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Dr. Howells: Opium poppy eradication policy and implementation is the responsibility of the Afghan government. We believe eradication should be targeted where there is access to legal rural livelihoods, as set out in the Afghan governments National Drug Control Strategy. The Afghan government has yet to make a final decision on whether ground based spraying of poppy will be conducted in 2007. The UK supports the well-explained piloting of ground based spraying in areas of Afghanistan where the security situation permits, and if the Afghan government agrees, in order to assess its relative effectiveness compared to current eradication approaches. We judge that the risks of ground based spraying in Afghanistan to health and the environment are within acceptable levels. We continue to oppose aerial spraying, as does President Karzai.
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department is taking to support the European Union in reducing corruption and organised crime in (a) Bulgaria and (b) Romania. 
Mr. Hoon: The EU accession process has encouraged and supported the Bulgarian and Romanian Governments to tackle corruption and organised crime, but there remain serious challenges in both countries. The Commission and the Government continue to follow and support both Governments continuing actions. Bulgaria and Romania are now key partners in the fight against organised crime. UK law enforcement agencies work closely with their Bulgarian and Romanian counterparts. Co-operation is excellent and we are providing specific assistance in a number of areas.
In Bulgaria, a senior Metropolitan police officer has been providing assistance in co-ordinating projects
across a number of law enforcement strands. These projects, which range from training Bulgarian law enforcement agencies in homicide investigation techniques to the establishment of a National Crime Prevention Council, involve personnel from a number of UK Departments and agencies. In addition, Crown agents have assisted with comprehensive reform of the Bulgarian customs.
In Romania, the Government have supported a number of projects designed to tackle organised crime, including an initiative to assist the Romanian police in implementing the European Criminal Intelligence Model. The Government are providing assistance in the development of Project REFLEX, a highly successful multi-agency taskforce dedicated to tackling organised immigration crime which has already brought tangible benefits to the UK and Romania. We are also assisting the Romanian authorities in their fight against corruption through the secondment of a UK expert to work as the Romanian Presidents anti-corruption adviser.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects of opposition parties in Burma being able to campaign against the proposed new constitution in a fair referendum. 
Mr. McCartney: The National Convention process is not yet complete. While it is too early to make a definitive assessment of the prospects of opposition parties being able to campaign, we believe the overall process needs to become considerably more transparent and inclusive if it is to be regarded as credible in the eyes of the international community.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Ambassador of Burma about the prosecution of State Peace and Development Council officials and troops of the Burma Army for crimes of rape and sexual violence; and if she will make a statement. 
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no discussions with the Burmese Ambassador about the prosecution of State Peace and Development Council officials and members of the Burmese military for crimes of rape and sexual violence. I raised our serious concerns about this issue with the Burmese Ambassador on 15 June 2006. We also take other opportunities to raise human rights issues with the Burmese regime. I raised our concerns with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ambassadors, including the Burmese Ambassador, on 18 September, and with the ASEAN Secretary-General on 4 December. I discussed the serious human rights abuses taking place in Burma with Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on 27 June and 14 December. On 15 November, I discussed Burma in detail with Ibrahim Gambari, the United Nations Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Our Ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises human rights violations with the Burmese government, most recently
when he met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers for Planning and Immigration on 5 January.
We condemn the use of sexual violence and rape as a weapon of war. Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burma, has reported a large number of allegations of sexual violence against women committed by members of the Burmese military. We believe these abuses should be investigated and that those responsible should be brought to justice.
The UK played an active role in securing the latest UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, adopted on 22 December. This resolution expresses grave concern about use of rape and other forms of sexual violence and calls on the Burmese government to take urgent measures to put an end to this practice.
The UK played an active role in securing the latest UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma, adopted on 22 December 2006. This resolution calls upon the Burmese government to put an immediate end to this practice and to intensify measures to ensure the protection of children affected by armed conflict.
Our Ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises human rights abuses with the Burmese government, most recently when he met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers for Planning and Immigration on 5 January.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to secure the release of the Burmese dissidents Min Ko Naing, Ko Gyi and Htay Kwe who were re-arrested and imprisoned in September 2006. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Ambassador of Burma about an independent investigation into the recent death of political prisoner Ko Thet Win Aung in Mandalay Prison in Burma; and if she will make a statement. 
I issued a statement on 19 October 2006 expressing my concern about the death of Ko Thet Win Aung. I called on the Burmese government to initiate an immediate investigation into the death and to allow
independent bodies to monitor the conditions in Burmas prisons. Our Ambassador in Rangoon reinforced these points with the Minister of Home Affairs on 23 October 2006. The German Ambassador in Rangoon, as local EU Presidency, carried out a démarche the same day on the Burmese regime regarding the death of Ko Thet Win Aung. The German Ambassador expressed the EUs serious concern about the case and reminded the Burmese government that the EU had repeatedly called for the release of Ko Thet Win Aung and reiterated the call for an independent investigation into the matter.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the recent conflict near the eastern Chadian town of Biltine and in the Ouaddei area. 
Mr. McCartney: We have seen reports of the recent occupation of Biltine by rebel forces and their subsequent defeat by the Chadian army. We are seriously concerned about the continuing conflict in eastern Chad and the deteriorating situation in the border regions of Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic. The escalating clashes between the rebels and the Chadian army risk worsening the humanitarian crisis and further destabilising the region.
In the interests of regional peace and security we continue to call on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to stop supporting each others' rebels and to fulfil their obligations under the Tripoli Agreement, which calls for greater border integrity.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on recent attacks around the eastern Chadian town of Biltine and in the Ouaddei area. 
We are seriously concerned about the continuing conflict in eastern Chad and call on the Governments of Chad and Sudan to fulfil their obligations under the Tripoli Agreement. We are currently working with the UN to decide upon the best option for deployment in the region.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with overseas counterparts on the embargo of Chinese products made using forced labour. 
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not raised the embargo on Chinese products made from forced labour with overseas counterparts. However, we strongly condemn all forms of forced labour and regularly raise Chinas reform through labour practices, including re-education
through labour, with the Chinese Government at each round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, the last round of which was held in Beijing in July 2006.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether she was informed that the US had issued a démarche to the Chinese authorities about the recent shooting of Tibetans near to the border with Nepal. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government are aware that the US carried out a démarche on the Chinese authorities to request further information on the incident at Nangpa La Pass shortly after it was reported. We requested information bilaterally from the Chinese Government on 12 October. We strongly supported action by the EU, which raised the incident with the Chinese Government at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing on 19 October 2006, and carried out a follow-up démarche on 19 December.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK Governments position is on the recent Chinese nuclear deal with Pakistan; what assessment she has made on whether the deal has any implications for nuclear proliferation; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Chinese President Hu visited Pakistan last November. During talks in Islamabad he agreed with his Pakistani counterpart General Pervez Musharraf a number of defence and trade deals, but they stopped short of announcing a new nuclear deal. Instead, they said they would continue working on existing nuclear projects.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to which foreign governments the UK Government has made representations since 1 May 1997 on the application of the death penalty. 
Since 1 May 1997 we have made numerous representations about the application of the death penalty. In that period, over 20 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. As stated in the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices 2006 Annual Human Rights Report we and the EU have lobbied in 2005-06, among other countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Botswana, Cameroon, China, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, the US, Vietnam and Yemen. Since 1 May 1997, we have lobbied most, if not all, countries which retain the death penalty in law. We have carried this out through multi-lateral and bilateral démarches or dialogues, and
through lobbying for co-sponsorship of resolutions in the Commission for Human Rights and at the United Nations General Assembly.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the outcome of recent talks between representatives of the Democratic Republic of Congos (DRC) Government and Laurent Nkunda; and what recent steps she has taken to secure a peaceful end to conflict in DRC. 
Mr. McCartney: Reports suggest that Laurent Nkunda met with General John Numbi and other Congolese army representatives in early January. It is important for stability in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the region that the situation in North Kivu is resolved. We support the efforts of the Congolese Government to do so in a way that avoids causing further suffering to the population of North Kivu.
The UK continues to support the Congolese Government, the UN peacekeeping force in the DRC (MONUC), and other bilateral and multinational efforts to secure an end to the conflict and lasting peace in DRC. Successful elections for which the UK was the leading bilateral donor, were an important part of that process. The UK is actively supporting Congolese army reform, which is also crucial to the countrys long-term security.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the imprisonment of Fernando Kutino, Timothee Bompere and Junior Ngandu; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: Our Embassy in Kinshasa, in conjunction with our EU partners, lobbied Ministers in the transitional Congolese Government over the irregularities involved in the detention and trials of Fernando Kutino, Timothee Bompere and Junior Ngandu. In particular, we raised concerns over the use of a military court rather than a civilian one and inconsistencies in the evidence presented by the police and the prosecution.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary expects to attend the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in November 2007. She is likely to hold a number of
bilateral meetings with key partners whilst she is in Kampala, but these will not be confirmed until nearer the time.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the East Timorese Government on the findings of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry report; when she expects the reports findings to be implemented; and what reports she has received from the UK Ambassador to the United Nations on East Timorese Government proposals for reparation for victims of violence and the establishment of independent oversight covering the police and armed forces. 
Mr. McCartney: Our ambassador in Jakarta, who is accredited to East Timor, raised the Commission of Inquirys report with the East Timorese Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, on 15 November. Mr. Ramos Horta said that action rested with the Attorney-General.
The new UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative to East Timor, Atul Khare, has raised the report in a number of recent press briefings in Dili and has stressed that the Government of East Timor and the UN work together to ensure follow-up to the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.
A number of high-level figures have already been questioned in relation to their involvement in the events on which the report was based. We hope that the East Timorese Parliament will review the report over the coming months. Our missions in the UN and Jakarta will continue to monitor developments closely.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made on the restoration of democracy to the authorities in Fiji; what representations she has made on the case for elections to be held; and what discussions she has held with the (a) British high commission, Suva and (b) British high commissioner, Canberra. 
Mr. McCartney: On 5 December 2006 we issued a press statement condemning the military coup in Fiji and calling for a return to democracy as quickly as possible. A full copy of the statement can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at:
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