex, and the cause of death is not always clear. However the increase can in part be attributed to the declining health system, the methodological means of measuring mortality where HIV/AIDS is increasing rapidly, and the current food crisis (where health is compromised by other factors such as increasing poverty, suppressed immune systems and poor nutritional status).
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her Department's approach to healthcare in Malawi. 
Clare Short: DFID supports the Government of Malawi's efforts to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health, communicable disease control, and health systems development. Sexual and reproductive health assistance is increasing access to reproductive, maternal and sexual health services, and fostering adoption of safer sex practices especially among the poor, young people and marginalised groups. It will also have a positive effect in countering the rate of increase of HIV/AIDS. The communicable disease control elements support strategies to combat the spread of tuberculosis, to improve immunisation coverage of childhood diseases, and to increase treatment and prevention of malaria. Systems development activities will strengthen the government's Central Medical Stores and drug supply chain, develop a cost effective essential medical laboratory service, and develop an Essential Health Package.
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In the longer term, DFID and other donor partners are supporting the Malawian Government's objective of working towards a sector-wide approach for delivery of health assistance. The SWAp is currently under design will support nationally defined health policies and strategies to improve the health status of all Malawians.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how her Department's budget for improving health care in Malawi is spent. 
Clare Short: My Department's health programme in Malawi is focused in three main areas: sexual and reproductive health, communicable disease control, and health systems development. This represents a total commitment of #100 million between 19972008.
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