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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her position is on the proposal for an Adapted Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: We, along with NATO Allies, are fully committed to the entry into force of the Adapted Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and reaffirmed our position at the recent third CFE Review Conference. However, the Adapted Treaty cannot come into force until all 30 signatories have ratified it. We, and NATO allies, will ratify the Adapted Treaty once the Russian Federation has met the commitments it made with respect to Georgia and Moldova, on military withdrawals, at the 1999 Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Summit in Istanbul. With NATO Allies we have welcomed the March 2006 agreement between Russia and Georgia for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia as a further positive step, and continue to press Russia to meet its remaining commitments in full in both Georgia and Moldova.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in implementing the National Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice in Afghanistan; and
whether she expects the programme to meet commitments set out in the Afghanistan Compact. 
Margaret Beckett: The National Action Plan for Peace, Reconciliation and Justice, drafted by the Afghan Government in collaboration with UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, and adopted by the Afghan Cabinet in December 2005, sets out the Afghan Governments strategy for transitional justice until 2008. It provides for the adoption of five interrelated key actions in order to ensure redress for victims and prevent the future occurrence of atrocities in Afghanistan: public symbolic measures acknowledging the suffering of victims and their families; institutional reform; truth-seeking and documentation; promotion of reconciliation; and the establishment of meaningful and effective accountability mechanisms. The international community reaffirmed their shared commitment to implement the Action Plan at the London Conference on Afghanistan earlier this year.
The Afghanistan Compact provides that the Action Plan is to be implemented by 2008. While the Action Plan has yet to be formally launched, many of its key actions are linked to progress in other areas, in particular the rule of law and efforts to tackle corruption, which are covered by the Justice for All Action Plan launched in January 2006. Efforts are underway to strengthen judicial institutions, enhance the capacity of key Afghan Ministries and develop a coherent and progressive legal framework, with the adoption in the last year of vital legislation on counter-narcotics, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the jurisdiction and organisation of courts.
Mr. McCartney: The Government are in regular discussions with potential donors as well as countries already supporting the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS), to ensure that the mission receives the support it needs to carry out its operations. The UK is also a leading supporter of AMIS financially and politically. We have supplied vehicles, air transport and training to the force. We have also provided military observers and civilian police.
The high-level meeting that took place on 16 November in Addis Ababa, attended by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, called for UN funding of the force. Such funding is likely to be raised through assessed contributions from UN members, including the UK.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the protections afforded to freedom of speech in Bangladesh; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Although the press in Bangladesh is relatively free, there are areas of concern. These include issues of regulatory control and political influence over the business environment in which Bangladesh's media operates. A free and independent media requires governments to provide a fair and transparent regulatory environment and an equitable distribution of opportunities available to and accessible by all sectors of society.
That journalists have been killed because of their work, and that attacks on journalists took place during a cricket Test Match in April and at a convention at Kushtia in May, is symptomatic of the climate of intimidation and violence against journalists which continues. Media professionals should be able to work freely without fear of intimidation, violence or imprisonment. Despite this, the newspaper industry has we understand, continued to grow with at least 700 daily or weekly publications serving a population of 140 million. Add to this the expanding and continually evolving electronic media, and it suggests a noticeable increase in public access to information from a wide range of independent sources.
The UK lobbies for freedom of expression throughout the world and as part of our commitment we support a wide range of projects that aim to protect and encourage the development of a free media. Freedom of expression is an essential prerequisite for many of the values and human rights, which we and international partners strive to maintain and promote. All governments have a duty to eliminate barriers to freedom of expression and to create an environment where free speech and a free media can thrive. In this respect during his visit to Dhaka on 22-23 November, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade (Mr. McCartney), stressed to political leaders and to the press, the importance of open dialogue and issue-based campaigning, to the exclusion of violence.
Dr. Howells: During his visit to Bangladesh on 22-23 November, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs made clear our concern for and commitment to support human rights in Bangladesh during discussions with leaders of the main political partiesas well as with human rights activists. He also highlighted human rights issues in a widely reported speech to an audience of politicians, businessmen, and civil society representativesand also at a press conference. He specifically raised human security in the context of the current political violence and also the ongoing concern about extra-judicial killings. He urged a greater commitment to human rights work with particular attention to vulnerable and marginalised groups.
We give human rights related work in Bangladesh high priority. Our high commission in Dhaka is actively engaged in promoting human rights in Bangladesh. The high commission raised human rights issues on a regular basis with the previous government
of Bangladesh, which ended its term in October. It will do so with the next government as well.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the government of Bangladesh about the case of Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury. 
Dr. Howells: The Government have made no representations to the previous government or the current caretaker government of Bangladesh about this case, which we understand is the subject of an ongoing trial on charges of blasphemy, sedition and treason. We understand that Mr. Choudhury appeared in court in Dhaka on 13 November and that the trial has been adjourned until January 2007, at which time the prosecution is due to begin calling witnesses.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was paid in bonuses to civil servants in her Department each year since 2001-02; and how many civil servants received bonuses in each year. 
|Number of recipients||Bonus element of pay award (£)||Devolved bonus scheme of bonuses (£)||Total value (£)|
|(1) Figures have been rounded up to the nearest 100.|
The FCO has two categories of bonus awards. The majority are awarded during the annual pay round based on appraisal evidence of performance during the year. The appraisal rating and the rank of the individual determine the size of the bonus. The median bonus payment for delegated grades in 2006 was £900. The average award for staff in the senior management structure was £5,146.
The remainder are awards under a devolved bonus scheme, which allows Directorates to nominate staff in the delegated grades (particularly the most junior) for smaller bonuses during the year for exceptional contributions above and beyond their normal responsibilities. In financial year 2005-06, the average bonus under this scheme was £395.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria a civil servant in her Department must fulfil (a) to be considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary and (b) to be awarded a bonus. 
Mr. Hoon: All staff in the delegated grades, junior and middle-management, who have completed a minimum of six months satisfactory service and who have a performance appraisal, are eligible to be considered for a bonus as part of the annual pay awards. Bonuses are awarded on the basis of appraisal of performance. The size of the bonus is determined by the appraisal rating and the rank of the individual. The median bonus payment in 2006 was £900.
Directorates also nominate staff in the delegated grades (particularly the most junior) for smaller bonuses during the year for exceptional contributions above and beyond their normal responsibilities. The average payment under this scheme was £395 in 2006.
For staff in the senior management structure the funds devoted to bonus payments and the mechanism for their allocation are determined centrally for Whitehall Departments based on recommendations from the Senior Salaries Review Board. Pay panels determine eligibility for bonuses based on relative performance against peers, with the most senior officers' bonuses being decided by an independently-chaired committee. They take account in particular of achievement of challenging objectives, responses to unexpected events and specific examples of corporate leadership. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in common with other Whitehall Departments, devoted 6.5 per cent. of its paybill for senior staff in 2006 to non-pensionable bonus payments.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of (a) the visit of United Nations Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, to Burma and (b) the effect of his visit on (i) human rights for the Burmese people, (ii) restrictions on humanitarian aid efforts, (iii) the use of forced labour and (iv) efforts to secure the release of political prisoners; 
Mr. McCartney: I met Ibrahim Gambari on 15 November to discuss his visit to Burma. Mr. Gambari called for the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners; a credible and inclusive National Convention process; the lifting of restrictions on humanitarian aid agencies and an early agreement with the International Labour Organisation on forced labour. He also offered to send a UN interagency technical mission to Karen State.
Mr. McCartney: In November 2005, the Burmese government informed embassies that plots of land would be available in the new administrative capital of Naypyitaw from the end of 2007 for those embassies who wished to have a presence there. We have received no further information or notification from the government. At present, we have no plans to move the British embassy.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports she has received of the Burmese regime targeting members of the Karen, Karenni, Shan and Mon ethnic groups; what recent discussions she has had with the UK Ambassador to the United Nations regarding the human rights situation in Burma; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We receive regular reports of human rights violations against Burma's ethnic groups. I raised this issue with the Burmese ambassador on 16 June and in my letter to the Burmese Foreign Minister on 5 July. Our ambassador in Rangoon frequently raises our concerns with the regime, most recently on 23 October, when he met the Burmese Minister for Home Affairs.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions about Burma with the UK's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. Our Permanent Representative raised the situation of Burma's ethnic groups when the UN Security Council formally discussed Burma on 29 September.
I also raised human rights in Burma with Association of South East Asian Nations ambassadors, including the Burmese ambassador, when I met them on 18 September. I discussed Burma in detail with the UN Under-Secretary General, Ibrahim Gambari, when I met him immediately after his visit there on 15 November.
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many jobs in her Department have been relocated (a) to Liverpool and (b) elsewhere as a result of the Lyons Review; and on how many occasions Liverpool has been considered for the relocation of staff under this programme. 
As a result of the Lyons Review, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has relocated 124 jobs from London to Hanslope Park, Buckinghamshire. Hanslope Park is the FCO's established regional location and has the potential to
accommodate further functions. We have not, therefore, considered relocating jobs to Liverpool under this programme.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department's human rights monitors have made of the use of cluster bombs; why those used in the Lebanon-Israel conflict were not referred to in her Department's Human Rights Annual Report 2006; if she will ensure that such a reference is included in the next report; and if she will make a statement. 
We are aware of allegations that Israel fired cluster bombs into civilian areas and have called on the Government of Israel to make a public statement about its use of cluster bombs during the Lebanon conflict.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2006 Human Rights Annual Report covers the period from July 2005 to late August 2006. At the time of writing, many of the details surrounding the Israel/Lebanon conflict were still unclear. A decision was made not to cover the conflict as a whole. However, we were able to insert a section about the UK's efforts to bring about a ceasefire and our plans to help with reconstruction. Additionally, two paragraphs were added to the section on Syria remarking on their unhelpful role in supporting Hezbollah. We intend to cover the Israel/Hezbollah conflict in greater detail in our next report.
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