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4 Jun 2007 : Column 250W

Sudan: Peace Negotiations

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 48W, on Sudan: peace negotiations, what steps the Government are taking to seek faster progress on the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. [138562]

Margaret Beckett: The UK is pressing the government of Sudan and rebel groups to cease the violence immediately and commit to a renewed political process. We are pressing the African Union (AU) and UN to make rapid progress in this area, most recently when the UK's Special Representative for Sudan attended a meeting in Tripoli on 28 April.

We stand ready to support: a secretariat for the AU and UN mediators; the AU in taking forward the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation; and the Transitional Darfuri Regional Authority and other bodies under the Darfur Peace Agreement. Progress in these initiatives has been slow due to the continued violence in Darfur.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 April 2007, Official Report, column 48W, on Sudan: peace negotiations, what progress has been made by the (a) African Union and (b) UN to meet commitments made at the UN high level meeting in November 2006 to convene a meeting between the non-signatories and signatories of the Darfur peace agreement. [138563]

Margaret Beckett: The African Union (AU) and UN Special Representatives for the political process in Darfur; and representatives from Sudan, Chad, African regional powers, the UN Security Council, the EU and the Arab League met on 28 and 29 April in Tripoli to discuss the Darfur peace process. They reconfirmed support for the conclusions of the UN high level meeting in November 2006 in Addis Ababa.

They agreed the “Tripoli Consensus” which calls for an immediate ceasefire; the facilitation of humanitarian access and delivery; and sustained funding for the AU force in Darfur until the AU/UN hybrid force can deploy. They urged all parties to commit to a renewed, inclusive and accelerated political process. The "Tripoli Consensus" warned all parties that those who obstruct the peace process in Darfur would bear the consequences.

We are pressing the AU and UN special representatives urgently to present a roadmap for negotiations to the UN Secretary-General.

Sudan: War Crimes

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to ensure that the government of Sudan complies with the arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court in connection with alleged atrocities in Darfur; and if she will make a statement. [137110]

Margaret Beckett: The Government firmly believe that there can be no impunity for crimes against humanity and war crimes. The International Criminal
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Court (ICC) has our full support for its activities. It must also have the full and unconditional co-operation of the government of Sudan. We have made this clear to the authorities in Khartoum.

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, made a statement on 2 May calling upon the government of Sudan to co-operate with the court's request for the arrest and surrender of the two individuals which we brought to the attention of the Sudanese embassy in London. It is vital that the government of Sudan fulfils its obligations in relation to the ICC.

Tibet: Human Rights

Mr. Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the human rights situation in Tibet; and what recent progress has been made on improving human rights for the indigenous people of Tibet. [139056]

Mr. McCartney: We raised our concerns on the human rights situation in Tibet with the Chinese Government at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 5 February. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also raised Tibet with Chinese Premier Wen when he visited London in September 2006. We welcome the economic development in Tibet, but remain concerned that this does not sufficiently benefit or take into account the wishes of the local Tibetan population. The British Government continue to fund project work to improve health, sanitation and education facilities for Tibetan populations in China.

Uganda: Elections

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions she has had with the Commonwealth Secretariat on its report on the 2006 Ugandan elections. [138693]

Mr. McCartney: Our high commission in Kampala, along with other diplomatic missions, had regular contact with the Commonwealth Observer Group in the run up to and during the 2006 elections. We continue to have high level contacts with the Commonwealth Secretariat on a range of issues in Uganda, including political governance.

The UK, along with our EU partners, has a regular dialogue with the Government of Uganda on all aspects of developing multi-party democracy and engaging with the opposition as a means of building towards the next elections in 2011. Our high commissioner in Kampala discussed these issues most recently with President Museveni on 10 May.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to strengthen and increase resources for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. [140076]


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Mr. McCartney: The UK fully supported the decision at the UN World summit, 14-16 September 2005, to double resources from the UN regular budget to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) over the next five years. As well as supporting the OHCHR through the UK’s contribution to the UN regular budget, the Government continue to be one of the major donors to the OHCHR through voluntary contributions. They are contributing over £2.5 million annually in the period 2005-08.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development remain in close contact with the OHCHR on progress on the OHCHR’s strategic management programme, which sets goals for OHCHR’s expansion in 2006-08 and will, ‘inter alia’, enhance OHCHR’s capacity to mainstream human rights more effectively across the UN system. We fully support this programme, including through resisting efforts by some at the UN Human Rights Council to limit the OHCHR’s independence in pursuing its goals.

UN Human Rights Council

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the performance of the UN Human Rights Council. [140079]

Mr. McCartney: We continue to have ambitious goals for the new UN Human Rights Council (HRC). It has taken some encouraging steps. For example, it has begun to address the situation in Darfur, most recently through a consensus resolution adopted on 30 March to follow up on recommendations made by the council's high-level assessment mission for Darfur. We were, however, disappointed by a disproportionate and unbalanced focus in the council's early months on the situation in the Middle East, while other situations were comparatively neglected. Negotiations on the council's future tools and mechanisms are due to be completed in June. Their results will be key to the council's long-term potential. We continue to work hard to make these tools as effective as possible.

Much of the responsibility for the council's success rests with its members. We were disappointed that, at the most recent HRC elections on 17 May, three of the five UN regional groups did not put forward more candidates than there were seats available. However, we were pleased that Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were elected from the Eastern European Group, in preference to a country where the human rights situation continues to be of deep concern. We look forward to continuing to work with all council members to try to increase the HRC's strength and effectiveness.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment she has made of the likelihood of the renewal of the (a) special procedures, (b) country-specific and (c) thematic special rapporteurs in the United Nations Human Rights Council. [140084]

Mr. McCartney: The UN General Assembly (GA) resolution of 16 March 2006 establishing the UN
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Human Rights Council specifically provided for the Council to “assume, review and where necessary improve and rationalise” all mandates and mechanisms of its predecessor body, the Commission on Human Rights. This included the special procedures of the Commission, including the country-specific and thematic special rapporteurs. The review of the rapporteurs and other special procedures, provided for by the GA resolution, is ongoing.

The UK attaches enormous importance to the continued independence, strength and autonomy of the system of rapporteurs. We are resisting attempts by some to use the review to limit the rapporteurs' effectiveness. We strongly support the continuation of all thematic and country-specific rapporteurs' mandates after the Council session this June. However, other UN member states firmly oppose our aims in this area, particularly the continuation of some country-specific rapporteurs' mandates. Ongoing discussion of these issues in Geneva is difficult. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure the review process does not weaken the system of rapporteurs.

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will take steps to ensure that the special procedures in the United Nations Human Rights Council, and in particular the country-specific and thematic special rapporteurs, are renewed next month. [140244]

Mr. McCartney: The UN Human Rights Council's (HRC's) review of the special procedures (including thematic and country-specific special rapporteurs) has been ongoing in Geneva through formal and informal Council working groups, in the plenary of regular Council sessions, and in informal bilateral and small group consultations. It is due to be finished in June. The UK has consistently taken a strong position, nationally and with the rest of the EU, in favour of maintaining the most effective possible system of special procedures. While suggesting areas where the system could be further strengthened, we have argued strongly for the renewal of the mandates of the country-specific and thematic special rapporteurs. We have engaged bilaterally with other UN partners to build support for our position. In my speech to

the HRC on 13 March, I said:

However, others in the Council do not share our aims, particularly with regard to the country-specific special rapporteurs and the independence of the system as a whole. We will continue to push hard, against opposition, for the renewal of mandates and for the rapporteurs' continued independence and autonomy.

United Nations

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the way in which the principle of responsibility to protect has been implemented by the United Nations in the last 12 months. [140077]

Mr. McCartney: The UK continues to lead efforts in the UN to maintain and build international consensus
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on how to implement the commitments made at the World summit in 2005 in relation to the Responsibility to Protect principle. UN Security Council resolution 1674 (2006), concerned with the protection of civilians in armed conflict, explicitly affirmed the World summit outcome on Responsibility to Protect. The UK has worked to embed this commitment in relevant country specific resolutions. One example is Sudan, where the UK was the main sponsor of resolutions 1706 (2006) and 1755 (2007) which make direct reference to the Responsibility to Protect provisions of the World Summit Outcome Document.

Responsibility to Protect remains a political commitment rather than a legal obligation, but it is in the UK’s interests to make sure this commitment holds.

We will continue work to apply the Responsibility to Protect principle to achieve appropriate and speedy responses to protect vulnerable populations against genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.

United Nations Security Council

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 25 April 2007, Official Report, column 1177W, on the United Nations Security Council, what proposals were put forward by the United Kingdom at (a) the informal Security Council discussion on Sudan on 16 April and (b) any subsequent discussions for action to be taken by the Security Council on Darfur. [136492]

Margaret Beckett: At the informal meeting of the Security Council that I chaired on 16 April, I welcomed the Sudanese Government’s announcement that they would accept the UN’s Heavy Support Package for the African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan. I stressed that it represented only limited progress; five months after the Addis Ababa agreement, Darfur still had no viable cease-fire, political process or agreement to the hybrid AU-UN force. Since then, we have been pressing the case for further sanctions in the Security Council, if the Government of Sudan and rebel movements do not co-operate fully. These would include further targeted sanctions against individuals engaged in violence or responsible for authorising it; expanding the arms embargo to cover the whole of Sudan; and measures to allow better monitoring of the illegal use of aircraft in Darfur.

United Nations: Human Rights

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals she has for reform and strengthening of UN human rights mechanisms. [140078]

Mr. McCartney: The UK continues to support reform of the UN’s human rights mechanisms, begun at the UN World summit in 2005. We worked actively for the establishment of the new UN Human Rights Council (HRC). We stood for election to the HRC last year to enable us to contribute to the Council’s early development to the fullest possible extent. That development is ongoing, with key decisions on the Council’s future shape and tools due in June this year. Throughout negotiations on these, we have consistently
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pushed for the strongest and most effective mechanisms possible. We believe that a balanced and fair system of universal periodic review, and the continued independence and autonomy of the Council’s special procedures, are particularly important. We have also encouraged innovative working methods at the Council, such as focused panel discussions. We continue to support efforts, including those of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to mainstream human rights throughout the UN system in order to enhance the UN’s human rights work overall. We also support efforts to improve the efficiency of the UN treaty monitoring bodies, and to increase ratifications and improve implementation of UN human rights treaties. The ultimate success of these reform efforts, however, inevitably lies with the UN membership as a whole.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the longest recorded journey time was for non-human primates imported into the United Kingdom for research purposes from (a) China, (b) Mauritius, (c) Indonesia, (d) the
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Philippines, (e) Vietnam and (f) Israel in each year since 1997. [137525]

Joan Ryan: The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 requires that non-human primates are only used in scientific procedures if no other species is suitable. In deciding whether to grant a licence for any regulated procedure, the 1986 Act requires that the likely benefits of the programme are weighed against the likely adverse effects on the animals concerned and that there are no alternatives which, either, replace animal use entirely, reduce the number of animals needed or refine the procedures to minimise suffering. We must also be satisfied that the procedures are likely to achieve the stated objectives.

According to our records, the longest actual or estimated journey times for non-human primates imported into the United Kingdom for research purposes in the period 1999 to 2006 were as set out in the following table. We hold no information for 1997 or 1998.

In accordance with measures introduced in 1996, the Home Office only requires an estimated total journey time to be provided prior to each acquisition and that, after each acquisition, confirmation is provided that the importation was in accordance with what had been authorised. There is no obligation for licence holders to provide a detailed journey record or a precise total journey time.

China Mauritius Indonesia Philippines Vietnam Israel

1999

46.75

34.00

No Imports

NTA(1)

No Imports

(1)NTA

2000

75.00

51.00

No Imports

No Imports

No Imports

15.00

2001

65.50

56.00

No Imports

No Imports

63.00

14.50

2002

59.00

54.50

No Imports

No Imports

41.50

18.00

2003

(2)60.00

55.00

No Imports

No Imports

65.50

19.75

2004

75.00

(2)40.00

No Imports

No Imports

32.25

14.00

2005

58.00

(2)40.00

No Imports

No Imports

34.50

No Imports

2006

54.80

(2)40.00

No Imports

No Imports

(2)33.50

No Imports

(1 )No journey times available.
(2) Estimated times, actual times are likely to have been shorter.
Note:
Journey times in hours

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