|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment she has made of the likelihood of (a) free and fair elections in Uganda in 2011 and (b) implementation of the recommendations of the European Union and Commonwealth Election Observers in that country; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions she has had with Commonwealth representatives on the implementation of their election observer recommendations for the Ugandan authorities; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Uganda on all aspects of developing multi-party democracy and engaging with the opposition, building towards the next elections in 2011. We will press for the elections to be free and fair, and build on the recommendations made by the international observer groups following the 2006 elections.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on proposals to abolish the UN Human Rights Council envoy posts charged with reporting on (a) Belarus, (b) Cuba, (c) North Korea, (d) Burma, (e) Somalia, (f) Sudan and (g) Uzbekistan. 
When the UN Human Rights Council was established in March 2006, it was tasked with reviewing its tools and mechanisms, including its
so-called Special Procedures (for example Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts dedicated to specific country situations). On 18 June, the Council agreed a package of measures at the conclusion of this review. Throughout the review the UK consistently took a strong position, nationally and with the rest of the EU, in favour of maintaining all the existing country-specific and thematic Special Procedures. There was a great deal of opposition at the Council to the continuation of country-specific Special Procedures. I was profoundly disappointed that, because of this opposition, the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the human rights situations in Cuba and Belarus were not renewed. The situations in both those countries continue to be of deep concern and we will continue to monitor the situation in each closely. I was, however, pleased that the mandates of all the other country-specific Special Procedures (including the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Burma and Sudan, and the Independent Expert appointed by the UN Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Somalia) were renewed.
The Council inherited an Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, created through the confidential complaints procedure under the old UN Commission on Human Rights. At its fourth session (12-30 March) the UN Human Rights Council discontinued consideration of the specific file relating to Uzbekistan under its confidential complaints procedure. The confidential nature of that procedure prevents us from commenting on any details of the cases and on the position taken by the UK. We do, however, emphasise strongly our deep concern over persistent violations of human rights in Uzbekistan.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Members of the Government expect to make an official visit to (a) Florida and (b) the USA before the end of August. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, Kim Howells, are both visiting Washington between 24 and 25 June. There are no other confirmed visits to the United States scheduled before the end of August by Members of the Government.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many administrative errors involving the erroneous issuing of visas by UKvisas were detected in each of the last five years. 
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her (a) Moroccan counterparts and (b) counterparts at the United Nations on the disputed area of Western Sahara; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not discussed the Western Sahara with her Moroccan or UN counterparts, but my hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East (Dr. Howells), has discussed the issue with Moroccan ministers twice this year, in February and April, and UK officials in New York are in regular contact with the UN and representatives of the parties to the dispute.
The UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined, pending UN efforts to find a solution. To this end, the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara, Peter Van Walsum, to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self determination of the people of Western Sahara.
On 30 April the UN Security Council, chaired by the UK, adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1754, which took note of Moroccos proposal presented to the UN Secretary-General on 11 April, and called for both sides to enter into negotiations without preconditions.
The UK welcomes the first round of these talks between Morocco, the Polisario, and their neighbours, hosted by the UN on 18-19 June and the agreement by all parties to take part in a further round in August.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her (a) Japanese and (b) Icelandic counterparts on reducing and stopping the hunting of whales in international waters. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with her Japanese or Icelandic counterparts on whaling. However, our Ambassadors raise the subject frequently with their host governments. Most recently our Ambassador in Tokyo discussed the issue with the Japanese Foreign Ministry in December 2006 and our Ambassador in Reykjavik raised the issue with the Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs on 6 June, the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture on 12 June and with the Icelandic Minister of the Environment on 13 June.
Mr. McCartney: We maintain a wide-ranging dialogue with the Government of Yemen including on issues relating to counter terrorism (CT). We are supporting the Yemeni government in developing its CT capability, for example the provision of training for the nascent national coastguard. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East, (Dr. Howells), has made two visits to Yemen, in January 2006 and 2007; on both occasions, he expressed the hope that our bilateral CT exchanges would continue to develop.
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Pakistani Government on the death sentence for blasphemy imposed on Younis Masih. 
Dr. Howells: We have not recently made any representations to the Pakistani authorities concerning Younis Masih. However, we are aware of this case and continue to follow developments closely. We regularly raise our concerns about the treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan, both bilaterally and with our EU partners. We oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further steps she plans to take on the case of joint UK/Chinese citizen Mr. Yu Lam Chan, imprisoned in China. 
Mr. McCartney: The Chinese authorities continue to deny UK officials consular access to Mr. Yu Lam Chan as they consider him to be a Chinese national in China. The Director for Consular Services in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised this case with his Chinese counterpart on 5 June and we will continue to raise our concerns over Mr. Yu Lam Chans health and welfare with the Chinese authorities at every appropriate opportunity.
Mr. McCartney: Consular officials do not have first hand knowledge of Mr. Yu Lam Chans medical conditions, as they are not permitted access to him. However, officials do maintain contact with family members and we have made clear our concerns to the Chinese authorities regarding Mr. Yu Lam Chans health and welfare. The Chinese authorities assure us that he is receiving appropriate treatment for his illnesses.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contact she has had with the UN High Commission for Refugees on the case of Mr. Yu Lam Chan, a British citizen imprisoned in China. 
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on meetings held in South Africa between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change. 
Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed the progress of the Southern African Development Community initiative with President Mbeki during his recent visit to South Africa. We have welcomed Mbeki's commitment to encourage internal dialogue between the parties in Zimbabwe. It is important that the dialogue addresses ongoing problems of governance, the need for a wider democratic space and respect for human rights, as well as preparing the ground for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in March 2008. We will continue to keep in close touch with the South Africans and others in the region as the talks between ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change continue.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations she has made to the Government of Uganda on President Museveni's (a) support for President Mugabe's land policies and (b) statement that Britain was responsible for the economic and social problems in Zimbabwe; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: We have not made specific representations to the Government of Uganda on these issues. However our high commissioner in Kampala lobbied the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March to seek support for an EU Statement at the UN Human Rights Council condemning recent human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Following this and other exchanges, the Government of Uganda will be aware of our wider policy on Zimbabwe.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her Department's practice is on consulting other Government Departments before deciding on the
closure of (a) accident and emergency departments and (b) maternity units; and which other Departments are consulted in each case. 
Andy Burnham: Any proposals for major changes are a matter for the national health service locally in conjunction with local stakeholders. Changes to local health services are subject to full public consultation.
Andy Burnham: The Department does not collect accident and emergency (A&E) waiting time data at individual hospital level. Information is available at trust level. The following table provides the percentage of patients spending under four hours between arrival in A&E and admission, transfer or discharge for the latest period for which data have been published.
|Percentage of patients spending under four hours between arrival in A&E and admission, transfer or discharge, quarter 4 (January to March) 2007|
|Organisation||Percentage of patients|
| Source: Department of Health dataset QMAE.|
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the expenditure by the NHS on temporary nursing in each of the last seven years; and what proportion of expenditure on nurses this represents. 
|Nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff costs|
|NHS paybill||Non-NHS paybill( 1)||Proportion of total (percentage)|
|(1 )Agency. Note: Financial returns data do not include spend by foundation trusts. Source: Trust financial returns (TFR), primary care trust financial returns (PFR) and strategic health authority/health authority financial returns (HFR).|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|