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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent by the Government since 1997 on defending cases at the European Court of Human Rights. [19736]

Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold comprehensive records of the sums spent defending each separate case, including counsel fees, travel and subsistence. These are borne by the lead Government Department, which is not usually the FCO.

Greek Cypriots (Compensation)

Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what negotiations have taken place during the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union on settling disputes over land and financial compensation to Greek Cypriots following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. [19963]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There have been no negotiations during the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union on this matter.

The UN Secretary General's comprehensive settlement plan contained provisions for the return of, and compensation for, property. We continue to believe that the best way of resolving these difficult issues is as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement on the basis of the UN Secretary General's plan.


Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the Israeli security fence on the number of suicide bombings in Israel. [20284]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 21 October 2005]: We have not made any recent specific assessment, but we believe that the barrier has helped reduce the number of suicide bombings in Israel. We fully recognise the Israeli Government's right to defend their citizens against terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, and we acknowledge that a barrier is a reasonable way to achieve this. But we call for the barrier to be built on or behind the green line. Building the barrier on occupied territory is contrary to international law.


Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Government of the Maldives about the trial of Mohamed Nasheed, Chairman of the Maldives Democratic party, and
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others, following the recent Lawrence report on the judicial process in the Maldives undertaken by the Bar Council. [19742]

Dr. Howells: We welcome the efforts of Sir Ivan Lawrence QC and his colleagues. We continue to remind the Government of the Maldives of its human rights obligations. Soon after the arrest of Mohamed Nasheed, the British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo, accredited to the Maldives, raised the arrests with the Maldivian Foreign Minister. The high commission, as presidency, led an EU fact-finding mission to the Maldives, which met Ministers, officials and Mohamed Nasheed. Following this, the EU issued a statement on 2 September 2005. It noted the seriousness of the charges, called for due process and made clear that the credibility of trials would be scrutinised closely. The British high commissioner called on President Gayoom on 26 September 2005. He emphasised the key messages of the EU statement and drew attention to the simultaneous visit of Sir Ivan Lawrence. We are, with EU partners, actively considering further action.


Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures the UK Government have taken as a state party to the fourth Geneva convention to fulfil its obligation to take measures to ensure compliance with the convention under the ruling of the International Court of Justice ruling of 9 July 2004, no. 131, legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. [20528]

Dr. Howells: We supported United Nations General Assembly Resolution ES (Emergency Session) 10/15 which acknowledged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the legal consequences of the construction of the barrier in the occupied Palestinian territory. We agree with the broad conclusion of the ICJ, that building a barrier on parts of the current route is unlawful. We have discussed the way forward with EU partners and others, and we continue to urge Israel to comply with international law.

United Nations Day

Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which ways the UK Government plan to mark United Nations Day on 24 October. [21070]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and other Government Ministers will be attending a service at St. Paul's Cathedral on 24 October marking the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations. Senior staff from the UK Permanent Mission in New York will also be attending commemoration events hosted by the Secretary-General at the UN headquarters.
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In addition, as a strong and committed supporter of the United Nations, the Government have organised a series of events to mark its 60th anniversary. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary hosted a reception and gave a speech at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 27 June to mark the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. The Government also plan to mark the first meeting of the UN General Assembly at Westminster Central Hall on 10 January 1946.


First-class Post

Andrew Selous: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the Commission will undertake an urgent investigation into the reasons that House of Commons franked first-class post regularly fails to reach hon. Members at any point during the day after posting. [20884]

Nick Harvey: There have been some teething problems with the interface between the new screening process and the mail service. The two contractors are working together to resolve these as quickly as possible.


Benefit Fraud

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent in each of the last five years for which figures are available to reduce benefit fraud; and if he will make a statement. [15490]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested.

The overall aim of the Department's anti-fraud strategy is to have a benefit system, which is secure from first claim to final payment. The implementation of this strategy means that an anti-fraud focus is integral to the work of all staff in the Department, as is dealing with the wider agenda of error and incorrectness in benefit payments. It is therefore not possible to account for the cost of anti-fraud work separately.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ms Angela C. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome were granted compensation under industrial injuries legislation in each of the last five years, broken down by industry in which these cases arose. [18951]

Margaret Hodge: The information requested is set out in the following table.
The number of carpal tunnel syndrome cases granted compensation under the industrial injuries legislation broken down by industry

Agriculture, hunting and forestry55
Mining and quarrying
Electricity, gas and water supply5105
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and
personal and household goods
Hotels and restaurants business services and leasing
Transport, storage and communication555
Financial intermediation
Real estate, renting and business activities510105
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security551010
Health and social work5555
Other community, social and personal activities51055
Private households with employed persons
Extra-territorial organisations and bodies

1. The year ending figures have been rounded to the nearest 5 to ensure anonymity.
2. Figures are based on a 100 per cent. count.
3. Figures for 2004 are provisional, as they have not yet been finalised.
Clerical returns from Disablement Benefit Offices

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