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7 Nov 2002 : Column 685W—continued

Parliamentary Boundary Commission

Mr. Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will announce the name of the newly appointed member of the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Boundary Commission. [80099]

Paul Murphy: I am pleased to announce that I have recently issued a Warrant of Appointment for the Northern Ireland Parliamentary Boundary Commission to Mr.Richard Mackenzie, CB. The appointment will run until 29 October 2006


East Timor

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the creation of a UN International Tribunal to bring to justice the major perpetrators of crimes against humanity during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor;

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and what discussions her Department has had with (a) the UN, (b) the USA and (c) the Government of East Timor concerning the establishment of such a Tribunal. [78719]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I have been asked to reply.

In February 2000, the United Nations Security Council accepted Indonesia's pledge to conduct its own enquiry and prosecute those responsible for crimes committed in East Timor in 1999. This led to the establishment of an Ad Hoc Tribunal on 14 March 2002. As it is still considering several of the cases it would be premature to push for an alternative justice mechanism now. If we judge that it has not delivered justice we will certainly consider the case for an international tribunal with our EU partners and others in the international community. Officials in Washington and Dili have already discussed the idea of an international tribunal with US and UN officials and representatives of the East Timorese government.

The East Timorese government with the assistance of the UN Special Crimes Unit is also investigating serious human rights violations that have taken place during the last 25 years. The East Timor Commission for Truth and Reconciliation which was established on 7 February 2002 is dealing with less serious violations.


Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the arrest and subsequent release of the leader of the opposition in Malawi; and what discussions she has had with the government of Malawi on the subject. [78679]

Mr. Rammell: I have been asked to reply.

The arrest on 20 October of Gwanda Chakuamba, President of the main opposition Malawi Congress Party, and three of his colleagues, followed the circulation of a letter purportedly detailing the ruling party's strategy on changing the Constitution to allow President Muluzi to run for a third term in office. Mr.Chakuamba was released by the court on bail the following day having been charged with libel, forgery and disseminating false information in connection with the letter.

The proposal for a third term has generated intense political debate in Malawi. We and other international partners have urged that there should be broad consultation on the issue and that it should be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence and intimidation.

Health and Education

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of the UK's overseas aid budget is allocated to a) basic health provision and b) education. [78073]

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what percentage of her Departments budget has been allocated to (a) basic healthcare and (b) primary education in each year since 1997. [76973]

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Clare Short: Since 1997 my Department has committed over #870 million to support education and #1.5 billion to support health care in partner countries. This represents 13 per cent. and 24 per cent. respectively of bilateral commitments over the same period. Of this, over #700 million went to primary education and #1.3 billion to basic health care, representing 11 per cent. and 20 per cent. respectively of bilateral commitments.

These figures are based on the bilateral portfolio as a whole rather than annual allocations and could only be disaggregated at disproportionate cost. They do not include support for education and health provided through our multilateral contributions.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement 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 peace 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 cease fire and support the Transitional National Government under the Arusha Accords.

Water Supplies (Palestinian Territories)

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the water security situation in the Palestinian Territories; and if she will make a statement. [78203]

Clare Short: Water has long been a major problem for rural Palestinian communities. The severe economic and social decline caused by closures and curfews has compounded the problem. Many villages without water networks are facing shortages, as water tankers cannot access villages, or people can no longer afford the escalating price of tankered water. The situation has been exacerbated by the recent Israeli ban on drilling for water in the West Bank. Households cope by going into debt, seeking alternative water sources (that are often not clean), and cutting back on consumption. All of these responses pose threats to family well-being. In conjunction with other donors, we are working with the Palestinian Water Authority, and a number of rural

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communities, to help improve water security. We are also supporting a study by PWA of the western aquifer water source, to assess its sustainable yield.

Lira Refugee Camp

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will make a statement on the overcrowding in the refugee camp in Lira, Uganda; what discussions her Department has had with non-governmental organisations working in the camp; what assessment her Department has made of the vulnerability of women as a result of the sleeping arrangements in the camp; how much aid her Department will give to Uganda in 2002–03; what plans her Department has to give aid to the refugee camp in Lira; and what assessment her Department has made of (a) starvation and (b) health levels of the refugees in the camp. [79541]

Clare Short: The circumstances faced by internally displaced people in Lira are of grave concern. We are monitoring the situation closely with international partners and the Government of Uganda, and are considering an appropriate response in the light of a detailed report recently issued from local NGOs.

The total DFID aid programme for Uganda for 2002–03 is scheduled to be #75 million. In response to the recent escalation in insecurity, DFID has committed #450,000 for humanitarian supplies for internally displaced persons in Northern Uganda.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what strategies her Department has to ensure that there is no ageism in recruitment and retention processes. [79296]

Clare Short: My Department's Equal Opportunities Policy Statement makes it clear that DFID does not permit discrimination on grounds of age in either its recruitment or any of its other personnel management processes.

The only age-related practice has been the operation of an age of retirement of 60—consistent with the normal retiring age specified in the Principal Civil Service Pensions Scheme and with the purposes of section 109(1)(a) (i) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. However, agreement has recently been reached that, with the exception of the Senior Civil Service, staff may, if they so wish, continue to serve until age 65, which will make that the normal retiring age for the purposes of the 1996 Act.

European Bank of Reconstruction and Development

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what financial support her Department has given to the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development in each of the last five years; and what support her Department will provide in the next three years. [79151]

Clare Short: As a shareholder (8.5 per cent.) in the EBRD, the UK Government makes payments towards its capital subscription in the Bank.

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As part of the General Capital Increase, agreed in 1996, my Department has made cash payments and issued promissory notes as detailed below:

Cash ElementPromissory Notes
1998Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
1999Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
2000Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
2001Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
2002Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281

Over the next three years the following payments will be made:

Cash ElementPromissory Notes
2003Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
2004Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281
2005Euro 9,582,000Euro 14,373,281

My Department has also provided grant funding to support EBRD's technical cooperation work. The EBRD has received the following contributions from DFID over the last five years:






We have outstanding commitments of #1,813,000.

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