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Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with his North Korean counterpart on prisoners being held in prison camps for their (a) political and (b) religious beliefs. 
Meg Munn: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and officials raise human rights issuesincluding arbitrary detention of prisoners for political and/or religious reasonswith members of the North Korean government at every reasonable opportunity. We do so through our embassy in Pyongyang and through contact with the North Korean embassy in London, as well as through the EU and UN.
We and EU partners have also been instrumental in creatingand retainingthe position of UN Special Rapporteur on Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) human rights, and have sponsored a number of UN resolutions calling on the North Korean government to honour its UN commitments on human rights. The UN has also lobbied the government on specific individuals' cases.
The Government will continue to press the North Korean authorities on human rights abuses at every opportunity, urging them in particular to cooperate with UN mechanisms and to allow international monitors access to the country to verify or disprove reports of human rights abuses. It is deeply frustrating that the DPRK government has not responded to these requests.
Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many official visits by members of the British High Commission in Cyprus to northern Cyprus were made in each of the last three years; and what reports were received by the Department in London following each such visit. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
It would incur disproportionate cost to collate the information requested by my hon. Friend on the number of official visits from staff at our High Commission in Nicosia to northern Cyprus. However, the High Commissions operation in Cyprus
covers the whole territory of the Republic of Cyprus, providing services and engaging with Cypriots on both sides of the Green Line on a daily basis. Reports of their discussions are reported to the Department as necessary.
Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when a senior official from the British high commission in Cyprus last visited the Greek Cypriot churches and cemeteries in the villages of Patriki and Ayios Theodoros in the Karpas Peninsula; what reports were made and to whom after the last such visit; if he will make it his policy for such a visit to be conducted on a regular basis and reports published; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Our high commissioner in Nicosia last visited the Greek Cypriot community in the Karpas region on 22 June and reported to the Department. This included visiting the church in Ayios Theodoros and was part of a regular pattern of visits which supplement the UN's humanitarian and monitoring activity. Since the opening of the Green Line in April 2003, Greek Cypriots resident in the south have also been able to travel to the area.
Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what responsibilities the British Government have as one of the guarantor powers for Cyprus to seek to ensure the preservation of churches and cemeteries that belong to the Greek Cypriot community in northern Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Treaty of Guarantee only relates to the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic of Cyprus. However, we do call on the Turkish Cypriots to show sensitivity to Greek Cypriot churches and cemeteries in the north of Cyprus. Our high commissioner in Nicosia visited the Karpas region on 22 June and raised such issues with his Turkish Cypriot interlocutors.
Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Governments policy is on the advice given to British citizens seeking to purchase a property in northern Cyprus; what steps the Government have taken to promulgate that advice; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Through Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice, the Government offers comprehensive guidance on the risks involved in purchasing property in northern Cyprus. This advice is regularly updated to reflect developments. We also provide advice over the phone to members of the public calling both the FCO and our High Commission in Nicosia.
We believe that the difficult and complex issue of property is only likely to be fully resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement and we urge both sides
to engage constructively with the United Nations to enable settlement negotiations to start as soon as possible. In our contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leadership, we recognise the Turkish Cypriots need for economic development in support of reunification. But we urge them to ensure that any property development which does take place does so in a manner that is both environmentally sustainable and does not complicate an eventual solution.
Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of properties (a) built and (b) under construction by property developers in northern Cyprus in each of the last five years which are available for purchase. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government have not estimated the number of properties which have been built or which are under construction in northern Cyprus. However, significant property development in northern Cyprus has taken place over the last five years resulting in large numbers of new properties being built. We believe that the difficult and complex issue of property is only likely to be fully resolved in the context of a comprehensive settlement and we urge both sides to engage constructively with the United Nations to enable settlement negotiations to start as soon as possible. In our contacts with the Turkish Cypriot leadership, we recognise the Turkish Cypriots need for economic development in support of reunification. But we urge them to ensure that any property development which does take place does so in a manner that is both environmentally sustainable and does not complicate an eventual solution.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effectiveness of the Mecca agreement as a basis for peace between Israel and the Palestinians following the break down of the Palestinian Unity Government. 
cessation of intra-Palestinian violence;
formation of a National Unity government;
reformation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation; and
the need for political co-operation within the laws of the Palestinian National Authority.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he is holding with the Pakistan Government to co-ordinate border control between Pakistan and Afghanistan to stop Taliban activists entering Afghanistan. 
Dr. Howells: Afghanistan-Pakistan border security issues feature prominently in our dialogue with the Government of Pakistan at both ministerial and official levels. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last raised the subject with Pakistan Foreign Minister Kasuri in Islamabad on 26 July.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the reasons for Russia's suspension of its obligations under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 8 October 2007]: With North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Allies, we have noted Russia's statement of its intention to suspend its obligations under the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE treaty) from 12 December. We would regret any threat to the CFE regime from such unilateral action. We believe the concerns expressed by Russia would be addressed by entry into force of the adapted CFE treaty. We are pursuing constructive proposals for parallel action by Allies and Russia to overcome the outstanding issues related to ratification of that adapted treaty.
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no current plans to meet the President or Prime Minster of Sri Lanka. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister may have an opportunity to meet President Rajapakse or Prime Minister Wickramanayake at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, Uganda in November.
Dr. Howells: We raise human rights issues regularly in our contact with the Government of Sri Lanka. Most recently, my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, expressed our concern on 27 September during a bilateral meeting with the Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama, in the margins of the UN General Assembly.
The situation in Sri Lanka was also highlighted by the UK and the EU at the 6(th) Human Rights Council in September. We look forward to the report of the visit to Sri Lanka by Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which is due to take place later this month.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers and refugees at risk of being forcibly returned to their country of origin from Sudan following their detention in Khartoum in July. 
Meg Munn: Amnesty International (AI) reported on 20 July the arrest and risk of forcible return of Ethiopian and Eritrean asylum seekers in Sudan. According to AI, many of those detained could be asylum seekers or recognised refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been seeking access to, and intervene on the behalf of, refugees who have been detained by the Sudanese authorities. Some of these refugees were handed over to the Commissioner for Refugees in August, but 25 Ethiopians and Eritreans were reportedly sentenced to deportation and removed before UNHCR had a chance to appeal.
Meg Munn: According to reports from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugees arriving in Sudan undergo a refugee status determination process at one of the recognised refugee camps near Kassala in the border area with Eritrea. Refugees should remain in the camps and are not normally granted the right to travel from a designated area.
Sudanese law enforcement bodies carry out periodic round-ups of migrant workers whom they deport, although some of them have recognised refugee status. UNHCR has a legal team to attend cases where recognised refugees have been arrested.
Some of these refugees were handed over to the Commissioner for Refugees in August, but 25 Ethiopians and Eritreans were reportedly sentenced to deportation and removed before UNHCR had a chance to appeal.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Sudan about (a) the treatment of refugees and (b) abiding by UNHCR protocols and commitments. 
However, officials from our embassy in Khartoum have raised the status of refugees in Sudan with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to whom we give strong support. As a result of UNHCR's lobbying, the government of Sudan has set up a committee to revise domestic legislation on asylum. We continue to monitor the progress of asylum law reform through UNHCR.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received that the government of Sudan has in the past month begun to move to return Eritrean refugees. 
Meg Munn: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sudan reported in August that Ethiopians and Eritreans were arrested and detained in Khartoum and various towns in eastern Sudan and threatened with expulsion.
As a result of legal assistance from UNHCR, several individuals were handed over to UNHCR to determine their refugee status. But 25 Eritreans and Ethiopians were sentenced to deportation, which was carried out before UNHCR could intervene.
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made resolution of the Darfur conflict a priority for the Government. In his joint initiative with French President Sarkozy, he offered further development assistance dependent on progress on security, cessation of hostilities, political process and humanitarian access.
The UK co-sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 1769, which mandates the African Union (AU)/UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) for Darfur. UNAMID costs will be met through UN assessed contributions. The UK has committed £73 million to support the AU Mission (AMIS) in Darfur since it deployed in July 2004.
To support the political process, the UK has committed £2 million of funding since July 2006 to the AMIS Information Advisory Team which will support communication activities for the peace talks. We will also provide financial and technical support to the AU-UN Joint Mediation Support Team who are leading the peace process.
The UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID), is working with UN, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other partners to resource community-level peace and confidence-building activities to complement the political process. The UK has committed £2.18 million to a UN programme to address livelihoods and environmental challengeskey drivers of the conflict.
Finally, DFID's programme makes the UK the second largest bilateral donor to Sudan, spending some £145 million in humanitarian funding in Darfur since the start of the crisis in 2003. We also have a bilateral
programme with NGOs (£12 million per annum) to provide water, sanitation and health care to some of the four million people in need.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the African Union and UN have taken to ensure that rebel groups in Darfur receive training to develop the skills required to take part in peace process negotiations. 
The UK and international partners are supporting the JMSTs preparations for negotiations. The UK has given the JMST papers on lessons learned from previous peace talks, including the Comprehensive Peace Agreement security negotiations, and has recommended mediation experts.
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