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British Citizens (Overseas Detention)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens were held in (a) jails and (b) other detention facilities in countries (i) where the use of torture has been alleged, (ii) where human rights abuses have been alleged and reported, (iii) about which travel advice had been issued by his Department advising against all travel and (iv) about which travel advice had been issued by his Department advising against all but essential travel in each year since 2001; in how many cases in each category (A) consular support was requested and (B) no consular support was requested; and if he will make a statement. [34227]

Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office maintains records of the numbers of British nationals detained overseas each year. However, our records do not distinguish between those detained in jails and in other detention facilities, nor do they indicate whether the detainee requested consular support or not. For information on British nationals detained overseas, I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Kettering (Mr. Hollobone) on 7 November 2005, Official Report, columns 168–70W.
 
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We do not keep comprehensive records of allegations of torture or human rights abuses in country in the world. We do maintain records of all versions of travel advice on third countries. As this is not cross-referenced to information on numbers of detainees, this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

British Virgin Islands

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to help develop alternative industries to tourism and offshore finance in the British Virgin Islands. [33759]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: Responsibility for the development of industry in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) falls within the remit of the locally elected British Virgin Islands Government. However, the UK Government are committed to helping BVI develop new areas of industry. This year, the Government have supported BVI's agricultural industry by providing assistance for the expansion of an existing poultry processing plant, provided financial support for a telecommunications liberalisation programme, supported an innovative project in the field of alternative medicine and committed funds for the development of a maritime training school.

Chad

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent arrest and release of Hissène Habre", former President of Chad, in Senegal. [33926]

Ian Pearson: The Senegalese authorities, following an extradition request from Belgium, detained and subsequently provisionally released Hissène Habre" pending further discussion with African partners at the Africa Union summit in January 2006.

China

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on human rights in China. [25317]

Ian Pearson: The Government have concerns about a wide range of human rights issues in China. These are set out in the current Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights report at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/Files/kfile/HumanRights2005.pdf.

We raise our concerns with the Chinese Government regularly, including through the UK China Human Rights dialogue, ministerial engagement and EU mechanisms. The Government acknowledge that the Chinese Government have recently done much to reduce poverty and promote economic development.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will include reference to the Chinese One Child Policy in his Department's Human Rights Annual Report for 2006; and if he will make a statement. [33883]


 
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Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Annual Report on Human Rights provides an overview of the main challenges to human rights around the world and explains the Government's activities and policies. Although we are not yet in a position to decide on exactly what subjects we will cover in next year's report, we will consider including material assessing the reform and operation of China's population policies.

The Government have never questioned China's right or need to implement family planning policies but has made it clear that we believe they should be based on the principles of the International Conference on Population and Development; that is on consent not coercion. We have raised concerns about this policy, including reports of enforced sterilisation and abortion. We have also raised the case of the lawyer Chen Guancheng who is being held under house arrest after he highlighted abuses in the implementation of the one child policy in Shandong. The Chinese Government have admitted there have been occasional problems with maladministration of the policy, but insist that this is down to individuals rather than overall malign intent.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Chinese authorities in relation to the safety of Gao Zhisheng and his family in continuing as the advocate for Pastor Cai. [33892]

Ian Pearson: We regularly raise human rights with the Chinese Government. As EU Presidency, the UK has launched a Freedom of Expression campaign, which has included making representations on behalf of Chinese lawyers who act in sensitive cases in China. We are aware of the case of Pastor Cai, which was raised in the context of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in October. Our embassy at Beijing is making further inquiries about the circumstances relating to Gao Zhisheng.

Damages

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr. Hayes) of 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 1480W, on damages, if he will make a statement on the three cases to which reference is made. [32047]

Ian Pearson: In my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's previous answer to which this questions refers, the first and third cases listed concerned forms of repetitive strain injury. The second case concerned burns sustained at an embassy function.

Dayton Accords

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials have had on the renewal of the Dayton accords; and if he will make a statement. [33925]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: There is no requirement to renew the Dayton/Paris accords and there have been no discussions on this issue including UK officials or Ministers. Representatives of the main Bosnian political parties have been involved in talks, facilitated by former
 
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deputy high representative Donald Hays, about possible changes to Bosnia and Herzegovina's constitution, which was established by the Dayton accords.

As Bosnia and Herzegovina draws closer to the EU, it may need to make changes to enable it to function more effectively as a state. However, the Dayton accords make clear that any changes to Bosnia and Herzegovina's constitution require the consent of all three constituent peoples.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Congolese authorities regarding the allegations of serious corruption affecting the funding of the army; and what plans he has to address this issue with the UN mission in that country. [33861]

Ian Pearson: The UK continues to press the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to implement the European Union's Security Sector Reform Mission recommendations, which aim to create a sustainable and transparent financing and administrative system for the whole army, ensuring that salaries reach soldiers on the ground. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development reinforced this message to the President and other Government leaders during his visit to the DRC from 30 October to 1 November.

Addressing corruption within the armed forces is an integral part of the security sector reform programme which we are helping to implement. We continue to work together with the UN peacekeeping force (MONUC) and other partners to achieve that end.


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