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Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department is taking to prevent the persecution of religious minorities in Iran, with particular reference to those of the Bahái faith. 
Dr. Howells: We continue to have serious concerns about the situation of religious minorities in Iran. We have received numerous reports of discrimination against those wishing to practise minority faiths, including the Bahái community.
Ministers and officials have pressed the Iranian authorities on many occasions to address the intimidation and discrimination suffered by the Iranian Baháis. At our suggestion, the EU Presidency did so
on 31 January and again on 11 April. On 10 April, EU Foreign Ministers underlined their
continued concerns about the human rights situation in Iran, in particular regarding the situation of Baháis.
We have also taken action at the UN. We were pleased that all EU countries co-sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution on human rights in Iran in December last year. This expressed serious concern at, inter alia, the escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against the Bahái, including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, the denial of freedom of religion or of publicly carrying out communal affairs, the disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance, the suspension of social, educational and community-related activities and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, adequate housing and other benefits. We expect Iran to uphold freedom of religion and belief in accordance with its international obligations under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it remains Government policy (a) not to pay ransoms for kidnapped UK citizens and (b) not to co-operate with organisations paying such ransoms. 
Dr. Howells: It remains Government policy not to pay ransoms for UK nationals kidnapped overseas. The Government discourage the payment of ransoms by others and would not facilitate any such payments.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations she has received about Iranian involvement in Lebanon; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and officials have regular discussions concerning Lebanon and foreign links to groups operating in Lebanon. We believe that Iran funds and has strong connections to Lebanese Hizballah. All members of the international community, including Iran and Syria, must co-operate fully with the Government of Lebanon, the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General to achieve full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1559.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions her Department has had with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood and its official organisations since September 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: British officials have had contact with members of the Egyptian Parliament, including occasional contact with members of the Muslim Brotherhood since September 2001. Officials have also met representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon. In addition, officials have had limited contact with members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, whose leadership is in exile in London.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications of the United Nations accepting a mediation role in Nepal; and what representations she has made on this matter. 
Dr. Howells: The responsibility for resolving Nepal's conflict ultimately lies with the people of Nepal, who need to take responsibility for, and ownership of, any peace settlement. But it is clear to us that a lasting solution to Nepal's problems will need the active support of the international community and the assistance of an independent and credible external partner.
We are exploring with the Government of Nepal, and with our international partners, whether and how such a third party role might be helpful, and what its mandate should be. One candidate might indeed be the UN and the UN Secretary-General has made several welcome offers of his good offices. The UN is seen as a credible partner in Nepal; the UN's Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights mission there has proved successful. If all the parties concerned, including our international partners, were to agree on a viable UN role, then the benefits could be significant. But it will still require political will on all sides to make this work and the UN is not the only organisation that could provide such assistance. If external facilitation is agreed there will most likely be financial implications in terms of arranging this. However it is too early to judge what these will be.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place between the US and British embassies in Nigeria on the proposed constitutional amendment by President Obasanjo to remove the limit of two presidential terms. 
Mr. McCartney: Our high commission in Abuja regularly discuss issues of common concern with their US and EU counterparts including the internal political situation. The UK's position on constitutional change is that, done fairly and transparently, it is a matter for Nigeria.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what documents (a) she and (b) her officials have received on organ harvesting in China; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government have received media reports of large-scale organ harvesting in China, including among Falun Gong adherents. We have found no evidence to substantiate these reports. The Chinese Government have denied such allegations. We have also received correspondence from hon. Members, non-governmental organisations and members of the public expressing their concerns about organ harvesting. The Government are concerned about the practice of prisoners subject to the death penalty in China donating their organs and my hon. Friend the then Minister for Trade (Ian Pearson) raised these concerns with the Chinese Government on 7 April. We believe the right approach is to seek to overcome the social taboo of organ transplants in China and encourage donation from the general population. The Government welcome the announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Health of a new regulation to come into effect on 1 July, to ban the sale of organs and introduce medical standards for organ transplants.
Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Chinese authorities about the allegations of (a) organ harvesting and (b) the use of organs from executed prisoners in China. 
Mr. McCartney: My hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Trade (Ian Pearson) raised the Government's concerns about the use of organs from executed prisoners with the Chinese Government on7 April. The Chinese Government have acknowledged the practice of organ harvesting from executed prisoners. Despite Chinese Government assurances that prisoners agree to the donations voluntarily and that, in some cases, their families are paid, we are concerned about the use of these prisoners' organs. The Government welcome the announcement by the Chinese Ministry of Health of a new regulation to come into effect on 1 July, to ban the sale of organs and introduce medical standards for organ transplants. We have received no evidence to substantiate recent media reports of large scale organ harvesting in China. The Chinese Government have denied such allegations.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response she has made to the UN report Trafficking in persons: global patterns; and what steps are being taken by her Department to tackle people trafficking. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is not required to respond to this report. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funds the delivery, including by non-governmental organisations, of project work designed to enhance the ability of source and transit countries to identify and dissuade
potential victims of trafficking to assist in their return. Projects address issues such as increasing awareness levels among victims and practitioners, methods of victim identification, reintegration assistance for returnees and training for judicial, law enforcement and immigration staff. The FCO, as part of the draft UK Action Plan on Trafficking, is also devising a strategy to publicise overseas the successful prosecution in British courts of human traffickers.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the Government have (a) spent and (b) committed to spend on conflict resolution and peace-keeping efforts in Darfur, Sudan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The UK has committed £20 million this financial year to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). This brings our total contribution to AMIS, since its inception, to £52 million. £27 million has been spent providing 900 vehicles, airlift of African Union (AU) troops, rapid deployment kits and ground fuel. We have also provided experts including military logisticians, Military Observers and Civilian Police Trainers. On 10 March, the AU's Peace and Security Council agreed to support in principle a handover of their mission in Darfur to the UN, and we have provided a military and police planner to the UN planning team. This year's budget of £20 million will be used to fund the AU's ground fuel contract and experts, as well as a continued contribution of military and police experts, additional airlift of troops and we may also provide budgetary support to the AU's Peace Fund to enable the AU to pay for vital services.
The UK has also committed £1.25 million to the AU Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on Darfur, of which over £700,000 has been spent so far. This has been used to fund technical experts for the security arrangements, negotiations and financial assistance to support the running of talks in Abuja, Nigeria. We welcome the signature of the Darfur Peace Agreement by the Government of Sudan and the largest faction of the Sudanese Liberation Movement rebel group, Minni Minnawi, following efforts by the UK and others to agree a deal between the parties.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her assessment is of the statements by the Ugandan authorities that the President of the Forum for Democratic Change is associated with the Lords Resistance Army; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We have seen no evidence from the Ugandan authorities that the Forum for Democratic Change President, Dr. Kizza Besigye, is associated with the Lord's Resistance Army. This issue is currently the subject of legal proceedings in Uganda where Dr. Besigye has been charged with treason. Dr. Besigye has strenuously denied any links to the rebel group.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance is issued to magistrates on the publication of the name and photographs in local media of juveniles upon whom antisocial behaviour orders have been served. 
Ms Harman: The Judicial Studies Board has published a guidance document relating to publicity in magistrates court proceedings entitled Reporting Restrictions: Magistrates Courts. The document sets out the legislative, case law and procedural considerations to which magistrates should have regard when considering publicity issues in the context of antisocial behaviour order hearings. This guidance sets up the approach the courts should take in respect of the naming and publication of photographs of juveniles.
All magistrates are issued with a copy of the Adult Court Bench Book, which contains the Checklist Reporting RestrictionsA Structured Approach. In addition, all youth court magistrates are issued with a copy of the Youth Court Bench Book which contains a similar checklist with information relating to youths, and a specific checklist on dealing with antisocial behaviour orders.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the Legal Services Commission last funded an alleged victim of abuse by social services to bring their case to court; and how many cases funded by the Legal Services Commission relating to abuse by social services failed to reach court in each of the last five years. 
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the departmental initiatives for each year since 2000 which required bids for funding from (a) voluntary organisations and (b) local authorities together with the total resource allocated to each initiative in each year; how many successful bids there were in each year; what proportion this figure represents of the total bids received; and what assessment she has made of the costs of (i) preparing bids for each initiative and (ii) assessing those bids. 
Mr. Lammy: Most DCMS funding available to local authorities or voluntary sector bodies is distributed by the Department's public bodies. For example, £500,000 has been made available for each of the years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 for Ofcom to allocate to support community radio stations. Those running community radio stations, including any voluntary organisations, can make applications to Ofcom for grants. Awards are made by Ofcom and we do not hold centrally information on individual grants.
The DCMS/Wolfson Fund provides support for capital projects aimed at improving the infrastructure of museums and galleries in England The fund in its present form started in 2002 and bidding rounds have taken place annually since then. The fund currently has a total budget of £4 million a year, with DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation contributing £2 million each.
From 2004-05, the list of institutions eligible to bid for funding has included Museums with designated collections and Museums with non-designated collections in Regional Hubs. The majority of bodies in these categories are either funded or operated by local authorities. Of the 95 institutions eligible to bid, 41 are museums with designated collections and 18 are museums in Regional Hubs.
The following table shows the total bids and sums awarded as a result of the 2004-05 and 2005-06 bidding rounds. The 2006-07 round has recently ended and the results are expected to be announced in July.
|(1) Includes bids from all 95 eligible institutions in the following four categories: DCMS sponsored institutions; designated university-based collections; designated collections and non-designated collections in Regional Hubs. (2 )Matched funding provided jointly by DCMS and the Wolfson Foundation.|
Table 1 lists the number of projects that put in a successful bid for DCMS PFI credits in that calendar year (we are unable to represent these figures in terms of the total number of bids received in each year).
|Table 1: Successful bids|
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