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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the trial and conviction in Brazil of Craig Alden; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander [holding answer 21 November 2005]: In the light of concerns about the fairness of the trial proceedings that led to Craig Alden's conviction in 2002, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offered Mr. Alden the services of a member of the FCO pro bono lawyers panel, Jeremy Richardson QC, to review the conduct of his case. The decision to offer Mr. Alden this assistance was made without prejudice to the fact that the Government, as in all cases of British Nationals subject to trial proceedings overseas, takes no position as to the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Jeremy Richardson produced two reports on Mr. Alden's case. Mr. Richardson concluded that the trial proceedings in the case were flawed, and that this raised doubts about the fairness of Mr. Alden's conviction. The Government supported Mr. Alden's application to the Brazilian Government for Presidential Expulsion. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to the Brazilian Foreign Minister in March 2005, highlighting the concerns about the trial process raised in Mr. Richardson's reports. In August 2005, the Brazilian authorities informed British Embassy officials of their intention to reject Mr. Alden's request for Presidential Expulsion. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has recently received a formal written response from the Brazilian Foreign Minister confirming the rejection. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the FCO raised that matter with the Brazillian ambassador on 16 November. Mr. Alden has been on hunger strike since 1 November.
We have strongly urged Mr. Alden to reconsider this course of action. Consular officials are in regular contact. The British Embassy nurse visited him on 11 November to assess his condition. We continue to make daily checks on Mr. Alden's health.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Chinese Government about the forced repatriation of North Korean asylum seekers in China. 
We have raised concerns about the forced repatriation of North Korean border crossers on a number of occasions with the Chinese Government. We did so most recently at the UK China Human Rights Dialogue in June 2005. There was also a discussion of this issue at the EU China Human Rights Dialogue in October 2005.
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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations were made to the Chinese delegation during the recent state visit regarding (a) reports of religious persecution in China and (b) the status of Tibet. 
Ian Pearson: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised human rights with President Hu but not specifically religious persecution or the status of Tibet. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and the Chinese Foreign Minister discussed the issue of Tibet and the international parliamentary convention to be held in Scotland later this month. Freedom of religion was a focus for the recent EU China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Beijing on 24 October 2005.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will listdepartmental projects conducted by consultants in each year since 2000; what the cost was in each case; and what the total cost of employing consultants was in each year. 
Mr. Straw: Expenditure on external consultants in general is reported annually in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) Departmental Report, copies of which are available in the Library of the House and on the FCO's website at www.fco.gov.uk.
Information on expenditure on individual projects is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The vast majority of the work undertaken for the FCO by consultants in each year since 2000 was associated with our major Information Communication Technology and estate construction programmes.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Egyptian authorities that provision should be made for Egyptian citizens who are not members of the three official faiths to enable them to receive identity cards; and if he will make a statement. 
As stated in the Egyptian constitution, all Egyptian citizens should be treated equally, regardless of religion. We agree that provision should be made for all Egyptian citizens to enable them to receive identity cards.
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The UK, along with Australia, the USA, Canada and Ireland, took part in a demarche on the Egyptian Government in December 2004 on the topic of identity cards. We plan to raise our concerns again with the Egyptian Government before the end of the year.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list EU legislation in force which cites as its legal basis Article 308 of the treaties (a) wholly and (b) in part. 
Article 308 requires, in order for it to be used as a legal base for action, that a proposal be necessary for the attainment of a Community objective, and have unanimous support at the Council. The Government have given an undertaking that, where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, the Commission's justification of this choice of legal base will be provided to the Scrutiny Committees.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Directives, regulations and decisions adopted in the EU are published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which can be found at http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/JOIndex.do?ihmlang=en
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold this information centrally. Information for this year could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Details of legislation repealed in previous years is available in House of Commons Standard Note SN/IA/2888.
As part of the Better Regulation agenda, the European Commission has expressed a firm commitment to the repeal of irrelevant or obsolete legislation. The UK is a strong supporter of the Better Regulation agenda. We welcome the Commission's recent communication on the simplification of the regulatory environment which is available in the House of Commons Library and includes proposals to repeal, codify, recast or modify 222 pieces of legislation, affecting more that 1,400 related legal Acts.
We raised the matter of human rights abuses against Falun Gong practitioners at the UK China Human Rights Dialogue in June 2005. Falun
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Gong cases have been included among individual cases of concern on which we have sought responses from the Chinese authorities. Cases of Falun Gong practitioners were also raised at the EU China Human Rights Dialogue in October 2005. We will continue to raise such cases where appropriate.
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