|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Alexander: During my recent visit to Pakistan, I did not visit Pakistan-administered Kashmir. However, I did discuss India/Pakistan relations and Kashmir with Prime Minister Aziz and Foreign Minister Kasuri. I assured them that the United Kingdom fully supported the ongoing dialogue between Pakistan and India. My right hon. Friend Mr. Blunkett and my hon. Friend Mr. O'Brien visited Pakistan-administered Kashmir in February 2004 and December 2003 respectively.
Mr. Rammell: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation and production in Afghanistan. It has reported levels of cultivation and production since 1999 as follows:
The UNODC figures for 1999, 2000 and 2001 were recorded under the Taliban regime. The low level of cultivation and low production figure in 2001 reflect the Taliban ban on opium cultivation; the ban did not however address the underlying causes of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which was enforced with a mix of threat and bribery and drove up the price of opium, benefiting those with opium stockpiles.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance was issued to British consular staff and others visiting (a) Guantanamo Bay and (b) other places of detention overseas on measures to guard against allegations that they may have implicitly condoned torture and ill treatment or encouraged prisoners to make false confessions; and what plans he has to issue further guidance. 
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff visited the British nationals at Guantanamo Bay to check on their welfare. The staff concerned were aware of the importance of the human rights of the detainees and of the need to report information about this. The visits have been reported to Parliament, to the detainees' families and to Ministers.
25 Jan 2005 : Column 234W
UK intelligence personnel also visited Guantanamo to interview detainees to gather information that might prove valuable in the protection of the UK and its citizens. These officials were also aware of the importance of the human rights of the detainees.
In May 2004, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the FCO issued guidance to all staff on reporting torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This guidance was then included in the FCO Human Rights Guidelines which are available to all staff on the FCO intranet.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of Egypt regarding their response to the killing of Christians in El-Kosheh in January 2000. 
Mr. Rammell: The sectarian violence in El-Kosheh in January 2001, which left 20 Christians and one Muslim dead, was deeply concerning. We have followed the case closely and made our concerns known at the time, including visiting the area. We were initially encouraged that the Prosecutor-General persistently sought judicial review of early judgments in the case. However we are disappointed that, due to the Court of Cassation's ruling last year, the legal process is now at an end.
We regularly raise human rights issues with the Egyptian authorities. Most recently we raised our concerns about the requirement to specify religious affiliation on identity cards, which is a concern for minority religious groups. In January 2005 we raised the individual cases of Heidi Salib, Wafaa Constantine and William Shaiboub.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Eritrea concerning the arrest of 60 members of the Ream Charismatic Church in Asmara. 
Mr. Mullin: We raise the issue of religious freedom with the Eritrean Government regularly. Our Charge" d'Affaires raised this case on 18 January and I raised the issue with President Isaias, in Asmara, during my visit there in January last year. We will continue to make clear our concern.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what penalty clauses have been included in his Department's contract with the Geronimo PR agency to be effective if the agency fails to achieve the required coverage for the EU and the proposed EU constitution. 
The presence of penalty clauses is the same as for any other standard Central Office of Information contract in line with contracts issued by other Government Departments.
25 Jan 2005 : Column 235W
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the names are of the employees of the Geronimo agency who (a) presented the company's proposal to the Department and (b) will work on his Department's account. 
Mr. MacShane: The contract between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Geronimo will follow the standard Central Office of Information framework agreement with all of their roster agencies. Further details are commercially sensitive.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list agencies which (a) tendered for and (b) were shortlisted for the contract to promote the EU and the proposed constitution. 
Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings he has planned with US officials to discuss the status of British nationals held at Guantanamo Bay. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK residents with indefinite leave to remain in the UK are held at Guantanamo Bay; and what their names are. 
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has received concerning Guantanamo Bay prisoners who are residents with indefinite leave to remain in the UK. 
Mr. Mullin: We have received representations from some family members, lawyers, MPs and Peers on behalf of the five British residents at Guantanamo Bay that we should provide them with consular assistance.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to facilitate and support talks between India and Pakistan about safeguarding against nuclear conflict. 
Mr. Alexander: We warmly welcome the on-going dialogue between India and Pakistan on nuclear confidence-building measures as part of the composite dialogue process. We hope that both countries will work together to implement swiftly confidence-building measures, e.g pre-notification of missile tests, following their recent meeting on 1415 December. We continue to discuss issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation with the governments of both countries.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|