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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information coalition forces have about the blowing up by insurgents on 8 February 2008 of the power station supplying water to Ashraf City and the surrounding Iraqi population; and what relief action was taken by coalition forces. 
Dr. Howells: On 6 February 2008 terrorists blew up one of the two water pumps supplying water to Ashraf City. The second pump was not affected. Coalition forces are actively working with the local council to fix the damaged water pump.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions and for how many days UK diplomatic staff based in Sri Lanka but accredited to the Republic of the Maldives have stayed in the Maldives over the last 12 months. 
Dr. Howells: British officials based in our high commission in Colombo, but accredited to the Republic of the Maldives, made 12 official visits to the Maldives in 2007, totalling 34 days. In January 2008 they visited Maldives twice for a total of four days. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not keep records of private visits.
Dr. Howells: The UK intends either to join international observation missions as short term observers, or to provide an independent field presence as we did during the August 2007 referendum campaign.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions UK diplomatic staff have met leaders of opposition parties in Maldives (a) on social occasions and (b) for formal meetings; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: British officials based in our high commission in Colombo, but accredited to the Republic of the Maldives, have met formally with the three official opposition parties, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), the Islamic Democratic Party and the Adallath (Justice) Party, and two unofficial opposition groups, the New Maldives Movement and Social Liberal Party, at a senior level at least once in the last 12 months. Officials frequently meet with the MDP either in Colombo or the Maldives. Officials are in regular contact with opposition politicians.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps with the Commonwealth Secretary General and other Commonwealth countries to deploy election observers in the Republic of the Maldives in advance of the election planned for October 2008. 
Dr. Howells: The Government of the Maldives has formally invited the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth to deploy observers. The Secretariat is planning to send an assessment mission to the Maldives over the summer to explore options for the feasibility, scope and form of such an observer mission. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has discussed the possibility of deploying UK election observers with the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Kingdom's representative to the Republic of the Maldives has made representations to the Government of the Republic of the Maldives following the arrest of members of the opposition party, the MDP, on the Dhidoo atoll on 18 February 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK has not made specific representations to the Government of the Maldives on this issue. We maintain regular contact with the Maldivian Government and key stakeholders in the Maldives.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of the Maldives on the practice of charging people with offences without then prosecuting; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The UK has not made specific representations to the Government of the Maldives on the practice of individuals being charged but not prosecuted. British officials based in our high commission in Colombo, and accredited to the Republic of the Maldives, have however made several representations on the issue of politically motivated arrests and prosecutions. Most notably these representations helped to lead to the negotiations between the Government of Maldives and the main opposition party in 2006 and the release of most political prisoners.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the observance of human rights in the Republic of the Maldives; and what representations the UK Government have made to the Government of the Republic of the Maldives on human rights over the past two years. 
Dr. Howells: The human rights situation in Maldives has improved in recent years. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has concerns about some criminal investigations by the police which appear politically motivated, the treatment of detainees, the use of corporal punishment and inconsistent sentencing policy. Freedom for the media and political activists has improved noticeably over the last two years, but concerns remain. The first multi-party elections, scheduled for later in 2008, will be the first real test for these developments.
The transition to a multi-party democracy is the best basis for continued improvement. When my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, met President
Gayoom of Maldives in July 2007, he underlined the need to keep the reform process on track and the importance of this year's elections being free, fair, inclusive and supported by the Maldivian people.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to maintain staff numbers at the multilateral arms control and disarmament office of the UK permanent mission to the conference on disarmament in Geneva during the period of the UK presidency of the conference on disarmament, and in the lead-up to the 2010 review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The number of staff at the multilateral arms control and disarmament office of the UK permanent mission to the conference on disarmament in Geneva will be increased by one official this summer. The staffing requirements will be kept under regular review during the period of the UK presidency of the conference on disarmament and in the lead-up to the 2010 review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what responses he has received to his speech to the conference on disarmament in Geneva on 5 February setting out United Kingdom disarmament commitments. 
My speech to the conference on disarmament re-emphasised the UK commitment to furthering the multilateral nuclear disarmament agenda, in line with our NPT Article VI obligations. It has been widely welcomed.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in West Papua; what recent diplomatic steps he has taken on that issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Indonesia has undergone a remarkable transformation over the last 10 years. Overall the human rights situation has improved significantly. Nevertheless, we recognise that many challenges remain and we continue to hear reports of human rights abuses in Papua. Many of these are difficult to verify but there do appear to be problems with access to justice and intimidation of human rights defenders.
We judge that the Indonesian Government is committed to promoting development efforts in Papua and further improvements in the human rights situation. We welcome their increasing openness to international scrutiny, as evidenced by their invitations to the UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani, in June 2007 and Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, in November 2007, to visit Papua.
Our embassy in Jakarta follows the situation in Papua closely and embassy officials were in Papua most recently from 15 to 20 February. While there, they held discussions with local officials, non-governmental organisations and representatives of religious organisations, on a range of issues, including human rights. We continue to support organisations working to promote human rights in Papua, such as Peace Brigades International.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the basis is for the Governments position that the proposed FCO Services Trading Fund will be financially viable. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has assessed FCO Services business projections, which have been deliberately built on cautious assumptions. To protect FCO Services cash flow in the early years as a Trading Fund the FCO will make a short-term working capital loan of £10 million, repayable with interest over the first five years of trading. The FCO is content that FCO Services is not being burdened with excessive debt at start up.
Ministers have agreed a five year corporate plan for FCO Services and will agree its business plan on an annual basis. FCO Services Executive and Non-Executive Directors review performance throughout the year. In addition, FCO Services has in place corporate risk assessment processes, in line with best practice, which its Audit Committee oversees.
Meg Munn: There are no plans to privatise Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Services. We have set up the Trading Fund on the basis that it gives the right combination of overall FCO control and reliability of supply, coupled with commercial disciplines and freedoms for FCO Services.
FCO Services has developed a comprehensive five year corporate plan, agreed with Ministers, to direct its future business activities which includes maintaining a strong, long-term strategic partnership with the FCO, delivering services at best value for money and guaranteeing the supply of business-critical services to the FCO.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Government-sponsored collaboration there is between UK (a) scientists and (b) public servants and their counterparts working on Project Coast in South Africa. 
Dr. Howells: There was no Government-sponsored collaboration between UK scientists or public servants and Project Coast in South Africa. However, in the course of their normal duties, including attendance at international conferences, some Government officials and scientists did have contact with South African counterparts who were subsequently identified as having worked on Project Coast. When allegations of UK assistance to Project Coast emerged, full investigations were held. These found no evidence to suggest UK Government officials knowingly provided assistance to any South African Chemical and Biological Weapons Programme.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Vietnams position as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. 
Meg Munn: Vietnam was elected on to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the period of 2008-09. The UK works with all members of the UN Security Council to ensure that the body is effective in tackling threats to international peace and security.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Vietnamese Government on its role on the UN Security Council, with particular reference to that countrys relations with China. 
Meg Munn: The UK works closely with all members of the UN Security Council to ensure the body is effective in tackling threats to international peace and security. Officials in New York and London have held meetings with officials of newly elected members, including Vietnam, to explore how we can work together on the Council. A Vietnamese ministerial team, lead by Vice-Minister Le Van Bang, visited the UK on 29-30 November 2007. The Vice-Minister had meetings with me and Whitehall officials on various issues before the Council, including Burma, counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation.
Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the judgment in the case of Regina (Payir and others) v . Secretary of State for the Home Department (Case C-294/06 in the Court of Justice of the European Communities) for the provision of work permits by the UK under EU association agreements with (a) Turkey and (b) other countries; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government are carefully considering the outcome of the judgment in the case of Payir and Ozturk (Case C-294/06). Our initial assessment indicates that the judgment will have no direct effect on the issue of work permits to Turkish nationals.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many complaints about the judiciary in (a) Essex and (b) England and Wales were received by his Department and its predecessors in each of the last five years; how much it cost to investigate each complaint; what the budget for 2007-08 is for investigating such complaints; what legislation governs complaints against the judiciary; what amendments have been made to this legislation since its enactment; what recent representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw: With regard to the number of complaints about the judiciary in England and Wales received in the last five years, I would refer the hon. Member to my written answer of 31 January 2008, Official Report, column 568W, to the same question asked by the hon. Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford (Mr. Evennett). Recording of complaints is not categorised by geographical area, I regret therefore I cannot provide information on the number of complaints for Essex.
My Department does not currently hold information on the cost of investigating individual complaints over this period. The budget for the Office for Judicial Complaints for 2007-08 is £1,141,305.16. I am encouraging the OJC to improve its data. The OJC is moving towards a system of unit costs for the forthcoming financial year, which will provide an indicative figure for the cost of each investigation for 2008-09.
The relevant legislation governing handling of complaints against members of the judiciary is: sections 108 to 121 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005; the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006, which are made under section 115 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005; and the Judicial Complaints (Tribunals) Rules 2006 and the system for handling magistrates conduct, pastoral and training matters, which are both made under section 117 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
I have not received any recent representations about the overall system for handling judicial complaints, but I do from time to time receive letters from hon. Members which forward individual complaints about judicial office holders from their constituents, or which seek information about the handling of a constituents complaint. Any complaint about a judicial office
holder forwarded to me by an hon. Member is dealt with according to the provisions of the Judicial Discipline Regulations 2006.
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