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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Ministers statement on Iraq of 8 October 2007, which countries are included in his definition of local region. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his estimate is of the cost of a single financial payment to aid resettlement for an Iraqi in (a) Iraq and (b) elsewhere in the region. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretarys written ministerial statement of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 27-28WS, which promised a further announcement on this issue before the end of the month. The size of the payments is likely to be linked to salary and would therefore vary according to the individuals job, and his/her employing Department.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the Russian governments intention to veto any UN Security Council resolution that would give Kosovo supervised independence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Russia has made clear its opposition to the comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo status settlement submitted to the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo on 26 March 2007. This position has so far prevented passage of a Security Council Resolution that would allow for implementation of that proposal.
Within the Contact Group, we continue to work closely with Russia on the issue of Kosovo's future status. Negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina are ongoing, facilitated by a Troika of EU/Russian/US officials. At their last meeting in New York on 27 September, Contact Group Ministers agreed that an early resolution of Kosovos status is crucial to the stability and security of the Western Balkans. They expressed full support for the Troika process.
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Israeli Government on the continuing imprisonment of Mordechai Vanunu in that country. 
Dr. Howells: Mordechai Vanunu was re-convicted on 30 April 2007 of breaching an order barring him from contacts with the foreign press. Officials from our embassy in Tel Aviv raised our concerns about Mr. Vanunu's re-conviction on 3 July. We will continue to follow developments on this case.
Dr. Howells: On 12 September, as the Minister responsible for entry clearance I requested UKvisas to review the refusal of the visa applications submitted by the Palestine National Youth Football Team. I have considered the outcome of this review and am satisfied that the decision was correct and entirely in accordance with the Immigration Rules.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the Governments policy on the provision of support and information to the US Administration in relation to the investigation of terrorism and the questioning of suspects. 
The Government work closely with the US Government on issues relating to the investigation
of terrorism. Many of the terrorist threats to the UK have international connections, which can only be dealt with effectively in co-operation with the intelligence and security agencies of other states. When working with the US Administration, or any other foreign government, we ensure that we act in accordance with our human rights obligations.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have taken place between his Department and the Russian Government on human rights in Russia; what progress was made during these discussions; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: We have a mature and frank relationship with Russia on a wide range of human rights and democracy issues. We don't shy away from making our concerns known and Russia in turn have issues they raise with us.
We most recently raised our concerns through the EU/Russia Human Rights Consultations on 3 October. The EU raised a number of specific concerns about the human rights situation in Russia, particularly regarding freedom of expression and assembly, specifically in regard to the run-up to the parliamentary and presidential elections. Other concerns raised related to freedom of the press, the position of Russian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society following the entry into force of the law on NGO activities and the counter-extremism law, as well as respect for the rule of law and the situation in the Northern Caucasus. The two sides also discussed the issues of minorities, combating torture and maltreatment as well as the issue of women rights, including trafficking.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on human rights violations in Russia; what assessment he has made of those reports; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office closely monitors the human rights situation in Russia and remains concerned about the ongoing reports of human rights violations, which we receive from our embassy in Moscow, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Russia media sources.
Our main concern is that these reports indicate a further shrinking of the democratic space in Russia, primarily through the recent NGO and anti-extremist laws and the restrictions imposed on opposition parties. There are concerns that this shrinking could worsen in the lead up to the parliamentary elections in December and the 2008 presidential elections. Other human rights concerns include: the restrictions on media freedom and increased risk to journalists safety; the rise in attacks on ethnic, racial and religious minorities; the increasing use of forced psychiatric treatment and detention; and the ongoing reports of extra-judicial killings, torture, abduction and arbitrary detention in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have taken place between his Department and the Russian government on the position of non-governmental organisations in Russia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: We have a mature and frank relationship with Russia on a wide range of human rights and democracy issues, both through specific bilateral and EU human rights consultations. We make our concerns known and they in turn have issues they raise with us.
We have consistently voiced our concerns about restrictions upon the legitimate work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Russia. We most recently raised our concerns through the EU/Russia Human Rights Consultations on 3 October.
Some NGOs have expressed concern that the requirements imposed by the new NGO law, including registration, have limited their activities. Some individual NGOs have also found their operating environment further constrained by legislation and harassment. Many of these organisations had received funding from international institutions or from foreign governments.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to support the position of non-governmental organisations in Russia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Along with EU partners, we are actively monitoring implementation of the non-governmental organisations (NGO) law. We repeatedly call on the Russian authorities to implement the NGO law in line with their international commitments. Our concerns over the NGO law were raised during the EU/Russia Human Rights Consultations on 3 October.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) funds NGOs working in Russia as part of its global programme of project work to develop civil society. This includes funding of NGOs working on sustainable development, human rights and economic governance issues. Many of these projects are run in full co-operation with the Russian authorities. For example, the Russian Federal Prison Service has co-operated extensively on a number of projects and has on more than one occasion expressed its gratitude for the active support of the UK on Russian prison reform.
In October 2006, the FCO held a seminar on the NGO law. It gave UK NGOs the opportunity to put questions to a senior official of the Federation Registration Service, which is responsible for registering foreign NGOs under the amended law.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sudan to bring to
justice the perpetrators of the attack on African Union troops at Haskanita, South Darfur. 
Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 30 September utterly condemning the recent murder of African Union Peacekeepers in Haskanita, Darfur in an attack which he went on to describe as a callous and destructive act. He also called on all sides in the conflict to commit to an immediate cessation of hostilities and to join the political process as the only route to lasting peace in Darfur. We have made clear to all sides in the conflict there can be no impunity for crimes committed in Darfur. This attack appears to have been initiated by rebel groups, which poses particular challenges in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) advice and (b) guidance his Department has issued to UK citizens with past drugs offences who wish to travel to the US; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice advises that all UK citizens with criminal convictions should consult the US embassy regarding the need to obtain a visa prior to travel, as they may not qualify for travel under the US Visa Waiver Programme.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether it is his policy that local authorities may be providers and sponsors of academies; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: Local authorities can be co-sponsors of academies. Under a co-sponsorship arrangement the lead sponsor retains majority control over the academy trust, and can appoint two local authority appointed governors to the governing body. Where the local authority is not a co-sponsor, the governing body would have only one local authority appointed governor.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many academies have begun sharing their facilities with (a) other schools and (b) the local community following the changes to VAT announced in the 2007 Budget. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 8 October 2007]: The Department does not hold this information centrally. However, the Departments expectation is for all academies to collaborate with other schools and to be extended schools, providing access to their facilities to local communities.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many academies have charitable investment funds established by their sponsors following changes to the programme announced in March 2006; and what information his Department collects on the use to which such funds are put. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 8 October 2007]: Sponsorship for the first Academies was provided in the form of a contribution to the capital costs of new buildings. In July 2006, the endowment model of sponsorship was introduced whereby Academy Trusts set up an endowment fund, the proceeds of which are to be used to combat the impact of deprivation on education in the local community. As at 4 October 2007, 13 Academies have had charitable investment funds established by their sponsors.
To date, the Department has not collected information from these Academies on their endowment funds. However, the model Deed of Gift requires the Academy Trust to supply the Secretary of State and the Academy Sponsor with an annual statement showing how the fund has been used. The Department will collect information from Academy Trusts on the amounts received from this form of sponsorship on a six monthly basis, in the same way as it does for traditional sponsorship, and the published Annual Accounts for each Academy will record how much has been received and how much has been spent, identifying the Endowment Fund separately from other funds.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families when he expects (a) Leyton and Leytonstone schools and (b) Wanstead and Snaresbrook schools to be included in the Building Schools for the Future programme; and if he will make a statement. 
The London borough of Waltham Forest has been prioritised as wave one and five of the Building Schools for the Future programme. Waltham Forest reached financial close on their BSF wave one project on 31 August 2007. Construction has commenced and the first schools are due to be open by
September 2008. Wave five includes Leyton, Leytonstone and Chingford, and will be eligible for funding from 2009-10.
Conversations and preparatory work are currently ongoing between the local authority and DCSF officials, regarding Waltham Forest's strategy for secondary education, and the requirement that strategy places upon the physical school estate. Formal engagement will commence on wave five once the LA has demonstrated their readiness to deliver.
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