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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1504W—continued

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the expenditure on (a) buildings and (b) insurance of buildings and staff was of (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) executive agency and (C) other public body for which his Department is responsible in each English region in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005–06 in each case. [40085]

Mr. Straw: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) maintains buildings in London and at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire. It is responsible for one executive agency, the Wilton Park Conference Centre, which maintains buildings in Sussex. The expenditure for each of these areas for the years requested is shown in the following table.
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Hanslope Park956,842.67589,299.481,169,837.241,239,319.00
Wilton Park158,620.00170,552.00184,120.00151,880.00
Hanslope Park0000
Wilton Park43,89353,30364,60668,275

(1) Estimated

The estimated figure for London buildings is lower than previous years as an additional £921,560 for the maintenance of the fabric of the buildings has been
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allocated in the mid-year review, but has not yet been allocated to individual buildings. This brings the total estimated spend to slightly below last year's actual spend.

London and Hanslope Park buildings are not insured—the office acts as it's own insurer. The Wilton Park buildings are insured under the current lease agreement.

The FCO also has responsibility for a number of non-departmental public bodies which have recorded expenditure on buildings and insurance in these financial years. The following expenditure was made in London.

British Council(3)5,600,0005,600,0004,800,0005,700,000
Westminster Foundation for Democracy41,82489,40250,02888,004
British Association for Central and Eastern Europe32,78730,58334,13931,363
BBC World Service(3)13,700,00013,700,00013,700,00013,700,000
Great Britain-China Centre0000
British Council0000
Westminster Foundation for Democracy1,6552,0311,8343,849
British Association for Central and Eastern Europe1,5491,5961,7391,571
BBC World Service(3)300,000300,000300,000300,000
Great Britain-China Centre9771,031815818

(2) Estimated
(3) The BBC World Service and British Council figures are approximate

The British Council also maintains buildings in Manchester, which incurred the following expenditure.
British Council(4)


(4) Estimated
(5) The BBC World Service and British Council figures are approximate

No expenditure on buildings and insurance was recorded during this period for any other non-departmental public body for which the FCO has responsibility.

Departmental Functions

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff are associated with the delivery of the (a) policy and service delivery function and (b) corporate function of his Department; and what the total salary costs were for each function in the last year for which figures are available. [48895]

Mr. Straw: Staff numbers and costs are not collected in a way that would give the above information. Our Activity Based Management (ABM) system gives an allocation of cost and staff numbers to business objectives but these are not the same as policy, service delivery and corporate services.

Departmental Information

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on his Department's public relations and information services in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [48959]

Mr. Straw: We do not maintain this information centrally and in order to provide it each overseas post would need to identify each relevant accounts transaction for the past five years. The information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Detention Centres (US Flights)

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2005, Official Report, column 2843W, on detention centres (US flights), what assessment he has made of differences between the UK Government's working definition of torture and that of the US Administration. [49247]

Dr. Howells: In the UK, torture is defined in section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. The Government do not have any other working definition" of torture. Any working definition" used by the US Government would be a matter of US law and practice. As a State Party to the UN Convention
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Against Torture, the US Government, like the UK Government, is obliged to prevent and to criminalise torture as defined in Article 1 of that Convention.

Family Member Permits

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which 10 of his Department's overseas diplomatic posts issued the greatest number of European economic area family member permits in 2004–05; and what checks were made on the eligibility of family members before they were issued. [50709]

Dr. Howells: The following 10 overseas diplomatic posts issued the greatest number of European Economic Area (EEA) family permits in the financial year 2004–05:
EEA family permits issued

Diplomatic postNumber of permits

Further entry clearance statistics in addition to those provided can be found on the UK visas website at:'Entry Clearance: Facts and Figures'.

Applicants for EEA family permits must show that they meet the requirements of the Immigration (European Economic Area) (Amendment) Regulations 2003 in order to be granted entry clearance on that basis. An entry clearance officer (ECO) assessing an EEA family permit application must be satisfied in particular that the applicant is related as claimed to the EEA principal (the person in regards to whom the applicant is making their application) or the EEA principal's spouse. If the ECO has doubts about an application, he/she is entitled to interview the applicant and conduct further investigations until satisfied.

In addition, the ECO will need to see evidence that the EEA principal is in or intends to travel to the UK, has an EEA passport and evidence of the EEA principal's employment in the UK or that they can be supported for the whole period of their stay.

Human Rights

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department's most recent assessment is of the human rights situation in (a) Libya, (b) Eritrea, (c) Vietnam, (d) Turkmenistan and (e) Belarus; and if he will make a statement. [49491]

Dr. Howells: The Government remain concerned about the human rights situation in Libya, Eritrea, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and Belarus.
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The Government welcome the opening of a dialogue between the Libyan authorities and groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. We also welcome progress made in the joint programme on prison management between the Libyan Secretariat of Justice and the International Centre for Prison Studies, which was financed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Global Opportunities Fund. We also welcome the abolition of the Revolutionary Courts, the recent debate in the Basic People's Congresses on the possible abolition or further restriction of the death penalty, and the release of 14 political prisoners in January 2006.


We monitor the human rights situation in Eritrea closely. The continuing detention of members of minority religious groups and the arrest and detention without charge of journalists and prominent members of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice since 18 September 2001 are of grave concern to us and the international community. We regularly raise these concerns with the Eritrean Government.


Vietnam has made substantial progress in terms of economic and social rights over recent decades. However, it has, despite some recent progress, a poor record with regard to civil and political rights.

The UK, with our EU partners, is pursuing an increasingly open dialogue with the Vietnamese Government on human rights, particularly at the twice-yearly meetings of the EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue. The EU has concerns with regard to the right to a fair trial, freedom of the press, of expression, of information, of assembly, of association, and of religion, the death penalty, and the treatment of ethnic minorities. The EU also maintains a list of prisoners/detainees of concern in Vietnam, whose cases are brought up regularly with the Vietnamese authorities.


The Turkmen Government have made some progress in addressing human rights issues but, as noted in the UN Secretary-General's report on human rights in Turkmenistan of September 2005, there is still a lack of overall improvement in addressing serious human rights violations.

On the positive side, Turkmenistan has acceded to three further UN protocols and conventions, including those on the Rights of the Child, more minority religious groups have been allowed to worship for the first time, and exit visas as a requirement for leaving the country have been abolished.

However, a number of areas of concern remain. The Government of Turkmenistan continue to restrict freedom of thought, conscience, expression, movement, religion or belief. Conditions in Turkmen prisons remain poor and credible reports of mistreatment of detainees persist.

In November 2005, together with our EU partners, we supported a Resolution on Turkmenistan in the UN's Third Committee. This Resolution comprehensively covered the points of progress and of continuing concern
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and encouraged the Government of Turkmenistan to ensure full respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.


We are deeply concerned at the poor human rights situation in Belarus and continue to raise these concerns with the Belarusian authorities both bilaterally and together with EU partners. We regret in particular the continued harassment of non-governmental organisations, including legal action against the Belarus-Helsinki Committee, and amendments to the civil and penal codes that can be used to stifle further free speech ahead of the 19 March presidential elections. EU Foreign Ministers discussed Belarus again at the General Affairs and External Relations Council on 30 January 2006. Conclusions were issued which reiterated the EU's deep concern at the deteriorating situation in respect of democracy, human rights and political freedoms in Belarus and called on the Belarusian authorities to ensure that the Presidential elections on 19 March are conducted in a free and fair manner. We will continue to press the Belarus authorities on these matters.

The Government, with the international community and other stake holders, will continue to work with the Libyan, Eritrean, Vietnamese, Turkmen and Belarus authorities to encourage them to move towards internationally accepted standards on human rights and the rule of law.

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