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31 Oct 2002 : Column 949W—continued

Departmental Job Vacancies

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many job vacancies there were at (a) administrative assistant or equivalent, (b) administrative officer or equivalent, (c) administrative executive officer, (d) higher executive officer, (e) senior executive officer, (f) grade 7 principal and (g) all positions above grade 7 level in her Department for jobs located in London and (i) the south-east between 1April 2001 and 31 March; and what is the total employment for each civil service grade. [76551]

Clare Short [holding answer 28 October 2002]: The total numbers of staff in each civil service grade employed in DFID's London headquarters is set out in the table. There are no DFID staff employed in the south-east region outside London. Details of vacancies are not collated centrally and are, therefore, unavailable. However, it is worth pointing out that, by and large, DFID does not have difficulty in recruiting staff in London and vacancies rarely remain unfilled for any length of time.

Total staff in London—position as at 1 April 2001Grade
45C2 (administrative assistant equivalent)
137C1 (administrative officer equivalent)
130B2 (executive officer equivalent)
184B1 (higher executive officer equivalent)
39A3 (senior executive officer equivalent)
140A2 (grade 7 equivalent)
164above A2 (grade 6 and above)

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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what discussions her Department has had with the Government of Ghana regarding urban street children; [76971]

Clare Short: The Government are committed to supporting the Government of Ghana to deliver its priorities against the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS). Children in difficult circumstances, such as street children, are identified as a vulnerable and excluded group in the GPRS. Planned Government of Ghana interventions include slum upgrading and partnership programmes with non-government organisations that seek to safeguard children. The Government are also supporting civil society initiatives that protect children in Ghana and West Africa through the Civil Society Challenge Fund and Partnership Programme Agreements with Action Aid and Save the Children.

Intellectual Property Rights

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights; and if she will make a statement. [76969]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Meriden on 28 October 2002, Official Report, columns 548–49W.

Overseas Aid (Indonesia)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what financial assistance her Department (a) has offered and (b) plans to offer the Government of Indonesia to assist with the (i) victims of the terrorist bomb in Bali and (ii) loss of livelihoods incurred by employees within the tourist sector in Bali. [76975]

Clare Short: The immediate medical needs of Indonesian victims of the terrorist bomb have been met by the Government of Indonesia and Balinese non- government organisations. Officials from my Department have undertaken an assessment of longer term needs, alongside colleagues from the United Nations, Australia and the United States. Based on this assessment we are considering a range of activities to support victims of the bombing, including post trauma counselling, conflict prevention initiatives and technical support for the Indonesian authorities in Bali.

In addition, DFID, other donors and the Government of Indonesia, are assessing the impact of the bombing on the national and local economies, and will consider how best donors can support economic recovery. My Department will contribute to the international effort once needs are defined.

Presidential Meeting

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement

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on the outcome of the meeting between President Museveni and President Kagame in London last week. [76970]

Clare Short: President Museveni and President Kagame recommitted themselves and their Governments to the Understanding they signed last November in London on not interfering in each others' political and security affairs. They agreed to make more regular and effective use of the mechanisms that had been put in place to resolve differences and to avoid recourse to the use of the media. The UK agreed to continue to act as third party in this process.

Equally importantly, Presidents Museveni and Kagame agreed to work together to achieve pace and stability in the region. They urged President Mbeki of South Africa, as Chairman of the African Union, to convene an urgent regional summit to call on all parties to fully implement the Pretoria and Luanda peace agreements.

Presidents Museveni and Kagame shared my deep concern at the situation in Burundi and agreed we should all work together, especially with the Governments of Tanzania and South Africa, to get a full ceasefire and support the Transitional National Government under the Arusha Accords.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she is taking to help end the war in Sudan; and if she will make a statement. [77038]

Clare Short: The UK role in supporting the peace process is led jointly by the FCO and DFID. The UK Special Representative for Sudan, Alan Goulty, leads the UK observer delegation at the peace talks. He is supported by a joint FCO-DFID Sudan Unit. He and his team co-ordinate with the mediators and other observers at Machakos so that we can complement each other's efforts to deliver the best results. We carry out intensive consultations with the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in Khartoum and elsewhere. We ensure that UK policy and the peace process are fully understood by other interested Governments and co-ordinate with international partners, including the EU; our collective approach to implementing an eventual peace agreement. This year, we have committed over #8 million to support both humanitarian work and the peace process.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) assessment her Department has made of safeguards against and (b) discussions she has had with the UNHCR regarding the sexual exploitation of women in refugee camps. [76907]

Clare Short: My Department has closely monitored developments regarding the investigation by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) into allegations of sexual exploitation of refugee women and girls by humanitarian aid workers and peacekeepers in refugee camps in West Africa. While the OIOS report found no involvement by UNHCR staff in acts of sexual

31 Oct 2002 : Column 952W

exploitation, from a total of 43 cases of possible sexual exploitation investigated by the OIOS team 10 cases were substantiated by evidence. This finding confirms that the issue of sexual exploitation is a significant one and that it is not just confined to West Africa—but wherever refugees find themselves in similarly desperate and vulnerable circumstances.

The report crucially identifies several factors which contribute to sexual exploitation in refugee communities including aspects of refugee camp life, camp structure, camp security, food and services distribution, employment opportunities, profiles of camp workers, and the quality and quantities of food and other relief items distributed.

UNHCR has, in partnership with other concerned UN agencies, instituted a number of remedial measures and preventative actions to enhance the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence. Specifically, in West Africa these include: increasing the accountability of humanitarian workers through the design of country-specific standards, applicable to all UN agencies and international and local NGOs; raising awareness of rights and entitlements in refugee communities through education and advocacy campaigns; increases in-field presence and improved training in sexual training and gender-based issues for UNHCR staff; improved reporting and monitoring procedures to speed up the identification of victims; building on existing programmes to better facilitate equal access and control of material resources as well as strengthening support to victims and groups at risk.

There exist additional measures which extend to the rest of Africa which, in turn, complement UNHCR's efforts on a global front, specifically the UNHCR Code of Conduct which aims to guide the behaviour and attitude of all UNHCR international and local staff in terms of the standards of conduct that are expected to be adhered to in the UN Charter and the Staff Regulation and Rules.

We will, through our close relationship with UNHCR in the field and through our participation at the Standing and Executive Committees in Geneva, continue to monitor progress on all these fronts.

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