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Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new initiatives on (a) access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, (b) non-proliferation and (c) disarmament have been considered by the Norwegian 7-Country Initiative; and which country was the prime instigator of each such initiative. [108985]

Dr. Howells: There are no specific new initiatives currently being pursued by the Group. The seven countries represent a wide range of political opinion. We continue to promote better understanding through sharing views on a range of nuclear issues and fostering fresh thinking, particularly in the run-up to the First Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee.


John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent discussions she has had with the Government of France on mass killings in Rwanda; [105210]

(2) what reports she has received on the role of France in mass killings in Rwanda. [105211]

Dr. Howells: We are aware of the debate in the press concerning France’s role in the circumstances surrounding the genocide.

We have had discussions with the French and Rwandan Governments about the diplomatic repercussions of the French and Rwandan investigations into the circumstances surrounding the genocide of 1994. We continue to believe it is in the best interest of both sides to work together to ensure there is no lasting damage to their long-term bilateral relationship.

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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Governments of (a) Egypt, (b) Saudi Arabia, (c) Libya, (d) Ethiopia, (e) Yemen and (f) Uganda on (i) the situation in Somalia and (ii) arms flows in the region. [105179]

Mr. Hoon: Our embassies in all these countries have discussed the situation in Somalia with their host Governments and urged them to support League of Arab States and Intergovernmental Authority on Development initiatives to achieve reconciliation and peace in Somalia.

With our Security Council partners, we are looking into reports of violations of the arms embargo and considering what further action the Security Council can take to improve compliance with it.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the likely effect of newly instituted anti-terror measures in Sri Lanka on the conflict inSri Lanka; and if she will make a statement on the state of the current ceasefire in Sri Lanka. [108656]

Dr. Howells: It is as yet too early to assess the full impact of the Emergency, Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorism and Specified Terrorist Activities Regulations of 2006 announced by President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka on 7 December. We support the right of the Sri Lankan government to take legitimate measures to counter the threats posed by domestic terrorism. Where such measures may impact on the freedoms of the general population it is important that they are proportionate and the State concerned continues to meet international human rights obligations.

We call on the Sri Lankan government to pursue the peace process vigorously, as the only real long-term solution to the country's problems. We welcome the President’s assurance that the door to negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is wide open. To that end we acknowledge exemptions which allow for activity, “facilitating the development of a peaceful political solution” and “development activities”. A fair and objective process for granting such exemptions with appropriate safeguards should rapidly be put in place.

We are reassured by the Sri Lankan government’s agreement that the meeting of the NorwegianSpecial Envoy, Mr. Hanssen-Bauer with the LTTE on8 December should take place. It is essential that in its role as facilitators of the peace process Norway is able to have continuing contact with all sides. We welcome Foreign Minister Samaraweera’s assurances that the regulations are not intended to impede the efforts of the international diplomatic community towards peace building.

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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent assessment she has made of (a) reports by UNMIS of clashes between rebel groups and Government forces and allied militias and (b) the activities of the Janjaweed militia and other armed movements in Sudan; [108047]

(2) what reports she has received of recent conflictin and around El Fasher in Sudan; what recent representations she has received from the UK embassy in Khartoum on the recent conflict; and what assessment she has made of the level of involvement of Government forces in attacks on civilians in Sudan. [108048]

Mr. McCartney: An influx of Arab militia in El Fasher has led to increased tension there. Clashes occurred on 4 December between Arab militia and the Mini Minawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement rebel group that have resulted in fatalities on both sides. The UN has evacuated a number of its non-essential staff. We are in regular contact with our embassy in Khartoum about these developments and more broadly on the security situation in Darfur.

These clashes are a violation of the ceasefire. We urge all parties to stop fighting immediately and re-engage in the political process. Sudanese Government support of Arab militias and involvement in attacks that have resulted in civilian deaths are a serious impediment to the peace process. We are calling upon the Government to effect an immediate ceasefire and to honour their commitments to disarm the Janjaweed.

Home Department

Age of Consent

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will assess the merits of amending legislation governing the sexual age of consent so as to introduce a within five years rule. [107679]

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Mr. Coaker: The Government have no intention of changing the law in relation to the age of consent. The issue was considered as part of the Review of Sexual Offences in 1999 and the public consultation which followed, “Setting the Boundaries; Reforming the law on sex offences” (Home Office, July 2000), which preceded the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Responses were received from a wide range of practitioners and members of the public, and as part of the review process, group discussions were held with secondary school children aged between 14-16 years.

Guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to sexual activity with a person under 16, allows prosecutors considerable discretion in deciding whether or not to prosecute. In deciding whether it is in the public interest to prosecute, prosecutors should take into account the age of the parties concerned, the emotional maturity of the younger party and whether he or she entered into the relationship willingly, and the nature of the relationship between the parties.

Assets Recovery Agency

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the value was of the receipts realised in each case completed by each regional recovery team of the Assets Recovery Agency; and what type of assets were recovered in each case. [105586]

Mr. Coaker: While the Agency has investigators co-located with the five multi-agency Regional Asset Recovery Teams, it does not itself have regional recovery teams. The Agency has branches in Belfast and London. The value of receipts realised in completed cases since the Agency’s establishment in 2003, split between its two branches, is set out in the following table.

A wide range of assets have been recovered, the most common being real property (e.g. houses, motor vehicles and jewellery), cash and financial services products (e.g. bank accounts and insurance policies). It would be disproportionately costly to produce a full list of assets recovered.

Assets Recovery Agency, value of assets realised
Total England and Wales( 1) Northern Ireland










2006-07 (provisional figures to end of November 2006)




(1 )includes tax cases where the investigation began in Northern Ireland

Child Abductions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on introducing measures to place people other than parents prosecuted for (a) abducting and (b) attempting to abduct children on the Sex Offenders Register. [105634]

Mr. Coaker: At the end of last year, we consulted with over 130 organisations on the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and how it was working in practice. Those consulted included law enforcement agencies and legal and judicial bodies. Specific questions were asked in relation to whether the list of relevant offences for which a sex offender could be made subject to the notification requirements (commonly referred to as the ‘Sex Offenders Register’) needed to be amended to include other offences. Nine organisations responded to these questions, including the Association of Chief Police Officers and three local Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPAs).

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We are also aware of a case in York which has led to the ‘Change It’ campaign by the York local paper The Press to include child abduction on the list of offences for which a sex offender can be made subject to the notification requirements. We have been presented with a public petition from The Press to that effect.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has plans to bring forward amendments to the Sex Offenders Act 2003 to place on the Sex Offenders Register strangers who abduct or attempt to abduct children. [105635]

Mr. Coaker: We have undertaken a review of the offences listed in Schedules 3 and 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, whereby if someone has been convicted of one of those offences, they may be made subject to the notification requirements (commonly referred to as the ‘Sex Offenders Register’). As part of the review, we have become aware of concerns that child abduction should be added to the list of relevant offences. We are currently finalising an Order amending the list of offences in Schedules 3 and 5 of the 2003 Act which we will lay as soon as possible.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children were abducted by (a) strangers and (b) family members in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [105636]

Mr. Coaker: The number of recorded offences of child abduction are given in the following table. It is not possible to identify the relationship of the suspect to the victim in the recorded crime statistics. Not all child abductions will necessarily have a sexual motive; many child abductions are likely to be carried out by parents where there are disputes of custody.












(1 )The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002. Figures from that date are not directly comparable with those for 2001-02.


Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter of 25 July 2006 from the hon. Member for Richmond Park on a Freedom of Information request by a constituent Ms Konstam (Home Office reference P1053608). [104156]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 November 2006]: I responded to the hon. Lady’s letter of 25 July 2006 on 18 September 2006. The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) officials responded separately toMs Konstam’s Freedom of Information request on27 July 2006 and Ms Konstam later acknowledged that reply. IND officials recently provided an update toMs Konstam on 6 December 2006.

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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will assess the merits of introducing measures to prohibit offensive chants and slogans being used at demonstrations. [107684]

Mr. Coaker: Public Order legislation is kept under review in the light of changing circumstances and demonstrator behaviour. The police have a range of powers available now to deal with demonstrations. For example, it is an offence to use or display threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

DNA Database

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will break down by (a) police force and (b) ethnic origin the number of those who have a DNA profile and were neither charged nor cautioned. [100662]

Joan Ryan: Data on whether persons with a profile on the National DNA Database (NDNAD) have been charged or cautioned for an offence are not held on the NDNAD, but are held on the Police National Computer (PNC). The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by cross-searching approximately three million records retained for such persons on the PNC.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of those on the DNA Database have been convicted of a crime. [102427]

John Reid [holding answer 23 November 2006]: The National DNA Database (NDNAD) records the DNA profile for a particular individual. It does not hold data on arrest and criminal records. This information is held on the Police National Computer (PNC). Information provided by the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) from the PNC indicated that as at 14 July 2006, 2,922,624 persons on the NDNAD also had an entry on PNC. Of these, 2,317,555 (79.3 per cent.) had a conviction or caution (i.e. a criminal record). The difference between the two figures is attributable to: young persons under 18 who have a formal warning or reprimand recorded on PNC; persons who have been charged with a recordable offence where proceedings are ongoing; and persons who have been arrested for a recordable offence but no further action was taken.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were on the DNA Database on 1 November, broken down by police force. [102430]

John Reid [holding answer 23 November 2006]: The information requested is shown in the following table. Statistics are produced at the end of each month, so this shows the position on 31 October rather than1 November. The number shown is the number of individuals sampled by each force, who are not necessarily resident in the force area.

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Police force Number

Avon and Somerset




British Transport






City of London Police








Devon and Cornwall






Dyfed-Powys/Haverford West






Greater Manchester Police




















Metropolitan Police




North Wales


North Yorkshire








South Wales Constabulary


South Yorkshire










Thames Valley


Warwickshire Police


West Mercia


West Midlands


West Yorkshire






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