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11 Oct 2005 : Column 466W—continued


Ambassadors (Misconduct)

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints of misconduct made against Her Majesty's Ambassadors by subordinate staff are outstanding; how long each case has been outstanding; whether investigations in each case have been concluded; and when in each case it is anticipated the complaint will be determined. [15742]

Mr. Straw: None.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring of human rights in Bangladesh is being undertaken by his officials; and what assistance has been offered to deal with investigations into assassination attempts. [16210]

Dr. Howells: The British high commission in Dhaka closely monitors human rights in Bangladesh. The high commission has regular dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh and lobbies bilaterally and jointly with EU partners on issues identified as key human rights priorities in Bangladesh. The high commission also has regular contacts with human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and activists in Bangladesh, and provides funding to NGOs for human rights programmes.

Where we can and when invited to do so, we work with the Bangladeshi authorities to improve their capacity to identify and prosecute those involved in extremist activities. After the grenade attack in Sylhet in May 2004 in which the British high commissioner was injured, there were visits to Bangladesh by specialist Metropolitan police officers to advise and assist local agencies with their investigations. Following their return, the Metropolitan Police Service offered further practical assistance and informal advice to the Bangladeshi authorities.

Commonwealth Day

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Commonwealth Day. [16708]

Ian Pearson: We are in touch with the Council of Commonwealth Societies, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Governments about how best to commemorate Commonwealth Day 2006. No plans have yet been made for the 50th Commonwealth Day, due in March 2007.

Diplomatic Immunity

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list offences committed overseas in 2004 by UK nationals holding diplomatic immunity. [16746]

Dr. Howells: We are not aware of any offences committed overseas in 2004 by UK nationals holding diplomatic immunity.
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G8 Summit

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people who were (a) delegates and (b) representatives of the media attended the G8 summit in Gleneagles, broken down by country of representation. [15657]

Mr. Straw: The total number of accredited delegates to the G8 Summit was 2,358, broken down as follows:

A total of 3,051 members of the media were accredited, though not all attended the summit. The majority of these accredited independently so did not represent a particular country. 701 were attached to the delegations, broken down as follows:

Handcuffs (Exports)

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's policy is on the export of over-sized handcuffs; to which countries over-sized handcuffs are not allowed to be exported; for what reasons; and if he will make a statement. [15515]

Dr. Howells: All export licence applications for over-sized handcuffs are assessed on a case by case basis against the consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The UK Government does not allow the export of over-sized handcuffs where they might be used as part of leg-irons or shackles. We are fully committed to this policy and to the rigorous and transparent implementation of our export controls. European Union member states have adopted a Council Regulation (EC) No. 1236/2005 (O.J.L200, 30.7.2005), which will enter into force on 30 July 2006, concerning the trade in goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This regulation includes provisions governing the transfer of handcuffs. The regulation is consistent with the UK's current policy on the export of over-sized handcuffs.


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the (a) role, (b) mandate, (c) budget, (d) diplomatic status, (e) level of support to be accorded by UK diplomats to, (f) level of security
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accorded to and (g) level of security caveated documents releasable to the European Union Rule of Law Mission for Iraq. [15915]

Dr. Howells: The role of the EU Rule of Law Mission is to provide training for up to 770 senior and high-potential officials primarily from the police, judiciary and penitentiary to strengthen management capacity and improve skills and procedures in criminal investigation, in full respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Training takes place in the EU. Trainers and training courses are supplied and funded by contributing EU member states while the EU funds the common costs for the mission. This includes the organisational and management staff and the administrative costs for the mission. The mission has a co-ordinating office in Brussels, and a liaison office in Baghdad, which co-ordinates between the Iraqi authorities and the course organisers.

The mission's mandate was granted by a Joint Action agreed by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 7 March 2005.

The budget for the common costs of the mission is sourced from the Common Foreign Security Policy Budget and is €10 million. This covers the administrative costs of the Brussels co-ordination office and the Baghdad liaison office.

Members of the Baghdad liaison office do not have diplomatic status. This means that they are subject to Iraqi law. The British embassy and members of the office are currently negotiating diplomatic recognition with the Iraqi authorities, which would give them a level of immunity under Coalition Provisional Authority Order 17.

The UK provides accommodation and security and protection services for the five-person Baghdad liaison office. The EU reimburses the UK for the services provided.

Members of the EU team based in Iraq are accorded the same levels of protection as British diplomats.

The Baghdad liaison office is situated inside the British embassy building. This is in a secure, guarded compound, inside the international zone. Transfers to and from the airport are by helicopter.

The release of classified documents outside of normal government channels such as to the EU is decided on a case by case basis. The originator of the document has the final say over its release and documents would be edited to remove any information where its release would be damaging.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, columns 474–78W, on the private finance initiative, what total value of assets and liabilities for each of the listed private finance initiatives and public private partnerships is recorded on the Government balance sheet; what proportion of assets and liabilities is listed; what the accounting treatment is for assets and liabilities; and
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whether it is compatible with (a) generally-accepted accounting practices and (b) international financial reporting standards. [15957]

Mr. Straw: In connection with the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with Arteos, the British embassy in Berlin is recorded at a book value of £9,672,347.18 within the departmental balance sheet of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as at 31 March 2005 (unaudited).

The PFI contract with Global Crossing is treated as off-balance sheet.

The public private partnerships (PPP) contract with Hewlett Packard is included as a capital commitment in the departmental resource accounts for the year ended 31 March 2005 which states that the capital commitment is estimated at £83 million over seven years of the total value of the contract of £179 million, the balance to be expensed when incurred.

The accounting policy in respect of PFI transactions is stated in the resource accounts as follows.

This is in accordance with HM Treasury's Resource Accounting Manual which is compatible with generally accepted accounting practices and is broadly compatible with international financial reporting standards. The convergence of Government Accounting and international financial reporting standards is subject to consideration and review by the Financial Reporting Advisory Board and the Treasury.

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