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Security Personnel

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many security personnel (a) are employed overseas by his Department and (b) were so employed in the 2004–05 financial year; and how many are (i) in-house and (ii) contract staff in each case. [32336]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: In the financial year 2004–05, approximately 500 contract staff were employed under the overseas security contracts paid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. In addition there were 37 UK based security managers employed in our overseas missions.

Figures for those missions who have guarding contracts with local security companies are not available centrally and would only be available at disproportionate cost.

Sick Leave

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's employees who are within one year of the official retirement age are on extended sick leave. [32599]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There are three employees over the age of 59 in the Foreign and Commonwealth Officer who are on extended sick leave.

Terrorism (Human Rights)

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK has taken at EU level to ensure full respect for European human rights law in the event of the detention by a non-EU state of a person suspected of a terrorist act or intent within any state of the EU. [31961]

Ian Pearson: All EU member states are parties to the European convention on human rights and, as such, are obliged to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms set out in the convention. Individuals claiming to be the victim of a violation of a convention right by one of the parties are entitled to make an application to the European Court of Human Rights. The EU has consistently stressed the importance of respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism.
 
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Uzbekistan

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answers of 24 November 2005, Official Report, columns 2247–48W, on Uzbekistan, to the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham (Mr. Hands), when EU Ministers plan to review the exemption of Islam Karimov and his family from the list of Uzbek officials banned from travelling to the European Union; what discussions he has had with German authorities regarding the visit of Uzbek Interior Minister Almatov; and whether Mr. Almatov is still in Germany. [33768]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The measures announced by the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 3 October in relation to Uzbekistan came into force on 14 November. They clearly demonstrate the profound concern of the European Union (EU) about the situation in Uzbekistan and the EU's strong condemnation of the refusal of the Uzbek authorities' to allow an independent international inquiry into the events in Andizhan in May.

The Council decided to implement these measures for an initial period of one year. In the meantime, the Council will keep under constant review the measures it has implemented in the light of any significant changes to the current situation, in particular any that demonstrate the willingness of the Uzbek authorities to adhere to the principles of respect for human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

The German authorities consulted us before Almatov's visa was issued and we agreed with their assessment that Almatov qualified for an exemption as a case of urgent humanitarian need. Our embassy in Berlin remains in contact with the German authorities with regard to this case.

The details of Almatov's presence are a matter for the Germans.

West Papua

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is with regard to West Papua; if he will make representations regarding alleged human rights abuses there; what steps he is taking to ensure that this part of Indonesia is subject to international scrutiny; and what discussions his Department has had with those organisations that wish to secede from Indonesia. [32292]

Ian Pearson: We support the territorial integrity of Indonesia. We encourage the Indonesian Government to engage in dialogue with Papuan representatives and to proceed with full implementation of the 2001 Special Autonomy legislation. We are encouraged by the formation of the Papuan People's Council (MRP) in November 2005. The MRP is made up of native Papuans and will act as an advisory panel to the devolved Papuan legislature (DPRP), advising on a range of issues that affect native Papuans.

We also welcome the high priority that the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has attached to the resolution of conflict in Papua and his commitment, on 17 August, to resolve the issue of Papua in a peaceful, just and dignified manner by emphasising dialogue. As
 
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part of this, President Yudhoyono met a delegation of Papuan leaders on 9 August. He has stated that he will implement the Special Autonomy law. We and other members of the international community encourage him to do so. We hope that the MRP can work together with the local and central Government to bring about solutions to Papua's problems.

We are concerned about reports of human rights abuses in Papua, and we raise these with the Government of Indonesia.

Staff from our embassy in Jakarta make periodic visits to Papua to discuss the situation with local Papuan organisations, human rights organisations, church leaders, academics and non-governmental organisations.

Zimbabwe

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues he has raised with the Zimbabwe High Commission in the last12 months; and what result was achieved in each case. [30549]

Ian Pearson: Over the last 12 months, the Zimbabwean ambassador has been summoned three times by Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa (Lord Triesman of Tottenham), formally protested about Operation Murambatsvina on 13 June, while my hon. Friend, the former Minister for Africa (Mr. Mullin) protested against the pre-election crackdown on the media and the opposition on 22 February. My right hon. Friend the former Minister for Europe (Mr. MacShane) also summoned the Zimbabwean ambassador in November 2004, to express concern at British journalists denied access to cover the England cricket tour of Zimbabwe. FCO officials have also maintained a dialogue with other Zimbabwe embassy staff, ensuring our concerns on the manipulated elections, the crackdown on urban poor and the continued lack of respect for good governance, human rights and the rule of law, are clear and understood.

CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS

Arrest Warrants (Gravesham)

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many warrants were issued from Dartford magistrates court for the arrest of non-attendees resident in Gravesham in the last year for which figures are available. [32641]

Ms Harman: The information is as follows:

Warrants issued by Dartford magistrates court

The requested data are not available. Data is recorded for the Dartford and Gravesham Local Justice Area only.

Between 1 November 2004 and 31 October 2005 the following warrants were issued in respect of absent defendants for Dartford and Gravesham Local Justice Area.
 
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Number
Fail To Appear Warrants440
Other (Crime) Warrants21
Misc. Breach Warrants116
Total Warrants577

Child Care Lawyers

Mr. Hands: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will make a statement on the duty of care that child care lawyers have to the children of their clients. [32077]

Bridget Prentice: Lawyers dealing with public law Children Act work may be representing the parents or other carers of children subject to a section 31 application.

In contract law, the lawyer's obligations are to his/her client to deliver the relevant service. A duty of care indicates a liability, including for damages in negligence (as opposed to contract).

Professional conduct obligations are a matter for the Law Society. The Professional Conduct Rules are set out in the Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors published by the Law Society.

The Law Society's Good Practice in ChildCare Cases says


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