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Mr. Douglas Alexander: We are concerned about a recent newspaper article alleging that child labour is being used in Brazilian mines that supply ICI. Child labour is a continuing human rights concern in Brazil, which the Government takes extremely seriously. We raise human rights issues, including the need to tackle child labour, with the Brazilian Government, bilaterally and with our European partners. In addition we fund a number of projects in the human rights field in Brazil. These include working with local partners to combat torture, improve the police and penal systems and address the use of small arms in the slum areas of Rio de Janeiro. We also support community work in Rio de Janeiro aimed at encouraging young people to find alternatives to involvement in violent and organised crime. Our work enjoys the full support of the Brazilian Government.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the initiatives implemented by the Government of Uganda since 2001 to stabilise the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: Successive reports by the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arms embargo have highlighted poor co-operation by the Ugandan Government. There have also been continuing accusations of Ugandan interference in eastern DRC.
However, Uganda has participated actively in the Tripartite Plus Commission, which brings together Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and Burundi with the aim of improving dynamics on the ground, and finding solutions to issues affecting the region.
We welcome these initiatives, and continue to impress on Uganda the need to play a constructive role in the DRC peace process, and to respect the DRC's territorial integrity.
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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact of the failure of certain overseas posts to submit their closure returns by 31 January 2006 on the preparation of his Department's accounts; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: As part of the preparation for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's faster closing of the 200506 accounts, certain returns were required as at 31 January 2006. Action plans have been implemented to ensure that any Posts that failed to achieve this requirement for 31 January 2006 will be able to make the required returns for 31 March 2006. This will ensure there is no impact on the preparation of the accounts.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which overseas posts had not sent their closure returns to the Department by the deadline of 31 January 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: As part of the preparation for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's faster closing of the 200506 accounts, those posts operating on Prism were required to make certain returns as at 31 January 2006. Of those posts required to make the return, only three did not manage to achieve this. These were Cape Town, Rome and Damascus. Action plans have been put in place to ensure these posts meet the requirements by 31 March 2006.
David Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the impact on members of minority faith groups in Egypt of the requirement under the Egyptian government's identity card system to register only as Muslim, Christian or Jewish. 
Dr. Howells: One of the impacts of the new Egyptian identity card system is that citizens who are neither Muslim, Christian nor Jewish will not be entitled to an identity card and may therefore suffer from a lack of access to public services.
We do not believe this is in keeping with the Egyptian constitution which states that all Egyptian citizens should be treated equally, regardless of religion. The UK, along with Australia, USA, Canada and Ireland, demarched the Egyptian Government in December 2004 on this issue and as part of an EU Troika demarche in December 2005.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made (a) bilaterally and (b) multilaterally to the (i) African Union and (ii) Ethiopian Government on the increasing tension between Eritrea and Ethiopia. 
We have consistently urged both governments to re-engage with the Boundary Commission, demarcate the border and resolve other issues. We actively seek normal relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. We welcomed Ethiopia's Five Point Peace Plan in 2004. We condemned Eritrea's restrictions on the operations of the
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UN Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea in September 2005 and supported UN Security Council Resolution 1640. We also held discussions in London in December 2005 with representatives of the US and other interested parties.
My noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Africa, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, urged the Government of Ethiopia to respond positively to the US initiative to restart the demarcation process when he visited Addis Ababa in December 2005. He reiterated this message to the incoming Ethiopian ambassador on 14 March.
We welcomed the meeting of the Witnesses to the Algiers Agreement in New York in February 2006 and the meeting of the Boundary Commission in London in March and stand ready to support further meetings.
Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effects on the Middle East peace process of rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. 
Dr. Howells: All violence in Israel and the Occupied Territories acts as an obstacle to peace. Israel is entitled to defend itself from such attacks, but action taken should be in accordance with international law.
Mr. Straw [holding answer 14 March 2006]: We are not in a position to make a full independent assessment of the interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo Bay. Serious concerns have been expressed about them in several quarters, for example in a report issued by five holders of mandates of special procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights last month. But we note that on 5 December the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice confirmed that it is US policy to comply with the UN Convention Against Torture. The US Detainee Treatment Act, enacted on 30 December 2005, provides that no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the US Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. On signing the Act, President Bush said it made a matter of statute what was already US Government policy. Responding to the UN report last month, the US Government
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