|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
The Baha"'-"s are the largest non-Muslim religious group in Iran yet, unlike Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, are not recognised in Iran's constitution. Members of the Baha"'-" community have suffered intimidation and harassment, had property confiscated and been denied access to education and employment, apparently on account of their faith. A number of Baha"'-" sites have been demolished, organisers of Baha"'-" community activities have reportedly been harassed and the Baha"'-" faith has been denigrated in the state-owned media. Many of these acts appear to have been carried
28 Jun 2005 : Column 1479W
out by, or with the support or acquiescence of, the Iranian authorities. We have raised our concerns about the situation of the Baha"'-"s in Iran with the Iranian authorities on many occasions, and will continue to do so, bilaterally and with our European Union partners.
Mr. Marshall-Andrews: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the EU3 has made on (a) nuclear co-operation, (b) technological and economic co-operation and (c) security issues during negotiations with the Iranian Government. 
Dr. Howells: In an agreement reached with Iran in Paris in November 2004, the UK, France and Germany (the E3"), supported by the EU High Representative, proposed a framework for negotiating long-term arrangements for Iran's nuclear programme and co-operation in other areas. Iran agreed to suspend fully all uranium enrichment related and reprocessing activities while the discussions continue; the agreement makes clear that this is essential to the continuation of the process. The discussions have been taken forward by a Steering Committee and three Working Groups covering nuclear issues, political/security issues, and technology/co-operation. Both sides have put forward ideas. Following a ministerial meeting in Geneva on 25 May, the E3 have now agreed to present further ideas in late July or early August. These are still under internal discussion.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the 2005 Annual Human Rights report will (a) set out the steps which the UK have taken to ensure that human rights are respected by military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan and (b) include a discussion of human rights violations alleged to have been committed by the UK. 
Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Annual Report on Human Rights 2005 is currently being edited and is due for publication as a Command Paper next month. It contains sections on Iraq and Afghanistan, including human rights, security forces and allegations of abuse.
We remain concerned by continued credible reports of human rights abuses in Kashmir, including acts reportedly perpetrated by members of the Indian security forces. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised this with the Indian Minister of Home Affairs during his visit to India in February 2005. The UK condemns all acts of violence that bring suffering to the people of Kashmir, and believes that only through dialogue between India and Pakistan will a durable solution to the Kashmir issue be reached. We welcome the Indian Chief of Army Staffs public commitment to reach out to the Kashmiri People", and the UK will
28 Jun 2005 : Column 1480W
continue to encourage the Indian Government to implement such pledges to improve the human rights situation in Kashmir.
Dr. Howells: It is important that Pakistan does all it can to fulfil President Musharraf's commitment, made at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Summit in Islamabad in January 2004, not to permit any Pakistani territory to be used to support terrorism. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the need for Pakistan to fulfil this commitment during his visit to Islamabad in February 2005, and the UK continues to make this point clearly to senior Pakistani interlocutors.
Dr. Howells: We are seeking clarification from the Government of Israel on its reported plans to build a sea barrier. We fully support Israel's right to defend itself against terrorism, which the UK condemns absolutely. But we would expect the construction of any such sea barrier to comply with international law.
Dr. Howells: Along with our EU partners, we have followed a policy of constructive engagement with Israel on humanitarian and human rights issues. We have raised our concerns on human rights violations both bilaterally and through the institutions established by the EU/Israel Association Agreement. This happened most recently at the EU/Israel Association Committee on 14 April in Jerusalem. Our primary concerns are the impact on human rights of barrier construction, restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement and settlement expansion. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised these issues with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories on 78 June.
Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Israeli Government on the timetable for Israeli withdrawals from Gaza. 
Dr. Howells: We have had ongoing discussions with the Israeli Government on the timetable for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and part of the West Bank. Most recently my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed this with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, Vice Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Shalom during his visit to the region on 78 June.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effects the
28 Jun 2005 : Column 1481W
(a) possibility of Saddam Hussein receiving a capital sentence and (b) implications of the European Convention on Human Rights have had on the provision of information by the UK Government into the investigations into Saddam Hussein's alleged crimes. 
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 21 June 2005, Official Report, column 650 on Saddam Hussein, whether the Government plans (a) to make all relevant evidence available to and (b) co-operate in all ways with the investigation into and the trial of Saddam Hussein. 
Dr. Howells: The Government supports the efforts of the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST) to bring members of the former regime to justice and has provided training for the judiciary. Should the Government be approached by the IST with a request for cooperation in support of investigations or trials, we would of course give that request full consideration. Thus far, we have received no such request.
Dr. Howells: We support the emerging momentum for change and modernisation that is developing in Saudi Arabia. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary jointly hosted with HRH Prince Saud, the Saudi Foreign Minister, a conference in London on 23 February to consider Saudi reform issues. The Foreign Secretary had a further meeting with HRH Prince Saud on 22 June at which they again discussed reform. We have established, with Saudi Arabia, a follow-up process to the conference to develop practical steps we can take together to support Saudi Arabia's reform efforts.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|