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David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the effect of university lecturers' industrial action on (a) university graduations and (b) university students in 200506. 
Bill Rammell: We have made no such assessment. It is a matter for higher education institutions (HEIs), as autonomous bodies, to make these assessments and consider how best they can minimise the adverse effects of the current dispute. HEIs are responsible for determining their own academic and administrative affairs, including deciding what to pay their own staff. Pay and conditions of service are subject to negotiations between employers, their staff and their representative trade union bodies. The Government play no part in this.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations the Department has received from (a) individual students and (b) student bodies relating to the industrial action taken by university lecturers; and if she will make a statement. 
The Department has received correspondence about university staff pay and the current dispute from students. However, as universities
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are autonomous, they are responsible for determining their own academic and administrative affairs, including deciding what to pay their own staff. Pay and conditions of service are subject to negotiations between employers, their staff and their representative trade union bodies. The Government play no part in this.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the Answer of 27 March 2006, Official Report, column 622W, on coercive abortion, when he next proposes to raise the issue of coercive abortion with the government of China; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: While the UK Government do not question China's right or need to implement family planning policies, we are concerned about reports of enforced sterilisation and abortion. We believe that China's family planning policies should be based on the principle of consent, and not coercion, as set out by the International Conference on Population and Development.
In February 2006, the EU raised with the Chinese Government, the case of Chen Guangcheng, a lawyer who highlighted reports of enforced sterilization and abortion in Linyi City, Shandong Province. We will continue to raise our concerns about reports of enforced sterilization and abortion in China, where appropriate.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations he has made to the Ethiopian Government on the need to release prisoners currently held without charge. 
Ian Pearson: I have been asked to reply. We have consistently urged the Ethiopian Government either to charge or to release detainees. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development have both made clear to Prime Minister Meles the need for a prompt, fair and open judicial process for those currently detained.
Total DFID aid to Ethiopia from the UK amounted to £43.3 million in 200304 and £62.56 million in 200405. We expect to spend approximately £61.73 million in 200506 and our planning figure for 200607 is £90 million subject to the developments of a new more accountable method of providing funds in the light of our concerns about political developments.
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Mr. Thomas: The British Government supports peace building and reconciliation in Sri Lanka through a variety of programmes and activities. Its peace building and Reconciliation Strategy aims to describe the activities needed to establish the conditions necessary to sustain peace in Sri Lanka. It supports and complements the Norwegian facilitation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The Strategy is agreed across the three Government Departments involved in the Global Conflict Prevention Pool and informs decisions on dispersing funds from that pool in Sri Lanka.
Our programme includes support for UNICEF, OXFAM and Save the Children Fund, we are working to improve the access and quality of basic health and education services for communities in conflict affected districts. The goal is to ensure that these services are provided equitably across Sri Lanka, thus addressing one long held grievance, and to help return communities to normal peacetime conditions. Under these programmes 75,000 emergency education kits have been provided to schools in the North and East, student drop-out rates have reduced by 50 per cent. and over 1,800 child soldiers have been returned to their families. Psychosocial care is provided to these and other children affected by the conflict. Measles, Polio and DPT (Diphtheria-polio-tetanus immunisation) vaccination has been provided for all children in conflict affected areas and vitamin supplements to 90 per cent. of children. Some 88 per cent. of pregnant and lactating women now receive ante-natal care and nutrition supplements.
To establish a more secure environment in the North and East, support for de-mining and mine awareness is provided through the United Nations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This has helped encourage some 500,000 conflict displaced people to return to their homes. Their return has been supported with grants of material and tools to rebuild homes and restart their livelihoods.
We are also working with NGOs and civil society groups to reduce tensions within communities and to promote their resolution without resort to violence, including the implementation of an early warning mechanism to mitigate and prevent conflict in the east of Sri Lanka. To help these communities enjoy a more secure environment within which to pursue their livelihoods, we are working with the police and the security services to improve their awareness of human rights and adherence to international humanitarian law. Under the strategy, we also assist the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission to provide increased access to justice for disadvantaged groups. Through the Asia Foundation, we are helping to strengthen legal institutions and processes at a local and national level by improving language skills for court staff, improving paralegal and advocacy skills for community based organisations and funding research into discrimination.
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This programme also includes support for public interest litigation relating to the protection of civil rights including for internally displaced persons (IDPs).
We also provide support for peace building and reconciliation through our diplomatic engagement. The Government of Sri Lanka have expressed gratitude for Britain's constructive contribution in this area.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions he has had with the World Food Programme on aid for those in (a) eastern Chad and (b) Sudan. 
For Chad, in 2005, the UK contributed £2 million to the WFP for their activities providing food assistance to Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad. We will provide a further £1.25 million in 2006. For Sudan, where the scale of need is substantially greater, the UK contributed £11.2 million to the WFP in 2005, and we will continue our support in 2006 through the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF). The UK will contribute £40 million to this pioneering multi-donor fund which is administered by the UN and will ensure the top humanitarian priorities across Sudan are funded. In the initial CHF allocation of £106 million, the WFP has received nearly $27 million for its activities.
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