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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what compensation is available to (a) British citizens who are injured in terrorist attacks abroad and (b) the relatives of those killed; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Those injured abroad, or the relatives or dependants of someone killed abroad, are not currently eligible for compensation under the UK compensation schemes. The Government have been considering the issue of compensation in detail. This was made clear in a consultation paper about the criminal injuries compensation scheme and support for victims of crime which the Home Office issued on 7 December 2005, under the title Rebuilding Lives: supporting victims of crime". The Home Office will make an announcement in due course.
My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget a £1 million initial endowment to a charitable fund to help the British victims of terrorism. The fund will provide rapid relief to meet the immediate financial needs of those caught up in a terrorist attack, whether in the UK or overseas. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working in consultation with the voluntary sector, partners in Government and victims' groups to finalise the details and will make a further announcement in due course.
Separately, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has in place a package of immediate assistance measures to help victims of terrorism overseas and their families in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist incident overseas.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts on the UN Security Council on the merits of a resolution on violence and conflict in Uganda. 
Ian Pearson: The UK has been actively involved in securing two UN Security Council Resolutions in 2006 (1653 and 1663) which have condemned the activities of militias and armed groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA continue to attack civilians and UN and humanitarian personnel and commit human rights abuses in Uganda, and elsewhere in the region.
On 19 April the Ugandan Foreign and Defence Ministers briefed the UN Security Council on measures to address the humanitarian and security problems caused by the LRA. Jan Egeland, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, briefed the Security Council on 20 April following his recent trip to Uganda.
The UN Secretariat has indicated that they will brief the Security Council on possible options for tackling the LRA on 26 April. Once this has taken place we will discuss with Security Council colleagues the best way to further international community engagement on this issue.
Ian Pearson: We hold regular talks with the Government of Uganda on efforts to find a sustainable solution to the conflict in northern Uganda and alleviate the humanitarian situation for the 1.7 million people living in camps for internally displaced people.
On 20 March my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Thomas), attended a ministerial meeting in Geneva where the conflict was discussed with the Ugandan Foreign Minister, Sam Kutesa.
On 12 April the acting British high commissioner in Kampala met the Ugandan Foreign Minister and on 19 April officials from the UK's Mission to the United Nations in New York exchanged views on northern Uganda with the Ugandan Foreign and Defence Ministers in the UN Security Council.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to build the capacity of (a) Kyrgyzstan, (b) Tajikistan and (c) Kazakhstan to cope with the economic and political consequences of possible future instability in Uzbekistan, with particular reference to (i) assistance with crisis planning, (ii) management of refugee flows, (iii) improving policing and border security, (iv) providing emergency aid and (v) reducing these countries reliance on Uzbekistan for (A) energy and (B) transport. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
The EU encourages greater inter-regional co-operation through regular meetings with all of the countries of Central Asia. The most recent of these EU-Central Asia regional dialogue meetings took place in Kazakhstan on 7 April 2006. The EU supports the efforts of all the countries in the region to diversify their energy supplies. Regional transport co-operation has been identified as a key area in EU programmes in the region.
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As an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) participating State, the UK supports the work of the OSCE in Central Asia as a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. The OSCE field missions in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are currently implementing projects related to border security, policing, trafficking and economic development. The OSCE Police Assistance Programme for Kyrgyzstan in 2006 includes coverage of the problems of refugees. The programme will include the compilation of a manual for police officers on the legal rights of refugees, training for police officers on handling refugee crises and technical equipment for police stations in the Osh border region.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to support (a) independent news gathering and (b) (i) human rights activists and (ii) journalists operating in Uzbekistan. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Under our EU presidency, we led a sustained EU lobbying campaign on behalf of individuals in Uzbekistan who were harassed and imprisoned in relation to the events in Andizhan in May 2005. These included human rights defenders such as the journalist Saidajon Zainatbidinov from Andizhan.
Our ambassador and his team in Tashkent are in regular contact with the international press and local independent journalists, as well as non-governmental organisations and other members of civil society. We support their work through a variety of projects and through training and educational support. We made representations to the Uzbek authorities over the closure of the BBC Office, Internews and Radio Liberty. We keep in close contact with the staff of the BBC Monitoring Office in Tashkent.
Promotion of media freedom is also a key part of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) mandate in Uzbekistan. The OSCE centre in Tashkent runs a media programme focusing on professional development for journalists, media development and the promotion and protection of freedom of the media.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to support broadcasting into Uzbekistan from abroad with particular reference to news and educational programmes. 
Last year under the Global Conflict Prevention Fund, we spent £165,000 on a regional media project which provided training to media outlets, supported local publications, encouraged cross border information exchange and cross community special reports, election reporting, public debates and international awareness. The project increased the regional flow of information, and strengthened local networks. Another cross border
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media training programme supported by the UK encouraged media exchanges between Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to support journalism training in Uzbekistan and the surrounding region. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Since 2003 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has contributed over £350,000 to a variety of media-based projects with a training component, including to promote cross-border media co-operation and strengthen the independent media in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Our embassies work closely with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) field missions in the region. The OSCE mission in Tashkent runs a media programme focussing on professional development for journalists, media development and the promotion and protection of freedom of the media. We also support the work of the OSCE mission in Tajikistan, where there is a resource centre for journalists which provides specialist literature, training, legal advice and supports independent publications.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to support (a) political activity, (b) civil society and (c) educational opportunities in Uzbekistan. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Our ambassador and his team in Tashkent meet regularly with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other members of civil society and support their work through project funds where possible. We use the Chevening Scholarship and Fellowship programmes to provide capacity building in key areas of democratic reform.
The embassy financed the annual conference for disabled peopled NGOs in Tashkent in March. This brought together around 50 local NGOs. The embassy has also funded a project in conjunction with a local NGO and the British Council to make an educational video for school children on the effects of our everyday lives on the environment.
The British Council has been working with the Ministry of Public Education to produce a new generation of textbooks for secondary schools and to ensure that they are affordable and available to pupils around Uzbekistan.
The British Council has also been working with the Ministry of Higher and Specialised Secondary Education to build close partnerships between vocational colleges and relevant businesses or industry in the design of vocational education.
With the Ministry of Public Education, the British Council has been preparing a team of trainers representing all regions of Uzbekistan and a wide range of curriculum subjects to introduce the latest teaching techniques to teachers around the country.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment
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he has made of the impact of political instability in Uzbekistan on (a) European security and (b) stability and security in central Asia. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: We continue to follow closely the political situation in Uzbekistan. As the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's new White Paper Active Diplomacy for a Changing World" says, the peaceful transformation of the European continent which promotes security, prosperity and democracy depends upon maintaining the EU's active commitment to engage with neighbours. European countries and the wider international community have an interest in stability in Uzbekistan and the region. We believe the best way of maintaining stability in the region is by encouraging substantive democratic and economic reform.
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