Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the proportion of the gross national product of Afghanistan which was generated by the production of drugs in each of the last four years. 
Production (metric tonnes)
|Total export value of opiates (US$ billion)|
Percentage of licit GDP
Ian Pearson: As G8 lead nation on counter narcotics in Afghanistan, the UK and the international community are supporting the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) to deliver their National Drug Control Strategy and to bring about a sustainable reduction in the cultivation, production and trafficking of opium. To that end, the UK spent £24,442,350 on counter narcotics activity in Afghanistan in 200405. This included the running of seven training courses on intelligence and investigation techniques for the Afghan Counter Narcotics Police, support for interdiction operations, resulting in major seizures of opiates, the provision of a mobile forensic laboratory and help to establish regional law enforcement offices in seven provincial centres outside Kabul.
Over the next three financial years, the UK is providing more than £270 million. This is a funding increase, agreed by the Domestic and Overseas Policy Cabinet Committee on 21 July 2005, of £115 million.
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£130 million of the funding will be provided by the Department for International Development, with the rest coming from other Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. In this three year period, we will focus on the following three key priorities, which we judge will make the greatest impact: targeting the trafficker and the top end of the drugs trade; strengthening and diversifying legal rural livelihood opportunities; and developing strong and effective counter narcotics institutions.
In November 2005, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) confirmed the poppy cultivation figures for 200405 from their annual survey. UNODC reported a 21 per cent. reduction in poppy cultivation from 131,000 hectares (ha) in 200304 (production of 4,200 metric tonnes) to 104,000 ha in 200405 (4,100 metric tonnes). Good weather and an absence of crop disease were responsible for the increased yield. While there remains a risk that cultivation may increase again this year, our goal is to ensure that the downward trend in cultivation is maintained in the long term. We are working hard with the GoA and other international partners to ensure that it is able to deliver on this goal.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the 7 July bombings in general terms with Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Member Tihic at the Srebenica commemoration on 11 July 2005. UK authorities are in regular contact with their Bosnian counterparts on counter-terrorism matters.
Ian Pearson: None. No one from the international community has had access to Aung San Suu Kyi since 2004, including representatives of the UN and the International Red Cross who have sought to see her.
Ian Pearson: There are no definitive numbers, and the situation changes daily with releases and arrests as well as some tragic recent deaths in jail. We believe that the current estimate of 1,131 made by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) is broadly accurate.
We estimate that at least five prisoners are held under administrative detention under the 1975 State Protection Act, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
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and U Tin Oo of the National league for Democracy (NLD), and Shan politician U Shwe Ohn, who has been detained since 7 February 2005.
We are also particularly concerned that this law has been used repeatedly to extend the detention of NLD MPs Dr. Than Nyein and Dr. May Win Myint, who are in very poor health. We have raised these cases with the Burmese regime and called for their immediate release.
Ian Pearson: We remain deeply concerned about the situation in Burma. Serious abuses of human rights continue, particularly in areas of armed conflict. We regularly raise our concerns with the Burmese authorities. We believe if Burma is to attain the State Peace and Development Council's (SPDC) stated goal of becoming a
We are particularly concerned that there is an increasing risk of a breakdown of relations between the SPDC and a number of ethnic ceasefire groups, including the Shan, Kachin, and Mon. We believe that the SPDC should take steps to restore confidence with these groups, inter alia through the immediate release of the Shan leaders who received heavy sentences in 2005, and an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the killing by SPDC troops of five Kachin Independence Organisation members and a civilian on 2 January.
Ian Pearson: We regularly raise concerns about freedom of religious belief in China, including the persecution of Christians, with the Chinese Government. We did so at the last UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in June 2005. Freedom of religion was a focus of the last EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which took place under the UK presidency in October 2005. The UK led an EU demarche on the Chinese Government on freedom of religion in Beijing on 29 December 2005. Individual cases of concern, including Christians, were raised at this meeting and at the Dialogues. We will continue to raise our concerns about religious freedom with the Chinese authorities.
Sir Gerald Kaufman:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will
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answer the letter dated 28 November 2005 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mrs B. Cush, forwarded from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 
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