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Tibet

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received concerning the denial of access to detainees at Drapchi Prison, Lhasa, to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and if he will make a statement. [197048]

Mr. Rammell: We have received no representations about the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's difficulties in interviewing some prisoners at Drapchi Prison.

However, I raised this issue with Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui during my visit to China earlier this month.

East Africa

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken to facilitate the implementation of the 2002 world court ruling on Badme in the context of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute. [195437]

Mr. Mullin: We are continuing to press Ethiopia to accept the final and binding decision of the Boundary Commission, and to press Eritrea to participate in the comprehensive political dialogue proposed by the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy, Lloyd Axworthy.

Fair Trade

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is his policy to ensure that hospitality within his Department
 
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is sourced from Fair Trade producers wherever possible within the boundaries set by the public procurement rules. [197062]

Mr. Rammell: It is not current policy within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for all hospitality within the Department to be sourced from Fair Trade producers where possible. However all suppliers are encouraged to provide produce from Fair Trade producers where it is feasible to do so.

The FCO policy is currently being reviewed as part of DEFRA's Food Procurement Initiative, and the FCO are taking an active role in its development and implementation.

G8 Summit

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 2 November 2004, Official Report, column 225W, on the G8 Summit, what contracts for the supply of services at the G8 Summit the office plans to award; when he expects the contract award procedures to commence; how the contract award procedures will be publicised; and what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the contracts. [196529]

Mr. Alexander [holding answer 8 November 2004]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will employ a production company to provide some of the meeting facilities for the Summit, and to set up and manage the Summit media centre. A host broadcaster will be taken on to handle the technical aspects of the media operation. The FCO advertised these requirements in the Official Journal of the European Union on 15 October, inviting companies to send expressions of interest by 18 November. The FCO will then invite tenders and award contracts according to Public Procurement Guidelines on a competitive basis. The monetary value of the contracts will depend on the tenders received.

The FCO may require other services but these have not yet been defined.

Gabon

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visas were granted to Gabonese students through the British high commission in Yaounde in Cameroon in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on these arrangements. [195438]

Mr. Mullin: In 2003, there were 39 student applications from Gabonese nationals, of which 14 were issued. So far in 2004, there have been 21 such applications of which six have been issued.

The United Kingdom currently has no representation in Gabon and visa applicants are invited to apply in Yaounde or the nearest accessible post. Yaounde offers a same-day service to all visa applicants.

General Election (Overseas Voters)

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to
 
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ensure that British High Commissions are providing information for British citizens on how to vote in any forthcoming general election. [196737]

Mr. Mullin: In advance of a general election, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) instructs all its missions overseas, including British High Commissions, to seek every opportunity to publicise the provisions for overseas electors. This includes issuing press releases, using radio and TV broadcasts, and seeking free advertising space in local English-language newspapers.

We have also assisted the Electoral Commission in its efforts to make available information on overseas voter registration. Working with the Commission, we have developed guidance for the FCO website www.fco.gov.uk linked to the Electoral Commission's own website www.electoralcommission.org.uk where registration forms are available.

We have made the guidance available on a majority of the FCO's local Post websites and on our internal intranet.

Guide to the European Union

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost of production of the Guide to the European Union was; how many copies have been printed; how many imprints and downloads in respect of the documents have been made on his Department's website; and what steps are being taken to distribute the document. [197207]

Mr. MacShane: 207,000 copies of the Guide to the EU have been printed at a cost of approximately £45,000. The EU Guide has been sent to every public library in the UK and over the coming months will be distributed at events and venues nation-wide. It is also available online at www.europe.gov.uk and members of the public can request individual copies from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. No further decisions on distribution have been taken. The EU Guide website had received 951 visits by 8 November 2004.

Iraq

Mr. Best: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) forensic and (b) other assistance is being provided by the UK for the (i) uncovering and (ii) investigation of mass graves in Iraq. [196860]

Mr. Rammell: The UK provided a forensic assessment team under the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was involved in recording and assessing reported mass gravesites. Overall the UK has allocated some £2 million to support the Iraqis in dealing with the issue of mass graves. This includes funding to support the development of a comprehensive mass grave action plan and to train a full Iraqi forensic investigation team.

Sudan

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the UN International Commission of Inquiry
 
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into alleged human rights abuses in Darfur about the need for a declaration by the Government of Sudan under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute. [196080]

Mr. Mullin: It would not be appropriate for the UK or any other state to make representations to the International Commission of Inquiry. Although set up under UN auspices, it will be important for the Commission to have as much independence and autonomy as possible. We will however carefully consider any requests for assistance.

The precise judicial mechanism which will be used in Darfur will be decided following the investigations of the International Commission of Inquiry. We believe that the Government of Sudan should consider voluntarily accepting the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court under Article 12.3 of the Rome Statute.

Uganda

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's statement on 1 November concerning the International Criminal Court's decision not to prosecute child soldiers in northern Uganda; and if he will make a statement. [196668]

Mr. Rammell: Article 26 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court expressly excludes from its jurisdiction persons under 18 years old at the time of the alleged commission of a crime. The Prosecutor's statement was therefore not a decision, but a clarification that in northern Uganda, the child soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army will not and cannot be prosecuted by the court.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the International Criminal Court's decision to investigate the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda; and if he will make a statement. [196674]

Mr. Mullin: The International Criminal Court is independent and we respect any decision it takes to begin an investigation. We will do all we can to support the court in its activities. We continue to urge that all avenues—including dialogue—should be explored in the search for a comprehensive and sustainable end to this conflict.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department has (a) offered and (b) provided to the International Criminal Court in its investigation of northern Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army; and if he will make a statement. [196675]

Mr. Mullin: The UK has offered, and is already providing general practical support and advice in a variety of key areas, including witness protection and the enforcement of sentences. In addition, the UK has made a voluntary contribution to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Trust Fund for Victims.
 
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Because of the need to respect judicial independence, and to protect the integrity of the court's operations, we cannot comment on the operational aspects of specific ICC investigations; nor can we reveal what specific UK support is provided in that regard.


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