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The response to which this is pursuant incorrectly gave the date from which expenditure began to be incurred as July 2004 (the date that Capgemini took over the contract). The correct date is November 2003.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will take steps to eliminate discrimination in recruitment, training, promotion and other practices in the Royal Bermuda Regiment; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Bermuda Regiment is established under the Bermuda Defence Act and is therefore governed by local Bermuda legislation. Any amendment would have to be at the request of the Government of Bermuda.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many women in the Royal Bermuda Regiment have (a) received
training in the UK, (b) been seconded to UK military units outside of Bermuda and (c) been deployed overseas (i) in each of the last five years and (ii) since the report was submitted in November 2005 by Colonel Baxter of the British defence staff into fitness for role inspection of the Royal Bermuda Regiment. 
Mr. Hoon: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have contacted the Bermuda Regiment and received the following information: one female soldier has been to the UK for training; one female soldier has been seconded to a UK military unit; and one female volunteer was deployed to the Cayman Islands in 2004 but no others have been deployed since November 2005.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to build support for a new UN Security Council resolution on Burma among EU member states. 
Mr. McCartney: We are working with the United States and members of the Security Council to build support for a UN Security Council resolution on Burma. All five European member states currently on the UN Security Council have indicated their support for a resolution. However the resolution was not adopted, as two permanent members of the Security CouncilChina and Russiavoted against, as did South Africa.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Home Office on improving links between consular casework staff and UK law enforcement officials. 
Dr. Howells: We have a good working relationship with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), a non-departmental body of the Home Office. We seek to maintain this by ensuring that our consular training courses include a session on notifying SOCA of serious crimes of which we are aware committed by British nationals overseas, and a consular official speaks on relevant SOCA training courses. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary wrote to Cabinet colleagues on 16 January proposing a review of the way the Government share information on criminality. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will play a full role in that review.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which nations in East Asia are contributing to the operations of the proliferation security initiative; and if she will make a statement. 
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many committees work for the EU institutions, broken down by (a) expert groups advising the European Commission on policy formation, (b) Council working groups, (c) comitology committees, (d) committees working for the European Court of Justice, (e) standing committees in the European Parliament and (f) other committees. 
Mr. Hoon: Expert groups are set up by the Commission, mainly on an informal basis, to provide it with independent advice. Membership is entirely for the Commission to decide but is generally drawn from academia, industry, trade unions and consumer groups. The composition, size and frequency of meetings of the groups vary enormously. The Commissions database lists 1,237 such groups. Their responsibilities cover policy development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation phases. The Commission does not specify how many of the groups are dedicated to policy formation only.
There are 250 comitology committees.
There are no committees working for the European Court of Justice.
20 permanent committees and 6 temporary committees in the European Parliament.
Mr. Hoon: The Government oppose extremism in all its forms. It remains to be seen what effect this group will have on European parliamentary decision-making given that it contains only 20 out of a total of 785 Members of the European Parliament.
The EU is founded on the principles set out in Article 6 of the Treaty on EU. These include respect for fundamental rights as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The UK is continuing to support political and economic development in the new member states including through participation in the Commission- funded twinning programme which includes supporting the development of state institutions.
Margaret Beckett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 10 July 2003, Official Report, columns 931-32W, and to the answer my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Peter Luff) at Prime Ministers Questions on 6 December 2006, Official Report, column 303.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the United States on returning Hambali (Riduan Isamuddin) from Guantanamo Bay to Indonesia to stand trial for the Bali bombing. 
British Government officials have conveyed to the US authorities concerns that Hambali has not yet been brought to justice. In his speech of 6 September 2006, President Bush announced the transfer of 14 so-called high-value detainees to Guantanamo Bay, including Hambali. He also said that the International Committee of the Red Cross would be granted access to them, and that they should face justice.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations (a) the UK Government and (b) the European Union have made to the Government of India concerning the sale of military equipment and provision of military training to the Burma army. 
Mr. McCartney: Our high commission in New Delhi has raised our concerns regarding the provision of military equipment and training to the Burmese army with the Indian Government. The EU has not made any specific representations regarding this issue.
In my discussions with the Indian Deputy Foreign Minister in the margins of the Human Rights Council on 20 June 2006, I asked the Government of India to use their influence to encourage the Burmese Government to respect human rights and bring about political change. I also raised the human rights situation in Burma when I met the Indian Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on 27 November 2006.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the implications for the UK of the European Court judgement of 12 December 2006 to annul the Councils decision to freeze the funds of the Peoples Mojahedin of Iran; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: On 12 December 2006, the Court of First Instance (CFI) of the European Community annulled the Council of the European Unions decision to add the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK, also known as lOrganisation des Moudjahiddines du peuple iranien or Peoples Mojahedin Organization of Iran) to its list of terrorist organisations subject to an EU-wide asset freeze.
The specific Council decision of December 2005 annulled by the Court has been replaced by a subsequent Council decision of May 2006. The EU-wide asset freeze against MeK is therefore still in force. The EU keeps all its terrorist asset freezing decisions under regular review.
The assets of this group are also frozen under UK domestic law. This is not affected by the CFI judgement, which is a technical decision on EU procedures. The Court did not rule on the substantive question as to whether the MeK is a terrorist group.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the UK Government were invited to make a submission to the Iraq Study Group in the United States; what form of submission was requested; and when it was supplied. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether discussions have been held with other European Governments on co-operation with Pakistan in the field of civilian nuclear energy; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Beckett: Discussion at EU working group level has covered the whole range of Pakistans nuclear activities, including the obstacles currently preventing EU Governments from entering into co-operation on civil nuclear energy. We have also held exchanges with Pakistan on enhancing export controls.
Margaret Beckett: Singapores constitution provides for freedom of speech, assembly and association for Singaporean citizens. However, it also allows Singapores Parliament to impose by law such restrictions as it sees fit to protect national security, friendly relations with other countries, public order and morality, the protection of parliamentary privilege and laws concerning contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence.
The Public Entertainment and Meetings Act requires a permit for public speech or entertainment, although its rules have been relaxed to allow some indoor speaking events to be exempted. By law, police permission is required for public assemblies of five or more persons. Most associations, societies, clubs, religious groups and other organisations with more than 10 members are required to register with the Government under the Societies Act and the Government can deny registration to groups that they believe are likely to have been formed for unlawful purposes.
Defamation cases can be brought and have been used by the Singapore Government. The Films Act forbids political advertising using films or videos and also prohibits films deemed to have political goals. Political and religious websites must be registered and may be subject to restrictions e.g. during elections. The Sedition Act has been used to prosecute racist comments made online. New laws to criminalise comments deemed to be harmful to racial and religious harmony are currently being discussed.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Government of Singapore on the application of freedom of speech, association and assembly in Singapore. 
Margaret Beckett: The Singapore Government are well aware of our views, and those of our EU partners, on these issues. Most recently we raised our concerns to the Singaporean Government, through our high commission in Singapore, regarding access for accredited non-governmental organisations to the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Annual Meetings held in Singapore in September 2006.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the detention of Dr. Chee Soon Juan and other Singapore Democrat Party members by the Government of Singapore. 
Margaret Beckett: Dr. Chee Soon Juan was detained on 23 November 2006 for five weeks for non-payment of a fine he received for speaking in public without a permit, a requirement under Singapore law. Dr. Chee was released early on 16 December 2006. Two other members of the Singapore Democratic Party were detained at the same time and given shorter jail terms for non-payment of smaller fines. They have also been released.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the use of the death penalty in Singapore; and what representations she has made to the Government of Singapore on the use of the death penalty. 
The UK is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. We believe that the abolition of the death penalty is essential for the protection of human rights under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Singapore Government continue to use the death penalty, though the number of executions
in recent years has been much lower than in the past. There is little public opposition in Singapore to use of the death penalty.
The Singapore Government are well aware of our views. Our high commissioner in Singapore raised the issue most recently in December 2006 with the Singapore Deputy Prime Minster, who is also Minister for Law.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her European and US counterparts on the security situation in Somalia. 
John Sawers (Foreign and Commonwealth Office Director-General Political) attended an ad hoc EU meeting for European members of the International Contact Group on Somalia in Brussels on 3 January. He also attended a meeting of the full International Contact Group on Somalia in Nairobi on 5 January at which Jendayi Frazer, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, was present. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary will discuss Somalia at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 22 January.
We, and our European and US counterparts, agree that this is a historic opportunity for the Somali people to reach sustainable political solutions for Somalia, based on the Transitional Federal Charter; that there is an urgent need to deploy a stabilisation force in Somalia based on UN Security Council Resolution 1725; that we should urge and support the Transitional Federal Institutions/Government in their efforts to lead an inclusive and representative political process in Somalia and to become an effective governing authority; and remain committed to providing humanitarian assistance.
Margaret Beckett: After years of lawlessness and little effective government, a historic opportunity now exists for a sustainable political solution to Somalia's difficulties. We fully support the Transitional Federal Institutions in their efforts to find a lasting and inclusive political settlement and to become an effective governing authority. The Transitional Federal Charter sets out a roadmap for constitutional process and transition to a democratically elected Government. This is the framework within which the Transitional Government should pursue a political process in Mogadishu.
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