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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Afghanistan on the threat to women from rape, abduction, sexual violence and forced marriage; and if he will make a statement. 
Women's rights in Afghanistan are protected by the new constitution, ratified in January 2004. The constitution contains specific articles on women's equality and rights of political participation. The constitution also requires the Government to uphold their obligations under international law. Rape and forced marriage are both prohibited by Afghanistan's obligations under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, both of which Afghanistan has ratified. As we have stated in the past, it is important that these rights now be implemented in practice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently has 24 staff serving in Afghanistan. They are complemented by a number of officers seconded from other Departments. The total number of UK staff in Afghanistan changes on a regular basis.
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Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the projected levels of deployment for his Department's personnel to Afghanistan is by the (a) end of 2005, (b) middle of 2006 and (c) end of 2006. 
Dr. Howells: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staffing levels are kept under constant review. Current plans for future FCO staffing in Afghanistan do not envisage any significant change to the number currently deployed.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those cases in which the Charter of Fundamental Rights has been cited as a source of law or guidance for the European Court of Justice in (a) the Advocate-General's opinions and (b) the judges' decisions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The fundamental rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights and the common constitutional traditions of the member states have for many years been cited in the case law of the European Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance: in parties' submissions to the Court, in opinions of the Advocates General and in the judgments of the Courts. Though not legally binding, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union is a recent and high profile political statement of the rights, freedoms and principles applicable in the EU and as such have since its adoption in 2000 been referred to frequently by litigants, and by the Advocates General and the CFI.
A search of the Court's website provides a list of officially reported cases which contain references to the Charter at some point in the opinion or judgment. These references however appear in the summaries of the parties' arguments as well as in the paragraphs setting out the reasoning of the judges and Advocates General. A detailed analysis of the extent to which the judges or the Advocates General relied on the charter in reaching their conclusions on the merits of the case could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The list can be found at:
Ian Pearson: The objectives of the UK China Human Rights Dialogue are long term and ambitious. The 2005 issue of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights report will, when published this summer, provide an update on the mixed progress there has been towards fulfilling these objectives.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Colombian authorities regarding death threats to the Colombian Inter-Ecclesiastical Commission for Justice and Peace. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: On behalf of the European Union, the Dutch ambassador in Bogota (in his capacity as local EU presidency) recently raised with the Colombian Government the EU's concerns over these specific threats to Justice and Peace, a non-governmental organisation that seeks to defend human rights. The presidency sought assurances that measures would be taken to protect the people concerned. The British embassy also hosted a meeting between Justice and Peace and the diplomatic corps shortly after the threats became public to demonstrate support for Justice and Peace. We regularly raise specific human rights cases, either unilaterally or as part of the EU, with the Colombian authorities. We also urge the Colombian Government to implement the recommendations arising from successive annual reports from the Colombia office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and have offered our assistance to achieve this.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Ministers from his Department will attend the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in September. 
Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many times in each of the last five years his Department has requested an impartial investigation by the relevant national authorities into allegations of the torture or ill-treatment of British citizens detained abroad; 
(2) how many times in each of the last five years the Department has raised concerns about the torture or ill-treatment of British citizens detained abroad with the relevant national authorities; 
Information about action taken in relation to allegations of mistreatment of British nationals in detention overseas is kept on individual case files. We do not keep central records which would enable me to provide exact figures. It would incur disproportionate cost to undertake the research necessary to provide the information requested. However, we do take such allegations very seriously and our policy on raising these cases with the relevant authorities is actively pursued, taking into consideration the particular circumstances of each case.
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Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the budget for informing the public about the EU, including the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, has been spent, broken down by category of activity. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: No final decisions have yet been made on communications activities on the EU constitutional treaty for financial year 200506. The separate budget for communicating the UK presidency of the EU to the British public will be spent during the presidency itself.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to his oral statement of 6 June 2005, Official Report, columns 9911005, on the EU Constitutional Treaty, on what grounds the Government believe that the new vote weighting system for the Council of the European Union proposed in the Constitution for Europe is in the UK's interests; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Constitutional Treaty includes a simplified system of qualified majority voting where a minimum number of member states representing a minimum percentage of the EU's population are required to pass legislation. As set out in the September 2004 White Paper on the EU Constitutional Treaty (Cm 6309), the Government are happy with the new mechanism which provides a reasonable balance between passing and blocking legislation. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Commentary on the Treaty (Cm 6459) provides a detailed analysis in the changes in voting rules which would be introduced by the EU Constitutional Treaty.
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