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Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the level of compliance of Afghan criminal law with international human rights treaties. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We have not made an independent UK assessment. However, the Justice for All" Action Plan jointly drafted by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community provides the basis on which the Afghan government will reform and strengthen the justice sector over the next 12 years. This Plan is divided into five areas of activity: law reform, institution-building, access to justice programs, traditional justice and co-ordination. The UK and the international community will continue to monitor progress in this field as the plan is put into effect.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 13 March 2006, Official Report, column 1892W, on Ascension Island, what the reasons were for the changes in the numbers of entry permits granted between 1999 and 2005. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
There is no annual quota for entry permits to Ascension Island. Changes in numbers, year on year, are a combination of differences in the numbers of people entering Ascension Island, more people transiting to and from the Falklands and St.Helena, different numbers of cruise ship visitors and fluctuating employment with the users.
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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many fishery enforcement patrols were carried out in Ascension Island waters in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005; and what the results of the patrols were. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) he has and (b) his officials have had with (i) the Attorney General and (ii) his officials regarding the Serious Fraud Office investigations into the activities of BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia. 
Mr. Straw: We know of six political activists in long term detention in Belarus. The Belarusian authorities announced on 29 March that approximately 500 people had been detained following the elections. Of these: 288 were sentenced to 10 days administrative arrest; 112 sentenced to 15 days administrative arrest; 53 were minors released without charge: and 21 were foreign nationals, 14 of whom were sentenced from 314 days administrative arrest. Unofficial sources suggest however that the number of arrests may be significantly higher, with estimates for the total number of arrests ranging from 7001200, possibly including foreign nationals. It is not clear how many of these remain in detention. This number includes Aleksander Kozulin (now released), an opposition leader and presidential candidate, political activists, members of non governmental organisations, journalists and members of the public who were protesting about the results of an election which was not free and fair. It is not clear how many of those recently arrested remain in detention.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in which embassies and high commissions he is (a) reducing diplomatic and other staff and (b) deploying additional staff; and what the reasons for the changes in staff deployed are in each case. 
I apologise to the hon. Member for the delay in replying. Resources at embassies, high commissions and other Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts overseas are regularly shifted in response to changing priorities. Changes may be made in response to local factors, but the overall approach is guided by the UK's International Priorities. This has led to increases in resources for visa and consular work and also a move of staff to key posts outside Europe, including China, India and Pakistan, while also meeting
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new demands in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have deployed new region-wide advisers on issues such as conflict and energy.
A fairly crude but still time consuming analysis of posts showing a change in UK based staff numbers since 1 April 2005 indicates that 148 have had a net change in total staff. Other posts may also have had changes in staffing (i.e. increases in one area offset by reductions elsewhere) but these could not be picked up. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the details available from this exercise and placing a copy in the Library. It should be emphasised that this data is provisional.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 29 March 2006, Official Report, columns 10289W, on Mujahedin-e Khalq, what the current international status is of members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation at Camp Ashraf in Iraq. 
Dr. Howells: It would be necessary to consider the circumstances of individual residents at Camp Ashraf in Iraq to determine their current international status in Iraq. The Government have made no judgment on the international status of any individual at Camp Ashraf. The Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation is, however, a proscribed terrorist organization in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received official hospitality from Canatxx Ventures Limited, Canatxx UK and its associated companies in the last four years. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 27 March 2006]: No. The hon. Member might however wish to be aware that Canatxx was one of the sponsors of a dinner in April 2004 to mark my (then) 25 years as Member for Blackburn. My Department was not involved in any way in this event.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have held with directors and senior executives of (i) Capita Group plc and (ii) its subsidiaries since 1 January 2004; and whether (A) Capita Group plc and (B) its subsidiaries have provided (1) in writing and (2) input in person to policy discussions in his Department since 1 January 2004. 
There has been one meeting between myself and Veredus, a Capita subsidiary, on 17 October 2005 to discuss the recruitment of the new chief executive of UK Trade and Investment which they were managing on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Trade and Industry. We have no records of any other meetings with Ministers. Information on other contacts between the Department and Capita, or its subsidiaries, cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the treatment of Falun Gong membersin China, with particular reference to Sujiatun Camp. 
Ian Pearson: The Government have seen no evidence to substantiate the reports circulating about the treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in Sujiatun camp. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied these allegations. We continue to raise our concerns about human rights abuses of Falun Gong adherents in other contexts.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have asked the Austrian presidency to invite a representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights in Colombia to make a presentation on that Office's recommendations to the EU Council of Ministers in advance of the UN Human Rights Commission meeting on that country. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Following a meeting between the British and Irish non-governmental organisation coalition, ABColombia (ABC), and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials on 15 February, the FCO relayed to the Austrian presidency of the EU the ABC request for a senior official from the Colombia office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to be invited to attend a meeting of the EU Working Group on Latin America, Committee of the Council for Latin America (COLAT), or the Council of Ministers. The UK believes that there is merit in periodic briefings of this nature as an important means of informing COLAT's work, particularly in the run-up to significant events in the UN's human rights calendar.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) unilateral and (b) multilateral action the Government plan to take to encourage the Colombian Government to implement a legal framework which (i) conforms tointernational standards and (ii) is in line with UN recommendations. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
We have regular discussions with the Government of Colombia, both bilaterally and as part of the EU and other groupings, about these issues. We have consistently urged the Colombians to adopt a comprehensive legal framework for the process of disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration (DDK) of the illegal armed groups. In October 2005, the EU General Affairs Council concluded that the adoption by the Colombian Congress of the Justice and Peace Law was a significant development, since it provides an overall legal framework for DDK in Colombia. The Council noted that it had many concerns over the law, but it believed that if the law was effectively and transparently implemented it would make a positive contribution to the search for peace in Colombia. We will continue to work with our partners to help the Government of Colombia to address the challenges these issues present. For example, EU Missions in Bogota are currently examining their project assistance
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to Colombia to ensure that it complements the aim of effective and transparent implementation of the Justice and Peace Law and is consistent with UN human rights recommendations.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to work with (a) civil society and (b) the Catholic Church to monitor the conduct of elections in Colombia, with particular reference to the Presidential elections in May. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Our Embassy in Bogota consulted with a wide range of civil society and other groups, including EU partners, in monitoring the lead up to and the conduct of the Colombian Congressional Elections on 12 March. We will continue to do so for the Presidential Elections in May, including engagement with the Catholic Church.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken (a) while President of the EU and (b) subsequently to ensure mid-term monitoring of the implementation of the UN Commission on Human Rights' recommendations to the Colombian Government. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: As President of the EU, the UK was instrumental in drawing up the EU Ministerial Council Conclusions of October 2005 that encouraged the Government of Colombia to consider a mid-year review of progress in implementing the UN human rights recommendations with its partners. During our Presidency, our Embassy in Bogota organised meetings for EU Member States with the Colombia office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to review progress on all of its human rights recommendations arising from its annual reports. More recently, we and other partners have continued to meet with Government representatives to look at how efforts to implement these recommendations are being taken forward. We will continue to take this work forward with like-minded partners.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the EU is taking, further to the Council conclusions of 3 October 2005, to ensure close monitoring of the implementation of UN recommendations on Colombia. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The EU regularly engages with the Colombian Government and other partners, including the UN and civil society, over the need to ensure that the UN human rights recommendations are implemented. The EU is actively involved in a working group that has been established in Bogota for this purpose. The EU Council Conclusions set out EU policy and support to the Government of Colombia, and included reference to the implementation of the recommendations. The EU will continue to look for ways of achieving this, including re-aligning Commission and Member States's project assistance to match the recommendations. The EU will also keep progress in taking forward the Council Conclusions under regular review.
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