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7 Nov 2002 : Column 636Wcontinued
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those cases over the past 10 years where a staff member of the European Commission has been suspended; on what grounds; and what was the nature of the final settlement of the case. 
Mr. MacShane: We have requested this information from the Commission. I will write to the hon. Member with a full reply as soon as this is received.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to increase the level of representations of black and Asian people in his Department. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The FCO is determined to increase the level of representation of ethnic minorities. But there is no ''quick fix'' without using positive discrimination, which is unlawful. We continue to seek and attract high calibre candidates from all sectors of the community. We use targeted marketing techniques to advertise career opportunities as widely as possible and encourage applications from black and Asian people. Our objective is to ensure that 10 per cent. of recruits to the Diplomatic Service are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Encouragingly, in 2002 we exceeded this target. 15 per cent. of new entrants at policy level were from black and Asian backgrounds.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of new recruits to his Department in the past two years were aged 50 and over. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The percentage of new recruits to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the past two years aged 50 and over is as follows;
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many deaths of UK nationals have been notified to his Department (a) in Greece and (b) the island of Rhodes in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: There were a total of 116 deaths of UK nationals in Greece that were notified to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the last 12 months. Sixteen of those deaths were reported from the Island of Rhodes.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department has collated regarding the Thai authorities' destruction of international aid destined for persecuted
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groups in Burma; and if he will make a statement concerning the Government's response to this situation. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not been shown any evidence of destruction by the Thai authorities of international aid destined for persecuted groups in Burma.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Singapore regarding the imprisonment of the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr. Chee Soon Juan. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: None. Dr. Chee was imprisoned for failure to pay a fine imposed by the Singapore Courts in connection with an offence under the Public Entertainment Act.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has held with the Government of Singapore regarding freedom of speech and human rights issues. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: We raise these issues with the Singaporean authorities whenever the opportunity arises. The former Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw), did so during his visit to Singapore in May this year.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many cases of prevention of access to children of British Nationals living in Germany have been reported to each of the British consulates in Germany in the last five years; and in what proportion of these cases the problems have been solved. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: During the last five years, twenty three British parents have contacted our Consulates in Germany about difficulties in securing access to children in Germany where the other parent has custody. Of these cases, we are aware that: two have been resolved; in fifteen cases the parents have had no further contact with the Consulate, so we are not aware of progress; six are ongoing and the relevant post in Germany continues to monitor the case.
Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination; and what steps it is taking to ensure Morocco does not obstruct the United Nations Security Council Resolutions. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 5 November 2002]: The British Government support a just and durable outcome to the Western Sahara dispute. We support the position of the Secretary General and his Personal Envoy, James Baker, to find a just and lasting solution to the situation in Western Sahara. The United
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Nations Secretary General noted in his report to the Security Council on Western Sahara on 19 February 2002 that
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what definition of internal repression is used in considering applications for export licences. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: All export licence applications are assessed on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria announced by my right hon. Friend for the Member Neath (Mr. Hain) on 26 October 2000, Official Report, 199203. Criterion 2 of the Consolidated criteria sets out the Government's definition of internal repression as:
Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what definition of internal repression is used in considering applications for export licences. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Carmarthen, East and Dinefwr (Adam Price) today (UIN 79755).
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how United Kingdom citizens may obtain copies of the draft report of the Convention on the future of Europe; and what steps he is taking to publicise the document. 
Mr. MacShane: The Convention has not produced an overall draft report at this stage. But all the Convention's documents are available to the public on the Convention's Website (http://european-convention.eu.int). This includes Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's preliminary draft constitutional treaty, as well as the final recommendations of those Working Groups that have concluded their work.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his policy towards qualified majority voting for deciding when national parliaments should be allowed to vote on EU proposals. 
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Mr. MacShane: The Convention Working Group on Subsidiarity has proposed the creation of a new mechanism to enable national parliaments to monitor compliance with subsidiarity. The full text is available on the Convention's website (http://european-convention.eu.int).
This Government supports the Working Group's conclusions. We believe that national parliaments should review each new Commission legislative proposal. If a majority of national parliaments judged that a proposal infringed subsidiarity, the Commission should be required to re-examine its approach.
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