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9 Oct 2007 : Column 541Wcontinued
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that the EU peacekeeping force in Chad will have a mandate to protect internally displaced people within Chad as well as refugees from Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: On 25 September the UK co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1778, which authorises the deployment of a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) force to Chad and the Central African Republic and approves a UN multi-dimensional mission to operate in co-operation with the ESDP force.
As stated in UNSCR 1778, the ESDP forces 12 month mandate is to contribute to protecting refugees and displaced persons in eastern Chad, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and contribute to protecting the UN operation. The UN operation is intended to build the capacity of the Chadian police to protect refugees from Darfur and the Central African Republic and internally displaced persons and help create a more secure environment in eastern Chad. The overall aim of the joint operation is to create the conditions necessary for voluntary, secure and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will urge the Chinese Government to release unconditionally Pastor Hua Huiqi and his mother Ms Shuang Shuying from detention. 
Meg Munn: Pastor Hua Huiqi was released in July this year after serving his six-month sentence. We raised the case of Shuang Shuying, through the EU, at the most recent round of the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, which was held in Berlin in May. We continue to monitor her case.
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work is being undertaken with the People's Republic of China to combat the conflict in Darfur. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have asked their Chinese counterparts to use their influence in Sudan in support of the UN and AfricanUnion efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict, and to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between north and south Sudan. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, reinforced this message during his visit to China on 28-29 August when he said that
we want China to be a major international player in the world; there is no alternative for the world but to have a responsible China sitting at the global table, helping to solve global issues.
We are working with Chinese officials on preparations for the peace talks for Darfur planned to start on 27 October and on early recovery efforts in Darfur.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK's relationship with those countries affected by the review of the Defence Attache Network; and what responses he has received from such countries on the review. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government continue to place a high value on their international defence relations. In announcing the results of the Defence Attaché review, my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary made clear in his written ministerial statement on 17 September 2007, Official Report, column 125WS our belief that this rebalancing of resources, which involves strengthening our representation in some countries and reducing it in others, including through non-resident accreditation, will ensure a network which is effective and relevant to our international interests. We have not received any formal responses from countries affected by this review.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what accounts directions were issued by his Department in financial year (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: No accounts directions were issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in these financial years.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which private consultancy firms (a) his Department and (b) agencies which report to his Department engaged in each of the last three years; which programmes or projects each firm worked on; and what the approximate cost to the Department or agency concerned was of each engagement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Annual expenditure on external consultants is published in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Department's annual reports, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. The two most recent annual reports also contain details of expenditure on the top five consultancy suppliers. The vast majority of work undertaken for the FCO by consultants is associated with its major Information Communication Technology and Estate construction programmes.
I also refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashfield (Mr. Hoon), the then Minister for Europe gave to the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1474W and the reply my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Margaret Beckett), the then Foreign Secretary gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 16 May 2006, Official Report, columns 893-94W.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) hon. Members and (b) peers have been appointed special envoys to other nations since 1997. 
Dr. Howells: Special representatives are appointed to show commitment and to drive progress on particular issues, or to gain access which would not otherwise be forthcoming. No central record of such appointments since 1997 is held. However, I understand that five right hon. and hon. Members and four Peers have been appointed as either special representatives or special envoys to other nations since 1997.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visa application processing centres have been outsourced; and what proportion of such applications are dealt with by such centres. 
Dr. Howells: As at the end of September 2007, there were 85 outsourced Visa Application Centres. In September 2007, 57 per cent. of global UK visa applications were received and processed in Visa Application Centres.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment has been made of the likely impact of the EU Reform Treaty on UK military operations. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The current arrangements for UK military operations will not be affected by the EU Reform Treaty. The Treaty maintains the inter-governmental nature of the European Security and Defence Policy. It will not affect the UKs ability to undertake military operations, whether national or in a multilateral framework. The UK will continue to make forces available for EU-led operations on a voluntary and case-by-case basis. The launch of any EU operation requires unanimity
among member states, therefore UK consent and any decision to deploy UK troops for an EU-led operation rests with the Government.
Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of how changes to qualified majority voting in the European reform treaty would affect the ability of the UK and the EU to promote the environment and fight climate change. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Energy policy will move to qualified majority voting (QMV) in the reform treaty, making it easier to liberalise energy markets and improve energy security. More open markets will promote energy efficiency and allow consumers greater choicewhich should reward green technologies.
This will make it easier to achieve targets agreed at the spring European Council.
Energy is an example of where the reform treaty moves to QMV can unlock decision-making in Britain's interests.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK Government will seek any modifications to the revised European Constitution. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 10 September 2007, Official Report, column 2006W.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in how many policy areas vetoes will be given up by the UK if the constitutional treaty comes into force; and what those areas are. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) on 26 July 2007, Official Report, columns 1468-69W.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reasons the office of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU, Strasbourg and UK Delegation to the Council of Europe Strasbourg do not share offices; and what the (a) cost of each office, (b) numbers of staff in each office and (c) floor space of each office was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The UK Permanent Representation to the EU does not have an office in Strasbourg. The office space used by UK officials is owned by the European Parliament and this is made available to the UK at no cost.
The UK Delegation to the Council of Europe occupies a building of 327 square metres in a residential area of Strasbourg. The office staff consists of five UK based staff and three locally recruited full-time staff plus one
part time. The rental of the office in financial year (FY) 2006-07 was £31,181. The office running costs (utilities, rates, repairs and refurbishments) were £33,199 in FY 2006-07.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Iraqi (a) child and (b) adult civilian casualties there have been since March 2003. 
Dr. Howells: The Government do not collate figures for civilian casualties in Iraq. The Government of Iraq is best placed to monitor the numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties, but we continue to believe that there are no comprehensive or reliable figures for deaths since March 2003 as estimates vary according to the method of collection.
Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK Government have made to the Iraqi government on the proposed Iraqi oil law; what advice has been given in relation to the partners with whom the Iraqi government should deal and the terms on which it should do so; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: We have encouraged the Iraqi government to consider a full range of options in formulating the hydrocarbons law and to consult widely. We have made no representations on specific structures or production contracts nor have we provided advice on whom the Iraqi government should deal with.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) coalition forces and (b) the international community are to be involved in the investigation by the Iraqi authorities into neglect and abuse of children in Iraqi orphanages and other institutions; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are aware of US military reports in June that they discovered a number of abused and neglected children at an Iraqi orphanage in Baghdad. In response to these reports, the Iraqi Prime Minister announced an Iraqi Government investigation into the conditions at the orphanage. The UK has had no direct involvement in this investigation, nor are we aware of direct coalition or wider international involvement.
The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Iraq in its efforts to strengthen respect for human rights, with a particular focus on protecting the rights of the most vulnerable groups in society. In a country emerging from over three decades of dictatorship and which currently faces continued violence, this process will take time. We are working with the Government of Iraq and international partners to develop the infrastructure essential for promoting and protecting human rights, including a legislative framework and
oversight bodies as well as the judiciary, courts, and independent civil society organisations. This will help ensure that the human rights of all Iraqis, including vulnerable groups such as women, children and minorities, are protected in the future.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps he is taking to facilitate dialogue between the Indonesian government and representatives of the West Papuan Freedom Movement; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the prison conditions of West Papua independence campaigners, with particular reference to (a) Filep Karma and (b) Yusak Pakage; 
(3) what recent assessment he has made of the situation in West Papua; 
(4) what representations he has made to the Government of Indonesia on the humanitarian situation in West Papua; 
(5) what recent discussions he has had with the British Embassy in Jakarta on the situation in West Papua; 
(6) what discussions he has had with the UN Special Representative, Hina Jilani, following her recent visit to West Papua; and what recent reports he has received from the UK Mission to the UN following the visit; 
(7) what assessment he has made of the situation for environmental activists in West Papua. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not made representations about Papua to the Government of Indonesia.
Our embassy in Jakarta regularly discusses Papua with the Indonesian authorities and pushes for greater EU engagement on human rights issues including those related to Papua. The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably in recent years and we assess that President Yudhoyono is sincere in his attempts to push through reforms, including in the security sector. The current peace process in Aceh is an indication of his willingness to be flexible in trying to address some of the long-running conflicts in Indonesia, and success here will make it easier for him to address the Papuan question effectively.
We believe that the best way to resolve the complex issues in Papua is through promoting peaceful dialogue between Papuan groups and the Indonesian government. We are in contact with Papuan activist groups in the UK and encourage dialogue between them and the Government of Indonesia.
We are not aware of any specific issues concerning environmental activists in Papua.
Officials from our embassy in Jakarta have raised the cases of Filip Karma and Yusak Pakage with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Their defence lawyer told embassy officials that prison conditions were adequate and the two men were treated reasonably.
We have urged the Government of Indonesia to uphold the rights guaranteed through the International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified by Indonesia in September 2005.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is aware of the visit to Indonesia by UN Special Representative, Hina Jilani, but has had no direct discussion with her on the issue of Papua. Ms Jilani has received no reports from the UK Mission to the UN following her visit.
The UK, with our EU partners, is working towards greater engagement with the Indonesian government in support of human rights defenders. The EU presidency is in the process of discussing the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders with the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hopes to work with them on this important issue in the near future.
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