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18 Nov 2004 : Column 1792W—continued

Middle East

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the (a) Egyptian Government and (b) Palestinian Authority concerning freedom of religion in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal; and if he will make a statement. [199106]

Mr. Mullin: We have not made any representations to the Egyptian Government or the Palestinian Authority concerning freedom of religion in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal.

We will continue to press the Palestinian Authority to ensure they can demonstrate a commitment to the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the (a) Egyptian Government and (b) Palestinian Authority concerning women's rights in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal; and if he will make a statement. [199107]

Mr. Mullin: We have not made any representations to the Egyptian Government or the Palestinian Authority concerning women's rights in Gaza after the Israeli withdrawal.

We will continue to press the Palestinian Authority to ensure they can demonstrate a commitment to the human rights of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Musilimot Adelodun Seriki-Rogers

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when appeal number LAG/488597 relating to Musilimot Adelodun Seriki-Rogers will be heard. [191216]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The appeal of Miss Musilimot Adelodum Seriki-Rogers is listed for a preliminary hearing at the Immigration Appellate Authority hearing centre in Stoke-on-Trent on the 9 December 2004, with the substantive oral hearing listed at the same venue for the 4 January 2005.

Nuclear Accidents

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the current threat of nuclear accidents worldwide; and if he will make a statement. [198082]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 15 November 2004]: It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Overseas Voters

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the date was of the last meeting between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Electoral Commission to discuss the registration of overseas voters. [198864]


 
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Mr. Mullin: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Electoral Commission last met on 10 November 2004. In the meeting we discussed how the FCO could further assist the Electoral Commission in its efforts to publicise overseas voter registration.

Palestinian Territories

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in policing in Palestinian Territories to maintain the rule of law and prevent violence as set out in the Road Map. [199022]

Mr. Mullin: Some progress has been made in policing the Occupied Territories, including the establishment of a Central Operations Room in Ramallah, which has resulted in a number of suicide bombings being prevented by the Palestinian Authority. A second Central Operations Room is due to be set up in Gaza.The UK is supporting the Palestinians in their efforts to improve security. We have offered advice, equipment and mentoring, through a senior UK police adviser in the Occupied Territories. We are also working with EU partners to prepare an assistance project for Palestinian civil policing.

We stand ready to work with the new Palestinian leadership to continue this work. There is much they still have to do. We look forward to a renewed effort to make the most of the changed landscape in the Middle East.

Peru

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's assessment is of the human rights situation in Peru; and what action his Department is taking to improve the situation. [198986]

Mr. Rammell: We constantly monitor the human rights situation in Peru. We have actively supported the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to analyse, investigate and ascribe responsibility for past human rights abuses. This support has helped develop institutional capacity within the Commission in the regions most affected by the violence. With the mandate of the Commission now concluded, the Peruvian authorities are now in the process of implementing its recommendations. We are currently supporting the work of the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office and the National Co-ordinator for Human Rights in this aim. We continue to make representations to the Peruvian authorities in support of human rights and our embassy in Lima maintains close contact with the main organisations that promote and defend human rights in Peru.

Redundant Soldiers (Sierra Leone/Liberia)

Mr. Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the number of redundant fighters in (a) Sierra Leone and (b) Liberia; what assessment has been made of the possibility that these fighters may travel to the Ivory Coast to fight there; and what steps the Government have taken to facilitate alternative employment for soldiers in (i) Liberia and (ii) Sierra Leone. [199037]


 
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Mr. Mullin: Estimates of numbers of ex-combatants in the region vary. However, 72,000 people in Sierra Leone, and 95,000 in Liberia, have participated in disarmament, demobilisation programmes. We remain concerned about the possibility of fighters moving to different conflicts; we have supported rehabilitation and reintegration programmes in both countries. I shall be visiting Sierra Leone and Liberia later this month to see the situation for myself.

Safety of Maritime Navigation Convention

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what amendments his Department has proposed to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation 1988. [189862]

Mr. Rammell: The UK has not proposed any amendments to this Convention. The US initiated the amendments in 2002. Our officials have been working with other International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Member States, and non-governmental organisations to achieve consensus on the draft texts. The amendments will provide a legal framework, based on the principal of prior flag state consent, for interdiction of ships on the high seas suspected of being involved in terrorism, including the illegal transportation of WMD. Good progress has been made in respect of the new terrorist offences, and general consensus has been achieved on many of the provisions of the boarding regime.

The IMO has met six times to exchange views on the draft texts. Further progress was made at the October meeting of the IMO Committee, and an IMO Diplomatic Conference to adopt the amendments is now scheduled for October 2005.

Sudan

Mr. Alan Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2004 by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Official Report, column 696, on rebel attacks in Darfur on civilians and aid convoys, what the evidential basis is for the statement that the rebels are making more such attacks. [199216]

Mr. Mullin: The UN Secretary-General's report to the Security Council of 2 November states that:

This report goes on to say that

We are pressing both the Government of Sudan and the rebels to respect the ceasefire and to abide by the terms of the Humanitarian and Security Protocols which they signed on 9 November.
 
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