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Iraq-Kuwait Conflict: Compensation

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many people in the UK are affected by the UN Compensation Commission’s request for part of the
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money paid to people detained in Iraq during the First Gulf War to be repaid; [132474]

(2) if she will make representations to the UN regarding people detained in Iraq during the First Gulf War being asked to repay part of the compensation awarded by the UN Compensation Commission to the effect that the overpayment be written off; [132475]

(3) whether she plans to provide support to those people detained in Iraq during the First Gulf War who are unable to repay part of the compensation awarded by the UN Compensation Commission because their financial circumstances preclude it. [132476]

Dr. Howells [holding answers 19 April 2007]: The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) has identified 113 UK claimants who have received compensation overpayment. The Government have been asked to make “best efforts” to contact the claimants concerned and to request repayment of the sums involved.

The Governing Council of the UNCC has asked that “best efforts” be made by all concerned Governments to seek to recover relevant overpayments from affected claimants and for Governments to report back on progress before the next UNCC Governing Council in June.

The UK supported the general consensus in the Governing Council to adopt a “best efforts” approach to the recovery of overpayments.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what factors informed the decisions by the UN Compensation Commission on who (a) should and (b) should not receive compensation payments following detention during the First Gulf War. [133359]

Dr. Howells: The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) was established in 1991 by UN Security Council Resolution 687 to process claims and pay compensation for death, injury, losses and damages suffered by individuals, corporations, Governments and international organisations as a direct result of Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait.

There were six categories of claims which were assessed and resolved by panels of Commissioners who were independent experts in fields such as law, accountancy, loss adjustment, insurance and engineering.

The UNCC’s claims processing procedures were prescribed by the Security Council and were further elaborated by the Governing Council in a number of its decisions which were implemented by the panels of Commissioners.

The panels submitted their recommendations on claims to the Governing Council for approval.

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether double payment of elements of the awards made to people detained in Iraq during the First Gulf War forms the basis for the UN Compensation Commission’s request for part of the money to be repaid. [133361]


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Dr. Howells: The UN Compensation Commission (UNCC) has conducted a full investigation aimed at identifying duplicate claims and other claims raising overpayment issues. As a result, around 30,000 compensation awards have been formally corrected by the UNCC Governing Council. The total corrections represent around US$80 million. These corrections have arisen for a number of reasons, including some claims which were identified as having being paid twice. Of the total amount of corrections, around US$73.7 million remains to be recovered from claimants.

Following the corrections, governments of claimants in receipt of overpayments, and other submitting entities, have been asked by the UNCC Governing Council to “make best efforts” to seek to recover amounts from their affected claimants. The basis for the amount requested depends on the circumstances of each individual case.

Israel: EU Aid

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial support is being given by the EU to the non-governmental organisation the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions; what the purpose is of the financial support; what (a) representations were received from and (b) discussions were held with the Israeli Government prior to giving financial support; and if she will make a statement. [132402]

Mr. McCartney: The European Commission has provided the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions with 472,786 for a two year project which started in 2005. The project aims to act as a means of raising political consciousness in Israel about the peace process by bringing Israelis into direct contact with Palestinians and the Occupation through house rebuilding and other political activities. More details of the project can be found on the European Parliament’s website at:

We are not aware of any representations or discussions between the EU and the Israeli Government regarding this project.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial support (a) the UK Government and (b) the EU is giving to Bimkom, a non-governmental organisation in Israel; what the purpose is of the financial support; what (i) representations were received from and (ii) discussions were held with the Israeli Government prior to giving financial support; and if she will make a statement. [132403]

Mr. McCartney: In 2005, we agreed to fund Bimkom’s study into the effects of the barrier in the West Bank. In 2007, we agreed to grant Bimkom £80,300 in order to provide comprehensive information concerning the planning situation of Palestinian villages and land in area C which would then be used as a basis to prevent house demolitions and press for the development of appropriate plans for these villages with the aim of significantly improving the situation
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and living conditions of their residents. Prior to the decision to fund these projects, the Israeli Government did not make any representations regarding Bimkom. However, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs did make representations about the barrier project in February.

According to the European Parliament’s project listings, the European Commission is providing €295,799 for a two year project which started in 2006. More details of the project proposal can be found on the European Parliament’s website at:

Kazakhstan: Corruption

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of corruption in Kazakhstan. [132715]

Mr. Hoon: The Kazakh Law “On Fighting Corruption” requires every state executive to submit annual declarations of income received and property owned within and outside the Republic of Kazakhstan. President Nazarbayev, in his 28 February address to the nation, focused on the need to do more. Allegations of systematic corruption in Kazakhstan remain rife and Kazakhstan features as 111th on the 2006 Transparency International index (a slight improvement from 125th three years ago). However, substantive evidence regarding specific examples is rare and it is therefore difficult to make an accurate assessment of the scale of corruption. The Government actively urge Kazakhstan to address these issues. Most recently, we sponsored a meeting, on 18 April, on the role of oil and gas contracts in sustainable development. The UK is also a leading supporter of Kazakhstan’s work on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Marc Swanson

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 29 March 2007, Official Report, column 1775W, on Marc Swanson, on what dates her officials in Brazil had contact with the local police; and what information was received on each occasion. [132467]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 19 April 2007]: Since November 2003 consular officials have been in regular contact with the various Brazilian departments that are involved in the investigation into Mr. Swanson’s disappearance. I have asked officials in Consular Directorate in London to write to the hon. Member with a comprehensive chronology of the contacts our staff in Brazil have had with the local Brazilian Police. Copies of the letter will also be placed in the Library of the House.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 26 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mrs K. Mirza. [132482]


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Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right. hon. Friend. A reply will be sent out shortly.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 2 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Rhoda Chigwedere. [132483]

Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right hon. Friend. A reply was sent out on 12 April 2007.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 26 February from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr. Ghulam Nabi. [132484]

Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right hon. Friend. A reply was sent out on 12 April 2007.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 1 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Ufuoma Marcello. [132485]

Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right hon. Friend. A reply was sent out on 13 April 2007.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 5 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr. A. Zulfiqar. [132487]

Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right hon. Friend. A reply was sent out on 12 April 2007.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when she expects to reply to the letter of 5 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on Mr. Farouq Ahmed. [132489]

Mr. McCartney: I apologise for the delay in replying to my right hon. Friend. A reply was sent out on 12 April 2007.

Mercenaries: Regulation

Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department has taken to follow up the 2002 Green Paper entitled Private Military Companies: Options for Regulation. [132939]

Dr. Howells: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) on 12 March 2007, Official Report, column 93W.


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North Korea: Human Rights

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations the United Kingdom has made to the United Nations Human Rights Council on (a) political and civil rights, (b) freedom of the press and (c) food provision in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. [132607]

Mr. McCartney: I raised the UK’s ongoing concern at the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in my address to the UN Human Rights Council in March.

At the same meeting, the EU presidency, on behalf of member states, made a statement underlining its concerns about widespread violations of human rights in the DPRK, including the lack of freedom of expression, assembly, association and movement as well as arbitrary detention, extra-judicial and public executions, routine use of torture, forced abortions and infanticide, political prison camps and extreme religious persecution.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials raised the issue of future food security with the UN Special Rapporteur for the DPRK Human Rights during the March session.

North Korea: Nuclear Power

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s compliance with the deadline agreed at the Six Party Talks in Beijing in February to close the Yongbyon nuclear reactor. [132588]

Mr. McCartney: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) did not shut down and seal the Yongbyon nuclear facility by the agreed deadline of 14 April. The North Koreans made clear that they would not start the process until North Korean accounts with Banco Asia Delta in Macau had been unfrozen and returned; which for technical reasons took longer than expected. South Korean media reports suggest that the DPRK has now begun work to dismantle the Yongbyon reactor, but we have not seen independent confirmation of this. The five other members of the Six Party Talks are working together to ensure that the DPRK complies with the commitments it has entered into.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress her Department has made on negotiations towards a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty; and what the key obstacles are to such negotiations. [132720]

Mr. McCartney: The UK continues to push for the early start of negotiations, without preconditions, on a Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT) in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). The UK’s, and the wider EU’s, support for such a Treaty is well known. In the Common Position negotiated in advance of the 2005 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review
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Conference (7768/05), the EU appealed to the CD for the immediate commencement and early conclusion of a non-discriminatory, universally applicable Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The UK welcomes the US initiative made in Geneva in May 2006 to table a draft treaty text and draft mandate for negotiations. We hope that all CD member states are able to accept the very broad mandate proposed and agree to open negotiations towards a treaty without delay.

Progress has been blocked by some nations linking the start of FMCT negotiations to progress on other unrelated CD agenda items.

Nuclear Test Ban

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department has taken to bring the comprehensive test ban treaty into force. [132719]

Dr. Howells: We continue to take every appropriate opportunity at ministerial and official level to encourage states who have not ratified the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty to do so, particularly the 10 remaining annex two countries (those that formally participated in the treaty's negotiation and have nuclear power or research reactors), which must ratify before the treaty can enter into force. We have carried out demarchés, both as part of the EU and bilaterally, and will continue to assist where we can. We have used our overseas missions to assist both the provisional technical secretariat and the executive secretary of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty organisation in regional outreach work. We have also supported the special representative of the ratifiers of the treaty, ambassador Ramaker, with his programme of visits and will continue to do so.

Occupied Territories

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will assess the legality of (a) advertising in the UK real estate built in the Palestinian Occupied Territories in violation of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and (b) the advertisement of new build real estate in Har Homa in the Occupied Territories (i) at the Real Estate Exhibition on 18 March and (ii) in editions of the Jewish Chronicle; and if she will make a statement. [132722]

Dr. Howells: The advertising of such property by private persons in the UK is not unlawful. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden) on 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 39W.


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