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19 Feb 2008 : Column 475W—continued

Democratic Republic of Congo: Prisoners

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo on the treatment of detainees and prisoners in government-controlled areas of that country. [186491]

Meg Munn: We have called on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) authorities to respect international humanitarian law and human rights conventions. The UK remains in close contact on human rights issues with the UN mission in the DRC and with EU partners, through the local EU human rights forum. The UK supported the EU presidency’s call in August 2007 for the DRC to meet its human rights obligations. We will continue to urge the DRC to uphold international human rights standards, including the treatment of people in custody.

The UK makes a significant contribution to the EU’s programme on security sector reform in the DRC. One of the aims of this project is to promote accountability and awareness of human rights among members of the DRC’s armed forces and its security and justice sectors.

Departmental Ministerial Policy Advisors

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the special advisers employed in his Department since 6 May 1997; and what the (a) start and (b) end date of employment was in each case. [184367]

Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Sarah Teather) on 14 January, Official Report, column 852W.

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Departmental Public Relations

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many external contracts his Department held with public relations companies in each of the last 10 years; and what the total cost of those contracts was. [183168]

Meg Munn: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) contracts and the resultant expenditure specifically for public relations, are not categorised separately from that for external consultancy as a whole. The information the hon. Member requests could, therefore, be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, annual expenditure on external consultants or consultancies as a whole, is published in the FCO’s annual departmental reports, copies of which are available on the FCO website at:

Departmental Publications

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what public information booklets were published by his Department in 2007; and what the (a) print run and (b) cost to the Department was in each case. [185791]

Meg Munn: During calendar year 2007, the following public information booklets were published by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) centrally.

The following table shows the numbers of copies and the overall cost of the publication.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Directorate/Department Name of Publication Print Run Costs (£)

Communication Directorate

‘FCO Departmental Report 2006’



Communication Directorate

‘Your World’



Communication Directorate

‘Stern Report Executive Summary’








Chinese (Traditional)—800




Brazilian Portuguese—750

Communication Directorate

‘Muslims in Britain’



Consular Directorate

‘Victims of Crime’



Consular Directorate

‘International Child Abduction’



Consular Directorate

‘Transfers Home’



Consular Directorate

’Checklist for Travellers’

4 million


Consular Directorate

‘Support for British Nationals (summary)’



Consular Directorate

‘Child Abduction’



Consular Directorate

‘Passport to Extreme Fun’



Consular Directorate

‘Rape and Sexual Assault’



European Union Directorate

‘Guide to the EU’—Welsh



Human Rights Department

‘Annual Report on Human Rights 2006’



The FCOs overseas posts and its non-departmental public bodies also occasionally commission public information booklets, but details are not recorded centrally.

Information about the costs could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Diplomatic Service: Complaints

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many formal complaints British ambassadors have lodged with host countries since March 2006; and what those complaints were. [186917]

Meg Munn: This information is not held centrally. Responsibility for protests and other diplomatic communications to Ministries of Foreign Affairs is devolved to embassies. Compiling this information would be disproportionately costly.

Ethiopia: Terrorism

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will offer technical support to the government of Ethiopia in developing its internal security infrastructure as part of its attempts to tackle international terrorism. [186451]

Meg Munn: Where suitable opportunities arise and we are satisfied that human rights concerns are being met, we remain interested in assisting Ethiopia to develop its internal security infrastructure in order to tackle international terrorism.

EU Grants and Loans: Trade Unions

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what records his Department holds of grants given to UK trade unions by institutions of the European Union since 1997. [186087]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 18 February 2008]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold the information requested. This information could not be collated without incurring disproportionate cost.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to other countries on the decriminalisation of homosexuality in those countries where it is illegal. [185506]

Meg Munn: Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and officials have been active in promoting and protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people in line with UK international policy. This is especially important in countries where same sex relationships are illegal, or there are moves to introduce criminalisation, where we seek ways to raise the issue and lobby for decriminalisation.

In May 2007, the then Minister for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) and I, as the then Minister for Women and Equality, issued a joint statement pledging our support for the worldwide protests against homophobia planned to mark the International Day against Homophobia (17 May).

Our High Commissioner in Singapore made representations to Singapore’s Attorney-General on 26 October 2007 about various human rights issues, including the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

The UK has long been at the forefront of encouraging the EU to speak out in favour of promoting and protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. At the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in September 2007, the EU condemned the fact that relationships between adults of the same sex are criminal in two participating states, namely Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The EU also called on all participating states to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people without discrimination.

Over the last year we have lobbied in support of the UN-Economic and Social Council continuing to grant consultative status to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered non-governmental organisations and we also lobbied to persuade Rwanda not to criminalise same sex acts in the revised penal code, and Nigeria not to outlaw advocacy in favour of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered rights.

Indonesia: Censorship

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of Indonesia on the banning and seizure of the book The Sinking of the Melanesian Race: The Political Struggle in West Papua, by West Papuan academic, Sendius Wonda. [186137]

Meg Munn: The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved over the last 10 years and we judge that the government remains committed to further progress, as indicated by its 2006 accession to the International
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Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We recognise that challenges remain and our embassy in Jakarta closely follows the situation in Papua, particularly concerning civil society work on human rights and freedom of expression. We will continue to encourage the Indonesian government to respect their international obligations in this regard. We remain firm in our commitment to freedom of expression, but do not believe that making representations to the Indonesian government on incidents such as the banning of Sendius Wonda's book would be as effective as the wide-ranging engagement we have with Indonesia on human rights.

Papua: Armed Conflict

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has discussed with his European Union counterparts the prospects for EU-sponsored dialogue between West Papuan leaders and the government of Indonesia on a peaceful resolution to the conflict in West Papua. [186107]

Meg Munn: We continue to encourage EU engagement in promoting human rights in Indonesia, but we have not discussed any plans for EU-sponsored dialogue between Papuan leaders and the central government in Jakarta. We believe that the complex issues in Papua can best be resolved through peaceful dialogue between the people of Papua and the government of Indonesia. The Indonesian President has committed his government to improving the situation in Papua, which we welcome.

We continue to encourage all sides to support meaningful dialogue and to focus on fully implementing the existing special autonomy legislation. We judge that this is the best way to ensure the long-term stability and development of Papua and its people.

Russia: Crime

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent conversations he has had with his Russian counterpart on cyber crime perpetrated against British citizens and originating in Russia. [185957]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 18 February 2008]: I have been asked to reply.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has had no conversations with her counterparts in Russia regarding cyber crime.

Sudan: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) troops and (b) other personnel are based in Darfur as part of the UNAMID force; and when he expects the UNAMID force to reach its full complement. [186361]

David Miliband [holding answer 18 February 2008]: At present, the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur consists of a total of approximately 10,000 personnel: 7,700 military personnel, 1,500 police and 800 civilian staff. This needs to rise to a total of approximately
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31,000 for the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur to reach its full complement: 19,500 troops, 6,500 police, and 5,000 civilian staff, both local and international.

We are working very closely with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the African Union to help achieve the goal of full deployment as soon as practicable. This will be extremely challenging as not all outstanding shortfalls, particularly helicopter capacity, have yet been filled. The UN-African Union Mission in Darfur's deployment to Darfur is one of the most complex and logistically difficult that the UN has ever undertaken.

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