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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is giving to the Hurndall family in their representations
to the Israeli Government of the case of the killing of Tom Hurndall and the subsequent conviction of an Israeli soldier. 
Dr. Howells: I understand that the Hurndall family is pursuing a private compensation claim through the Israeli courts. It would not be appropriate for the Government to intervene in a case currently before the courts, but officials continue to encourage the Israeli government to reach a settlement with the family.
I wrote to the Hurndall family on 4 July 2007, to reaffirm our continued interest in a resolution to this case. Officials stand ready to provide any further advice and consular assistance on this matter.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions he has had in response to the finding in November of the Coroner of New South Wales that British citizens Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie and other newsmen were killed deliberately in Timor-Leste in 1975; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Neither my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary nor I have had any discussions nor received any correspondence on the recent verdict of the New South Wales Coroner's Court inquest into the death of Brian Peters. Nor have we had any discussions or received any correspondence regarding Malcolm Rennie or the other journalists killed in 1975.
We have noted the verdict of the inquest which is the outcome of a judicial process run by the New South Wales Coroner's Court. The New South Wales Deputy Coroner has said that she will now refer the matter to the Australian Attorney-General. It will be for the Australian Attorney-General to decide how to take this forward. We will continue to follow this case closely.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations his Department has made to the Turkmenistan authorities on freeing people imprisoned for acts of peaceful political dissent; 
Mr. Jim Murphy: My hon. Friend the Minister for Energy (Malcolm Wicks) raised human rights concerns during his visit to Turkmenistan in September. Our embassy in Ashgabat will continue to lobby the Turkmen Government with our EU partners in support of individual cases. Mufti Ibadullah and Geldy Kyarisov were among a number of prisoners of concern who were released this year, after UK and EU lobbying. Maral Yklimova too was allowed to leave the country.
An ad hoc meeting on human rights took place in the margins of the EU's Joint Committee meeting with the Turkmen Government in Ashgabat in September 2007. Issues raised included the importance of allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross access to prisoners, further relaxing restrictions on foreign travel and individual prisoners of concern. Human rights were also raised during President Berdimuhamedov's visit to Brussels in November when he met Mr. Barroso, Mr. Solana and the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Energy Commissioners.
We welcome the action the Turkmen Government has taken so far to begin to relax travel restrictions and to encourage Turkmens to travel and study abroad, but there remains a long way to go. We hope that the recent willingness by the Turkmen Government to engage with the EU, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the UN and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe under President Berdimuhamedov will lead to positive, substantive progress on human rights and democratic reform. We will continue to work with international partners to build on the work the Turkmen Government has begun on fulfilling its human rights obligations through civil society development, good governance and the rule of law.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2007, Official Report, column 705W, on Venezuela, what specific assessment he has
made of (a) the personnel involved and (b) the funding streams of the Venezuelan chapter, Transparencia Venezuela, of Transparency International. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to change international law to prevent whaling being undertaken under the guise of scientific research. 
Meg Munn: The UK takes every appropriate opportunity to condemn all lethal whaling operations carried out under the guise of scientific research. Japan carries out this research legally under the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW), the parent treaty of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The UK believes the IWC is the internationally recognised body for the management and conservation of whale stocks and any amendment to the ICRW would need to be ratified by all parties. The UK sees no advantage in pressing for the termination or renegotiation of the 1948 International Whaling Convention, as this is the legal instrument by which a general moratorium on commercial whaling has been upheld since 1986. In addition, Japan is unlikely to sign up to a new convention that restricts her current scientific whaling.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has implemented to improve the availability of electricity to local nationals in Southern Afghanistan; and how much money was spent on such projects in each year since 2005. 
In 2006-07, as a QIPs project, we allocated £15,000 to fix three electricity generators in Sangin District in Helmand Province. This provided immediate access to electricity for approximately 500 homes in the district.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 153W, on Afghanistan: reconstruction, if he will place in the Library copies of the last three studies by the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit on the effect of humanitarian and development programmes in Afghanistan. 
1. Cops or Robbers? The Struggle to Reform the Afghan National Police, by Andrew Wilder
2. A Matter of Interests: Gender and the Politics of Presence in Afghanistans Wolesi Jirga, by Anna Wordsworth
3. Finding the Money: Informal Credit practices in Rural Afghanistan, by Floortje Klijn and Adam pain
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 153W, on Afghanistan: reconstruction, if he will (a) place in the Library a copy of his Department's funded study by the Peace Dividend Trust and (b) state how many Peace Dividend Trust studies relating to Afghanistan his Department has funded. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what projects his Department has implemented to improve ground transport for local nationals in Southern Afghanistan; and how much was spent on such projects in each year since 2005. 
Under QIPs, we have spent £2.8 million on improving ground transport in Helmand Province. This includes projects such as bridge repairs, support to Afghanistan traffic police, provision of road building machinery and a bus station.
In addition, in 2007 under the DFID-supported Helmand Agricultural and Rural Development Programme (HARDP), £696,310 has been spent on the provision of 59 km of road in Lashkar Gar District, Helmand Province.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development from which budget the recently announced £7 million to aid relief efforts in Bangladesh following Cyclone Sidr will be taken; and whether this money is additional funding that has not previously been announced. 
Mr. Malik: The £7 million for cyclone relief has not previously been announced. Of this total, £4.5 million has been allocated from underspends this financial year in the Bangladesh country programmecaused mainly by the complex political situation in Bangladeshand £2.5 million from DFIDs central humanitarian and emergency aid budget. The reallocated underspend reflects normal in-year adjustments against forecast spending; these funds have not been diverted from existing projects or programmes.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the relief effort in Bangladesh following Cyclone Sidr. 
Mr. Thomas: The emergency response has been rapid, especially that of the Government of Bangladesh, who have taken a strong co-ordination lead. Relief efforts have reached nearly all affected areas, but there is room for better co-ordination in reaching the ultra-poor and most needy. The water availability crisis has passed, owing to the high attention given to this by the Government, supported by others, including the military and some donors. However, a large number of people remain in makeshift camps that are still in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene support. The UK is looking to support meeting these short to medium-term needs by allocating £2.5 million, from our £7 million pledge for cyclone relief, to CARE, OXFAM GB, and Save the Children UK. This will focus on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in the most affected areas.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) financial and (b) other aid has been pledged by the UK to the Bangladesh relief effort; and what progress is being made on the delivery of this aid. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK has pledged £7 million for Cyclone Sidr relief in Bangladesh. The first tranche of £2.5 million went through the United Nations Development Programme and has been providing immediate assistance in the form of food, clean and safe water, medical treatment and housing repairs since the relief operations started. The second tranche of £2.5 million has been programmed through Save the Children UK, Oxfam GB and CARE to focus on water, sanitation and hygiene promotion needs. These NGOs are already operational in the cyclone affected areas. Out of the remaining £2 million, the UK Government have provided non-food items, such as blankets and jerry cans, to 70,000 families in the worst affected districts and 12 boats to help with the relief operationof which four have been provided to Save the Children, four to the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and four to the Government of Bangladesh for the emergency disaster response. The remaining funds are being programmed for the restoration of livelihoods and disaster management co-ordination.
Mr. Malik: As of 1 December 2007, the Government of Bangladesh have reported 3,275 dead, 39,773 injured and 871 missing. They also estimate that the cyclone has affected approximately 30 of Bangladeshs 64 districts, primarily in Barisal and Khulna Divisions, with more than 8.5 million people affected.
The UK Government has provided £7 million for Cyclone Sidr relief in Bangladesh. The first tranche of £2.5 million went through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide immediate assistance in the form of food, clean and safe water, medical treatment, and housing repairs. The second tranche of £2.5 million will be programmed through Save the Children UK, Oxfam GB, and CARE, to focus on short to medium-term needs such as water, sanitation and hygiene promotion. The remaining £2 million will be for improving access, provision of non-food items such as blankets, disaster management co-ordination and the restoration of livelihoods.
Mr. Thomas: DFID's expenditure on flights booked centrally for the 12-month period April 2006 to March 2007 was £6,876,805, including business class flights costing £5,726,318 and first class flights costing £41,922.
Staff rules preclude use of first class travel, except by Ministers, officials accompanying them, and the most senior members of the senior civil service. Rules relating to the use of air travel and fare entitlements are set out in the Staff Handbook.
Data distinguished between classes of travel are not routinely maintained and could not be produced without the incurring of disproportionate cost. Staff may travel first class when they are travelling overnight or expected to work during the journey.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: Details of the cost of overseas travel, including the cost of travel and accommodation are contained in the Overseas Travel by Cabinet Ministers list. The latest list for the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007 was published on 25 July 2007. Details for the 2007-08 financial year will be published as soon as possible after the end of the financial year. All travel is made in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how he plans to ensure that projects funded by the Environmental Transformation FundInternational Window meet sustainability standards. 
Mr. Thomas: The £800 million Environmental Transformation Fund International Window (ETF-IW) will support development and poverty reduction through better environmental protection and help poor countries respond to climate change. We want to make the ETF-IW part of a wider multilateral effort and we are working with the World Bank, recipient countries, implementing agencies and key stakeholders on the design of a new multi-donor trust fund.
During this design process, criteria will be agreed to ensure that all the investments made from the fund are sustainable, support poverty reduction and maximise
environmental transformation. All investments made from the multi-donor fund will also need to meet the Equator Principles as well as the safeguard standards of the World Bank and the respective implementing agencies.
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