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10 Sep 2007 : Column 2002W—continued

Young Offenders: Custodial Treatment

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many places there are for under 18-year-olds in the prison estate; and how many such places are filled. [150914]

Mr. Hanson [ pursuant to the reply, 19 July 2007, Official Report, c. 590W]: Unfortunately, two sets of figures in the table were inadvertently transposed. These were: the figures for places commissioned in secure training centres and places commissioned in secure children’s homes; and those for places occupied in those establishments.

The corrected table is as follows:

Places commissioned, available and occupied in the secure estate for children and young people, 17 July 2007
Young offender institutions Secure training centres Secure children’s homes

Places commissioned

2,979

277

235

Places declared unavailable

72

0

0

Places available

2,907

277

235

Occupancy

(1)2,791

261

228

(1 )Includes 356 over-18 year olds

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Drugs

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what technical methodologies were used in compiling the 2007 UN report on heroin production in Afghanistan. [155116]

Meg Munn: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has not yet released the full Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2007 which will contain details of the methodology used. However, we believe this year's opium survey used similar methodology to that used in the 2006 survey. This is described in detail in the 2006 Opium Survey available at:


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The UNODC calculated opium poppy cultivation by use of a sampling approach that combined interpretation of satellite imagery with field surveys on the ground. In order to estimate opium yield per hectare, the UNODC measured both the size of opium capsules and the density of cultivation.

The 2006 Opium Survey stated that the extent of heroin production is more difficult to establish, as opium in Afghanistan is primarily exported to foreign markets, where it is subsequently processed into heroin. Additionally, heroin laboratories, by their nature, are clandestine.

Cambodia: Politics and Government

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the (a) UK, (b) EU and (c) UN has pledged to aid the bringing to trial of those involved in the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; and when he expects talks on procedural issues to be resolved. [143224]

Meg Munn: [pursuant to the reply, 18 June 2 007, Official Report, c. 1473W]: I regret that an inaccurate answer was given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Trade and Industry to part of the hon. Member’s question. The answer given states that the UK has contributed £1.5 million to the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. In fact, to date, £1 million has been contributed. Further payments will be made this year.

Coalition Information Centre

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the (a) history and (b) role of the Coalition Information Centre. [155112]

Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Bill Rammell) then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) on 9 July 2003, Official Report, columns 816-817W.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will place in the Library all documents (a) sent to and (b) sent from the Coalition Information Centre between August 2002 and September 2002 on (i) the preparation and (ii) the drafting of the September 2002 Iraq dossier; [155113]

(2) if he will make a statement on the role of the Coalition Information Centre in (a) the preparation and (b) the drafting of the September 2002 Iraq dossier (i) prior to 9 September 2002 and (ii) since 9 September 2002. [155115]

Dr. Howells: The circumstances surrounding the drafting of the Government document ‘Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction—the Assessment of the British Government’, published on 24 September 2002, were set out extensively in the evidence to the inquiry by Lord Hutton published on 28 January 2004. During his inquiry, Lord Hutton had access to all documents he wished to see.


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I explained the position further in response to the hon. Member's questions on this issue during the recent debate in Westminster Hall on 13 June, Official Report, columns 293-296 WH.

Departments: Location

Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whom he has consulted on the proposed move of the FCO Legalisation Office; and what effect he anticipates such a move will have on the costs applied to users. [155048]

Meg Munn: A final decision has yet to be taken on the relocation of the Legalisation Office. Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) met with a large group of around 40 representatives from a cross-section of the Legalisation Office's customers in the FCO on 3 July. The background and reasons why the Legalisation Office needed to be moved from its current location were discussed in great detail. An option of moving the Legalisation Office to Milton Keynes was raised and attendees at the meeting were given the opportunity to comment on the proposal. As a result of the views expressed at this meeting, the record of which has been shared with those in attendance and others, and subsequent smaller meetings with other interested parties, such as the Confederation of British Industry, further consideration is being given to the available options.

Until a decision on where the Legalisation Office will be based has been taken, the costs to users cannot be determined. However, any new fees would be in accordance with HM Treasury guidelines.

Departments: Recruitment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people have been appointed to his Department outside Civil Service grades in the last 30 days. [153041]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not hold central records of staff recruited outside the civil service grades on short-term contracts for particular projects. To collate this information would incur disproportionate cost.

The FCO publishes information annually on appointments to the public bodies for which it is responsible. Data for 2006-07 were published on 9 May in the FCO departmental report.

Departments: Temporary Accommodation

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of his Department's staff posted overseas are (a) living in temporary accommodation and (b) living in tents in each country. [154903]

Meg Munn: Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff are sometimes required to live in temporary or special accommodation in exceptional circumstances. At present in Iraq and Afghanistan we have 36 staff in accommodation based on factory-converted freight containers, and 28 staff in small, hardened concrete, accommodation units. It is expected these will remain
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in use for the foreseeable future. We also have one officer currently living in a tent within a UN compound in Juba, Sudan. Our embassy in Khartoum is actively seeking secure permanent accommodation for this officer.

Ethiopia: Human Rights

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on alleged on-going human rights abuses in Ethiopia. [154825]

Meg Munn: The Government treat with concern any allegations of human rights abuses, wherever they occur.

We closely monitor the human rights situation in Ethiopia, in consultation with our international partners. The UK raises its concerns on human rights with the Ethiopian Government at regular opportunities, including at senior levels. We shall continue to do so.

Most recently, our Ambassador in Addis Ababa raised concerns about the human rights situation in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia with Ethiopian Ministers during August. My noble Friend the Minister with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, has also raised concerns about the human rights situation in Ethiopia with the Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, when he visited the UK in July, and, during August, with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK.

In the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, we understand that a UN assessment team will provide an appraisal of the current situation there after visiting the region. We look forward to this assessment.

The Government welcome the pardoning of the political opposition leaders in Ethiopia who were recently convicted of serious crimes. This move should help create the conditions for improved political dialogue in Ethiopia, including the human rights situation.

European Constitution Treaty

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on the decision by the Government not to hold a referendum on the EU Treaty; and if he will make a statement. [154829]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, on which the Government proposed a referendum is now defunct. The mandate for a Reform Treaty agreed by the European Council states clearly:

The subject of a referendum on the proposed Reform Treaty has been discussed on many occasions, including in parliamentary debates, questions and evidence sessions. The UK's only ever national referendum was on European Economic Community membership in 1975. The Reform Treaty will be an
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amending Treaty in the tradition of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice, none of which were subject to a referendum in this country.

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether declarations attached to the draft EU Constitution are legally binding on EU institutions; [154957]

(2) whether the UK will be seeking any alterations to the draft EU Constitution in the course of the inter-governmental conference; [154958]

(3) whether the Government has sought advice from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as to the justiciability of the draft EU Constitution by the ECJ; [154960]

(4) if he will list all legal advice the Government has received on the draft EU Constitution. [154961]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, on which the Government proposed a referendum is now defunct. The mandate for a Reform Treaty agreed by the European Council states clearly:

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the inter-governmental conference as soon as the House returns following the summer recess. [154959]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government are committed to keeping Parliament fully informed of the progress of the inter-governmental Conference (IGC), including during summer recess. I will give evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 12 September. In a letter to the European Scrutiny Committee on 31 July my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said that:

To date, all IGC papers have been circulated.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to hold a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty. [155016]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, on which the Government proposed a referendum is now defunct. The mandate for a Reform Treaty agreed by the European Council states clearly:

The UK's only ever national referendum was on European Economic Community membership in 1975. The Reform Treaty will be an amending Treaty in the tradition of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice, none of which were subject to a referendum in this country.


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Krishna Maharaj

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on developments relating to the clemency application of Krishna Maharaj; and what further steps his Department intends to take. [154976]

Meg Munn: Further to the letter sent by my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield then the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department of Trade and Industry of 22 May to the governor of Florida in support of Krishna Maharaj’s clemency petition, our consul in Orlando attended Mr, Maharaj's clemency waiver hearing on 9 August.

The Aides to the Florida Clemency Board granted a waiver which means his clemency case could be heard by the full clemency board, including Governor Crist, as early as December. We welcome this decision and remain in close contact with Mr. Maharaj's legal team about the full consideration of his clemency plea by the Florida Clemency Board.

We continue to offer appropriate consular assistance to Mr. Maharaj and our consul in Orlando last visited him on 24 August.

Nigeria: Capital Punishment

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations on behalf of the 18 Nigerian men in the state of Bauchi charged with sodomy and who potentially face deaths by stoning. [154823]

Meg Munn: The charges of sodomy against the 18 Nigerian men in the state of Bauchi, Nigeria, have been replaced with charges of indecent behaviour and vagrancy, for which the death penalty would not be given. Our high commission in Abuja followed the trial closely and discussed the case with the accused men's defence counsel and local non-governmental organisations, whose view was that making representations might be counter productive now that the charges had been reduced. Consequently no representations were made but we shall continue to monitor the case.

Occupied Territories

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last made representations to the Israeli government on the building of settlements on the West Bank. [154838]

Meg Munn: The UK continues to make clear that settlements are illegal under international law and settlement construction is an obstacle to peace. The Roadmap makes clear that Israel should freeze all settlement construction including the “natural growth” of existing settlements, and dismantle all outposts built since 2001. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is in regular contact with his Israeli interlocutors on a number of issues concerned with advancing the Middle East Peace Process. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, together with his EU counterparts, expressed concern at the continued settlement activity in the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council conclusions on 23 July.


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Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised our concerns about Israeli settlement activity with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 August.


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