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Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) examined into the low frequency noise impact of wind turbines. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 27 January 2005]: There are four main studies on the impact of low frequency noises of wind turbines that have been commissioned and examined by my Department, which are:
Assessment of the Effects of Noise and Vibration from Offshore Wind Farms on Marine Wildlife, published 2001.
Two others studies that have been commissioned and are both due to report in spring 2005 are:
Study into the Effects of Wind Farms on the Eskdalemuir Seismic Array (joint study with MOD and BWEA); and
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her policy is on the separation distances required for the erection of wind turbine pylons over 100 metres in height. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 27 January 2005]: How wind turbines are set out and the distance between each turbine on any wind farm is a matter for the developer to propose on a case-by-case basis.
There are obvious technical reasons for a certain distance between each turbine. It needs to be compact enough to minimise the capital cost, and big enough for adequate separations to lessen energy loss through wind shadowing from upstream machines. It is usual for there to be a distance between the turbines of around 310 rotor diameters The issue of wind farms and their proximity to dwellings and roads should be considered at the planning stage of individual developments and will be subject to policies in the local authority's development plan and the national policies set out in Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22).
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress in improving women's rights in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Rammell: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Sarwar) on 1 February (UIN 211279).
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of human rights in China. 
Over the last 15 years the Chinese Government has done much to help reduce poverty levels within China and promote economic improvements for its citizens. This effort to develop has led in some cases to an improvement in basic freedoms for citizens, e.g. there is more freedom to move around
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the country and outside the country. However, we remain concerned about many aspects of the human rights situation in China. A detailed assessment can be found in the most recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights Report for 2004 available at www.fco.gov.uk/humanrightsreport2004 and in the Library of the House.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many reports his Department has received of crimes against humanity committed by the government of Burma in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The British Government are one of the strongest critics of the Burmese regime's abuses of human rights. We are aware of a consistent pattern of serious violations over many years, particularly against ethnic groups. These have been highlighted in successive UK co-sponsored resolutions on Burma in the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. But we do not consider that the atrocities constitute crimes against humanity", which have specific definitions under international law. Nor does the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Professor Sergio Pinheiro, use these terms to describe the situation there.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when his Department's travel advice with regard to Burma was last (a) reviewed and (b) changed; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice for Burma was last updated on 7 January 2005 and remains under regular review.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the number of UK citizens travelling to Burma in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: According to available statistics the number of visits from the UK to Burma remains at a level similar to 1997:
|Number of visits|
It is our policy not to encourage tourism to Burma. We have drawn to the attention of travel organisations the views of the Burmese Democratic Movement that tourism is inappropriate at present due to the political and human rights situation there. As part of this policy, Burmese tourism officials are included in the European Union visa ban and asset freeze.
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For as long as such human rights violations continue, we would urge anyone who may be thinking of visiting Burma on holiday to consider carefully whether by their actions they are helping to support the regime and prolong such serious abuses.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the massacre at Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi on 13 August 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: We were outraged by the atrocity committed at Gatumba on 13 August 2004, in which Congolese refugees, mainly Banyamulenge women and children, were targeted. Over 150 were killed.
We and our international partners condemned the massacre in UN Security Council Presidential Statement 2004/30, and urged the UN and the Burundian Government to conduct urgent investigations.
Following the conclusion of the UN's investigations, the international community reiterated its commitment to bringing the perpetrators of the massacre to justice and ending impunity in the Great Lakes region in Security Council Resolution 1577 (2004).
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of alleged Mai Mai and Rwandan Hutu militia involvement in the massacre at Gatumba refugee camp in Burundi on 13 August 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Alexander: The Burundian rebel group, the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL), claimed responsibility for the Gatumba massacre. Reports from several sources, including survivors, suggested that the massacre was perpetrated by a group containing elements of FNL, Congolese Mai-Mai and Ex-Forces Armees Rwandaises (FAR)/Interahamwe forces.
Investigations by the United Nations uncovered some evidence implicating Mai-Mai and Ex-FAR/Interahamwe. However, the UN's final report on the massacre said that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Mai-Mai and Ex-FAR/Interahamwe involvement.
Ending impunity in the Great Lakes remains a UK priority and we continue to push for the perpetrators of the Gatumba massacre and other atrocities in the region to be brought to justice.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he, (b) members of his Department and (c) representatives of the UK Government have had with members of (i) the Government of Burundi and (ii)the armed forces of Burundi concerning the security needs of refugee (A) camps and (B) groups in Burundi, with particular reference to the Banyamulenge; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK, working together with the United Nations and other international partners, has made clear to the Burundian authorities, including the armed forces, of the need to protect refugees of all communities living on Burundian territory.
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Both before and following the massacre at Gatumba on 13 August 2004, we, along with international partners and the UN Mission in Burundi, urged the Burundian authorities to take additional steps to improve the security situation of refugees, such as moving camps holding Banyamulenge groups away from border areas. However, many Banyamulenge wanted to remain as close to their homes in South Kivu as possible.
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