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India (Caste Discrimination)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the Department is taking to tackle caste discrimination in India. [205401]

Hilary Benn: DFID seeks to understand and address issues of institutional and individual discrimination against Dalits that result in processes of social exclusion and disadvantage. DFID shares this analysis with development partners and encourages them to address discrimination through their programmes of support to the Government of India and civil society. In particular, DFID seeks to disaggregate data by the government's definition of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, to highlight the differences in health, education and other indicators between these Scheduled categories and others. For example, DFID support for the nationwide Sarva Shikshya Abhyan (Education-for-AII) and the Reproductive and Child Health programmes utilises such disaggregated data to identify those with the poorest outcomes and ensure that State and District Plans in education and health address the disparities.

DFID is also developing programmes of support through civil society to help realise the rights of marginalised groups, specifically identifying Scheduled Castes or Dalits among these. The Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS) programme supports a number of civil society initiatives that address social exclusion in the 100 poorest districts in India (details are available on the PACS website DFID is in discussion with several International Non-Governmental Organisations, including the Dalit Solidarity Network, Christian Aid and Action Aid, about support for Scheduled Caste or Dalit organisations that seek to realise the Constitutional commitments intended to address caste discrimination and eliminate its harmful effects.

In line with DFID's India Country Assistance Plan, we also seek to support programmes and organisations that promote the measures listed in the UN Committee for Elimination of Racial Discrimination (August 2002 General Recommendation XXIX on "Descent-Based Discrimination"), recognising Dalits as descent-based communities. DFID recognises the need for increased awareness of the issue across other departments if there is to be consistent help for India to address the problem of caste discrimination systemically.


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of post-war aid resources committed to Iraq has been spent to date; and what plans there are for further expenditure. [205515]

Hilary Benn: The UK made a total financial commitment of £544 million to humanitarian and reconstruction work in Iraq for the three years from April 2003 to March 2006. This comprises funding of £422.5 million from DFID (including £38 million as our share of planned EC spending), £30 million from the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (GCPP), £61.5 million from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and £30 million for Ministry of Defence Quick Impact Projects (QIPs).
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The UK has disbursed over £324 million: £251 million from DFID, £38 million from the FCO, £20 million on QIPs and £15 million from the GCPP. £220 million is expected to be disbursed over the next 15 months. Full details of DFID's commitments to aid in Iraq can be found at

IT (Disciplinary Prodedures)

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department have (a) received official warnings and (b) faced disciplinary procedures following breaches of IT policy in each year since 1997. [205814]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: In DFID, the following disciplinary cases have occurred due to breach of IT policy since 1997:
Number of casesAction taken
19971Oral warning issued
19991Oral warning issued
20021Oral warning issued

The above information relates to our UK-based staff only as we do not hold central records of discipline cases for Staff Appointed in Country.

The misuse of IT is identified as possible gross misconduct within our discipline procedures. These are included in DFID's Staff Handbook, a copy of which is made available to all staff.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether departmental special advisers have been responsible for authorising instances of departmental spending since May 1997; [203909]

(2) whether departmental special advisers have given instructions to permanent civil servants without the explicit authorisation of Ministers since May 1997. [203966]

Hilary Benn: I refer the hon. Member for Chichester to the response given by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet (Mr. Miliband), on 16 December 2004, Official Report, column1258–59W.


Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions (a) he, (b) members of his Department and (c) representatives of the UK Government have had with (i) members and (ii) representatives of the Government of Tanzania, regarding the comments in Amnesty International's recent report Protecting their rights: Rwandese Refugees in the Great Lakes Region concerning the treatment of Rwanda's refugees in Tanzania; and if he will make a statement. [206324]

Hilary Benn: Tanzania hosts approximately 410,000 refugees from the Great Lakes Region in camps, of whom, 183 are of Rwandan origin. The Government of Tanzania has given all Rwandan refugees in the camps permission to remain in Tanzania pending resettlement. The United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) is currently surveying the numbers and
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aspirations of those in refugee settlements. No specific discussions have taken place on Amnesty International's recent report. DFID will continue to monitor the situation closely through UN fora.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Government of Uzbekistan and (b) small farmers near Samarkand about property rights in agriculture. [205268]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: From 1998–2002, DFID supported land property issues in Samarkand. The DFID project provided technical assistance and seed capital in support of institutional strengthening of the association of private farmers in Bulungur. That project demonstrated that farmers are able to secure access to lending and markets through better use of property assets.

Following requests from the Governments of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in 2004, DFID started cross border work in the Zarafshan Valley to improve economic growth and reduce poverty. In the Tajik part of Zarafshan, DFID is working with local governments and the United Nations Development Programme to promote the national poverty reduction strategy. Samarkand Oblast, which is the Uzbek part of the Zarafshan Valley, will benefit from this work. This work includes information and legal advice for protection of land ownership and property rights including affordable access to dispute resolution, through Third Party Arbitration Courts (TPAC). This will benefit small-scale private farmers, other poor people and emerging cooperatives.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the extent of the use of child labour in Uzbekistan. [205278]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: There is limited data on the issue of labour standards, child labour or forced and bonded labour in all countries of Central Asia, including Uzbekistan. Data from a UNICEF survey suggests that around one quarter of children in Uzbekistan were economically active in 2000. There is little documented evidence on the existence of forced or bonded labour in Uzbekistan. Child labour and child work is concentrated in the agricultural sector, service provision and trade.

DFID supports the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which is expanding its activities in Central Asia, through the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). IPEC is developing a regional programme to combat child labour with a focus on the worst forms. In Summer 2004, it undertook a series of appraisal missions to central Asia to develop future projects within the regional programme. In Uzbekistan, the ILO, jointly with UNICEF, will undertake research on child labour, in collaboration with the "Social Complex" of the Cabinet of Ministers: an umbrella body that works on social issues across Uzbek ministries.
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DFID's policy is to support the reduction of child labour with special emphasis on the elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and to achieve this within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in a way which ensures children's survival, meets children's development needs particularly in health and education, ensures children's protection and allows them to participate in decisions that affect their lives. On labour standards more generally, DFID policy emphasises the role that appropriate implementation of core labour standards plays in lifting poor people out of poverty.

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