|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the murder charges laid by the authorities in Bangladesh against Sheikh Hasina, leader of the Awami League party. 
Dr. Howells: We are aware that serious criminal charges have been brought against Sheikh Hasina and other political leaders in Bangladesh. We expect the caretaker Government to act in the best interests of the people of Bangladesh, to act with integrity and to respect human rights and the rule of law. We have reminded the Bangladesh Government of their responsibilities towards all those accused and urged them to ensure that due process is followed.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Cabinet Ministers stayed at the British embassy in Washington between (a) 3 and 9 February 2004 and (b) 14 and 17 December 2004. 
The conditions of her detention are very restrictive. Her doctor is allowed to visit her occasionally. On 24 November 2006, our Ambassador in Rangoon formally requested authority from the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pay a courtesy call on her. The request was refused.
I discussed the situation of Aung San Suu Kyi when I met the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari, on 15 November 2006. Mr. Gambari met her during his visit to Burma in November 2006. We understand that Aung Sang Suu Kyi assured Mr. Gambari that she was in reasonably good health. Mr. Gambari raised concerns about her welfare with the Burmese Government.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations the Government has made to the United Nations Human Rights Council on (a) conditions of political prisoners, (b) freedom of the press and (c) food provision in Burma. 
Mr. McCartney: I raised the human rights situation in Burma when I addressed the Human Rights Council on 13 March. I expressed our concern that the people of Burma did not enjoy the most basic of human rights, including the rights to freedom of speech and association; and that the fundamental tenets of good governance and the rule of law were not upheld. I also drew attention to ongoing serious human rights abuses, particularly in areas of armed conflict. The European Union Presidency and our Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva also set out our concerns in statements to the Council on 23 March.
Mr. McCartney: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office identifies Burma as a country of concern in our 2006 Annual Report on Human Rights. The Governments policy is to promote full respect for human rights in Burma encouraging the rule of law, democracy and good governance, and the freedom of association and speech in accordance with international human rights law.
We have been at the forefront of international efforts over many years to bring pressure to bear on the military regime to re-establish democracy and to respect human rights. We take every opportunity to raise human rights issues with the regime and remind them of their obligations to adhere to international human rights law. Our Embassy in Rangoon also delivers capacity building assistance through our Global Opportunities Fund in support of these objectives.
I have raised the human rights situation regularly with the Burmese regime and other Governments in the region. On 16 June 2006, I called in the Burmese Ambassador and on 5 July 2006 I wrote to the Burmese Foreign Minister, highlighting our many concerns. On 18 September 2006, I raised the serious human rights situation with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ambassadors, including the Burmese Ambassador, and on 4 December 2006 with the ASEAN Secretary-General. I have also raised Burma with the Governments of China, India, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea. I have discussed the human rights abuses taking place in Burma with Juan Mendez, the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. I discussed Burma in detail with Ibrahim Gambari, the UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on 15 November 2006, following his visit to the country. Most recently, I raised the human rights situation in Burma in my address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 March and at the EU/ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Nuremberg on 15 March, in the presence of the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister.
In addition, our Ambassador in Rangoon regularly raises human rights with the regime, most recently when he met the Burmese Ministers for Planning and Immigration and the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister on 5 January.
The UK works closely with the EU and other international partners, including the UN and ASEAN, to promote human rights in Burma, and fully supports the efforts of the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma, Professor Sergio Pinheiro.
We supported the efforts to have Burma added to the UN Security Council agenda in September 2006 and co-sponsored with the US a UN Security Council Resolution on Burma. This was put to the vote on 12 January. Nine members of the Security Council supported the Resolution. However, three States, including two Permanent Members of the Council, voted against and as such the Resolution was not adopted. While the result was disappointing, it is important to note that all Security Council members agreed that there were serious issues of concern in Burma. This, and the positive votes from the majority of Security Council partners, reflected the
international communitys deep concern over the plight of Burmas people. Burma remains on the UN Security Council agenda.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) men and (b) women failed the Band C Assessment and Development Centres in 2005-06, broken down by age groups (i) 20 to 29, (ii) 30 to 39 and (c) 40 plus. 
Mr. Hoon: Our Management Information system records 71 per cent. (52 out of 73) male candidates failed the Band C Assessment Development Centre (ADC) in financial year 2005-06. The age group breakdown is: 20 to 29 year olds, 67 per cent. (14 out of 21 in this age group); 30 to 39 year olds, 78 per cent. (32 out of 41); and 40 plus year olds, 55 per cent. (six out of 11).
The system records 67 per cent. of women (36 out of 54) failed the Band C ADC in financial year 2005-06. The age group breakdown is: 20 to 29 year olds, 36 per cent. of candidates (five out of 14 female in this age group); 30 to 39 year olds, 71 per cent. (20 out of 28); and 40 plus year olds, 92 per cent. (11 out of 12).
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the estimated Iraqi death toll for (a) civilian deaths and (b) all other deaths is for each month since March 2003; and what methods were used for the collation and presentation of the data. 
Dr. Howells: All deaths in Iraq resulting from military and terrorist attacks are a tragedy. The Government of Iraq are best placed to monitor the numbers of Iraqi casualties, but we continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003. Estimates vary according to the method of collection.
According to figures released by the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior on 2 January 2007, 12,320 civilians were killed during 2006. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq estimates that 34,452 civilians were killed in 2006, on the basis of information obtained through the Iraqi Health Ministry, hospitals and the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad. No further figures are currently available.
The UK was deeply disturbed by the events in Gaur, southern Nepal on 21 March during which 27 people were killed. This shocking display of violence is unacceptable in a democratic society and does not help Nepal or the peace process. Nor does it help address the legitimate grievances of the Madhesis and other disenfranchised groups in the Terai region
who have been demonstrating for greater inclusion in the interim constitution and wider political process. We have urged the Government of Nepal to take prompt action to bring the perpetrators of this violence to justice and welcomed the statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, which also called for the Government of Nepal to launch an investigation into the killings in Gaur. The full text of the statement is available at:
We were concerned to read of threats against human rights defenders and journalists in the Terai. The UK has long supported the work of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other human rights groups in Nepal and will continue to support calls to tackle human rights violations and impunity.
The continuing violence in the Terai reinforces the urgent need for the Government of Nepal to address Madhesi grievances and to work towards a more democratic and inclusive system. During his visit to Nepal on 2-4 April, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development met with a wide range of politicians from all parties, including Maoists. He urged all parties to refrain from violence and stressed the need for an inclusive political process.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assurances she has received that elections to a special assembly to rewrite the Nepalese constitution will be held in June. 
Dr. Howells: Nepals Chief Election Commissioner told the media on 13 April that elections on 20 June are no longer possible. The Commissioner has also written to the Government of Nepal to say that, in order to prepare for an effective election, he requires 110 days from the date that all necessary election legislation has been passed. With the interim Parliament still debating the necessary legislation, the Election Commission has not yet been able to finalise procedures, manuals, training and voter education materials.
During his visit to Nepal on 2-4 April, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for International Development urged all parties to work towards free, fair and credible elections in an atmosphere free from violence and intimidation. He called on the Government of Nepal to ensure that voters were able genuinely and freely to express their will.
The Government of Nepal have yet to react to the Chief Election Commissioners letter. However, the eight parties are due to meet to discuss the announcement and consider next steps. In the meantime, we will encourage
the Government to use any delay in the election process to create a transparent and properly sequenced plan for elections later this year. In addition, we will continue to work with the EU, the UN and our other international partners and non-governmental organisations to ensure that the political and security environment in Nepal is appropriate to allow free, fair and credible elections to take place.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what plans she has for proposals to take forward the UKs multilateral disarmament commitments in the run up to the May 2007 Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2010 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference; and whether she has had any discussions with her United States counterparts on such proposals; 
(2) what initiatives she is planning to take forward the UKs multilateral disarmament commitments in the run up to the Preparatory Committee meeting for the 2010 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference in Vienna in May; and whether she has had any discussions with her United States counterpart on such proposals. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are strongly committed to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which is the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the framework for nuclear disarmament. The UK is determined to make every effort to ensure that this review cycle results in a positive and substantive final document at the 2010 Review Conference that moves forward all aspects of Treaty implementation, including disarmament. We are working with allies, including the US, to lay the groundwork for this at the April-May 2007 NPT Preparatory Committee. We believe we have already made a contribution by announcing, in the White Paper on the Future of the UKs Nuclear Deterrent, a further 20 per cent. cut in our warhead stockpile.
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters she plans to raise at the meeting of the nuclear non- proliferation treaty Preparatory Committee starting on 30 April; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The United Kingdom will work with the EU, with its allies in the Western European and Others Group and with the other nuclear weapon states towards strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and the wider nuclear non-proliferation regime. There are a number of issues on which useful work could be undertaken, many of which were set out in the EU Common Position agreed for the 2005 review conference and remain outstanding. It will be important to build consensus on these areas, and any new workstreams, in this and future Preparatory Committees. We hope that this process will culminate in a substantive final document being agreed at the 2010 NPT review conference.
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is actively engaged in all aspects of the Post- conflict Reconstruction Units (PCRU) work. The FCO, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development provide strategic direction to the PCRU through quarterly meetings at director-level. The FCO also works closely with the PCRU on overarching issues such as security and rule of law, and on the PCRUs international deployments. The FCO has encouraged its staff to apply for positions in the unit: it currently has five working there.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the death rate per million maternities from puerperal sepsis and other forms of septicaemia was in each year since 1999-2000; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Deaths from puerperal sepsis are very rare. The Department-sponsored confidential enquiry into maternal deaths Why Mothers Die report for 2000-02 only identified five women who died of puerperal sepsis in the United Kingdom for the three years 2000 to 2002. This gives a maternal death rate of 2.5 per million maternities. The next report is due to be published later this year and will contain the figures for the three year period 2003-05.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the change in numbers of colorectal nurse specialist posts on the effectiveness of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The number of colorectal nurse specialists is not collected centrally and the Department has not undertaken an assessment of current numbers. It is for cancer networks to work in partnership with strategic health authorities, national health service trusts and postgraduate deaneries to put in place a sustainable process to assess, plan and review their work force needs and the education and training of all staff linked to local and national priorities for
cancer including the implementation of the National Bowel Screening Programme.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|