Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations against the arrest of opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We are aware that following her recent arrest, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been formally charged with extortion by police in Dhaka, and that she remains in detention in a sub-jail. The case is now within the judicial system of Bangladesh. We trust that, consistent with Bangladeshs international human rights obligations, legal proceedings against Sheikh Hasina will respect the full range of her human rights.
Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has examined on Burmas human rights record; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We receive regular reports about human rights abuses in Burma, including the statement issued on 29 June by the International Committee of the Red Cross drawing attention to the Burmese regimes persistent violations of international humanitarian law.
We agree that the human rights situation in Burma remains grave. Serious abuses continue to be committed, particularly in areas of armed conflict. The Burmese people do not enjoy the most basic of human rights, including the right to the freedom of speech and association, democracy, good governance and the rule of law.
We continue to work with our European and international partners, as well as through the UN and International Labour Organisation, to press the regime to end the human rights violations and to engage in a genuine process of national reconciliation involving all relevant parties and groups in Burma. On 27 July my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Meg Munn), discussed the situation with UN Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari, within the context of the UN Secretary-Generals good offices mandate on Burma.
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, most recently when our ambassador in Rangoon met the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister and the Ministers of Planning and Health on 12-13 June.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by his Department on newspapers and magazines in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The total amount spent on publications for the last financial year, ending March 2007, was £1,410,027.68. This covers expenditure on newspapers, magazines and journals and also includes expenditure on press cuttings. Although it is not possible to identify the expenditure on newspapers and magazines alone without incurring disproportionate cost, the amount spent on publications has fallen significantly over the past 10 years. In the financial years 1997-2001 the average yearly spend on publications was £2,327,661.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by his Department on redundancy payments in the last 12 months. 
Dr. Howells: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not make any compulsory redundancy payments in the last 12 months. It is our policy to do all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent by his Department on taxis in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has two contracts with taxi/minicab firms to provide a 24-hour taxi service for staff in London, and to provide a taxi service between Milton Keynes and Hanslope Park, and taxi services for Hanslope Park-based staff for airport journeys.
The out of hours use of the London taxi contract is primarily for those staff called out for emergency work in the crisis centre or other on call operational activities.
All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.
The amount spent on taxis for financial year 2006-07 is as follows:
Mr. David Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made to the Ethiopian government on the imprisonment of Professor Mesfin Woldermariam. 
Dr. Howells: We have made numerous representations to the Government of Ethiopia over the imprisonment of all opposition political leaders, including Mesfin Woldermariam, including at ministerial level and with EU partners. We urged the Ethiopian government to ensure that the trial for those detained was swift, transparent and fair, and that their individual human rights were respected.
I am delighted that Mesfin Woldermariam was one of those pardoned by the President of Ethiopia and released on 20 July.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made on behalf of the Eritrean refugees residing in Israels Al Ramleh Detention Centre who are threatened with expulsion. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made no such representations. As long as Israel acts within its obligations under international refugee law, this matter is for the Israeli Government.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations on behalf of the Eritrean refugees threatened with forcible return from Khartoum. 
Dr. Howells: We have no plans to make representations to the Government of Sudan on behalf of the Eritrean refugees threatened with forcible return from Khartoum.
However, we want refugees to be afforded protection and treated equitably in their countries of refuge according to International Human Rights law. We work towards this objective through our substantial support to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received from the UN monitoring mission in Lebanon on the extent of (a) military incursions into Israel from the Lebanese side of the Lebanon/Israel border, (b) military manoeuvres by Hezbollah or other armed groups along Lebanon's border with Israel and (c) Hezbollah or other Lebanese military activity in the Shebaa Farms area in the last six months. 
Dr. Howells: The UN Secretary-General reports to the Security Council on a quarterly basis on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701. The last two reports, produced in March and June, cover the period of the last six months. The UK continues to support full implementation of UNSCR 1701.
These reports describe several incidents along the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon. On 17 June several Katuysha Rockets were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel, in violation of UNSCR 1701. Two of these rockets landed in the Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona. It is not known who was responsible for this attack.
The Secretary-Generals reports also note the activities of militant groups in south Lebanon. Most
significantly six Spanish soldiers serving with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were killed by a roadside bomb on 24 June. It is not known who was responsible for this attack. The Secretary-Generals report also confirms that there is no evidence of Hezbollah military activity in the UNIFIL area of operations.
We have received no reports from the UN of Hezbollah or Lebanese army activity in the Shebaa Farms in the last six months.
I have arranged for copies of both of the most recent Secretary-Generals reports on UNSCR 1701 to be placed in the Library of the House.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received from the UN monitoring mission in Lebanon on the extent of (a) Israeli military overflights across Lebanon's border with Israel, (b) other Israeli military manoeuvres along the Lebanon/Israel border and (c) Israeli military activity in the Shebaa Farms area in the last six months. 
Dr. Howells: The UN Secretary-General reports to the Security Council on a quarterly basis on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701. The last two reports, produced in March and June, cover the period of the last six months. The UK continues to support full implementation of UNSCR 1701 and is working with the Governments of Lebanon and Israel towards this.
In these reports the Secretary-General reported that Israel has continued regular overflights of Lebanese territory with both manned and unmanned aircraft. The number of these overflights reduced in early 2007, but has risen again recently. These flights occur on an almost daily basis with up to 32 overflights occurring on some days.
The Secretary-General also reported several breaches of the Blue Line that separates Israel and Lebanon. The most serious of these occurred in February when Israeli and Lebanese forces exchanged fire across the Blue Line during an Israeli incursion into Lebanon. Another incursion occurred on 28 May when Israeli vehicles also moved 60 metres into Lebanon. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) claim that this incursion was unintentional. Nevertheless there has been some progress on co-operation between the IDF, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon and the Lebanese army through the tripartite mechanism. This co-operation is aimed at minimising breaches of the Blue Line.
The reports do not record in detail instances of IDF activity in the Shebaa farms area. The IDF did arrest some hunters who had strayed into this area, although they were subsequently released.
I have arranged for copies of the both of the most recent Secretary-Generals reports on UNSCR 1701 to be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made with the non-proliferation proposals made
by his predecessor to the Carnegie International Conference in Washington DC on 25 June. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are committed to making farther progress on the non-proliferation proposals set out by my right hon. Friend the then Foreign Secretary (Margaret Beckett) in her speech in Washington on 25 June. Over the past two months British diplomatic missions have brought these proposals to the attention of a wide range of senior contacts and opinion-formers inside and outside government around the world and encouraged media coverage. Planning and preparatory work on a practical delivery strategy through to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 2010 Review Conference is being taken forward by officials.
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Meg Munn) spoke on these issues in the House on 24 July 2007, Official Report, columns 196-201WH.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) Russian nationals and (b) Russian born citizens given British nationality, resident in the United Kingdom, are currently subject to requests for extradition by the Russian Federation; and what responses have been given in each case. 
Meg Hillier: I have been asked to reply.
As a matter of longstanding policy and practice the UK will neither confirm nor deny the existence of any extradition request made or received by this country ahead of arrest pursuant to the extradition request.
Two Russian citizens have been arrested whose extradition has been requested by the Russian Federation and their cases are currently under consideration. Neither of the subjects of the requests has British citizenship. Because the applications are under consideration, no responses have yet been given.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implementation of the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement security protocols. 
Meg Munn: We welcome the stability brought by the East Sudan Peace Agreement (ESPA) of 14 October 2006 between the Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front. We urge both sides to speed up implementation to ensure lasting peace and security in eastern Sudan.
Although some of the deadlines in Appendix A of the ESP A have been missed, implementation is now progressing. The Government of Sudan has appointed Eastern Front representatives as Assistant to the President, Presidential Adviser and Minister of State, who should take up their positions shortly. In June 2006, eight government members of the National Parliament resigned to make way for the Eastern Front Members of Parliament. Eastern Front representatives have also been appointed to state government.
The State of Emergency in eastern Sudan has been lifted and the cease-fire holds. About 3,500 Eritrea-based Eastern Front troops have returned to eastern Sudan since June and registration to integrate 1,200-1,500 Eastern Front troops into the Sudanese armed forces and police is well under way. The UN Development Programme is working closely on this with the Government of Sudan on the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of all other Eastern Front troops.
The UK provides funding to the National Multi Donor Trust Fund for Sudan, which funds development activities in eastern Sudan, one of the poorest parts of the country.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of people employed by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies are disabled. 
Mr. Malik: Declaration of a disability is voluntary.
At the end of June 2007 there were 1,772 Home Civil Service staff employed in DFID. Of these 52 have declared a disability. This represents 2.9 per cent. of the total. Information on disability is published in DFIDs Annual Diversity Report 2006-07.
DFID is responsible for 21 appointments to two non departmental public bodies: the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and the Crown Agents Holding and Realisation Board. None of the appointees consider themselves to have a disability.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1246W, on departments: dismissal, what the reasons were for the summary dismissal of the three members of staff without allegations of misconduct or written warnings; and what procedures were followed in those dismissals. 
Mr. Thomas: All three dismissals were on the grounds of poor performance, following the DFID performance appraisal process at that time and in line with the terms of their contracts. In all cases, DFID sought legal advice before the decision to dismiss.
Since 1 October 2004, all our employees are governed by the statutory dismissal, discipline and grievance procedures introduced under the Employment Act (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004.
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