|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Bill Rammell: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created by machinery of government changes at the end of June 2007. As information on congestion charges paid is not collected centrally in the Department, this information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Bill Rammell [holding answer 3 March 2008]: Prison Service Order 0550 requires that every prisoners literacy, numeracy and skills needs are assessed as part of the induction programme put in place soon after entering custody. The results of this assessment inform the offender management process and contribute to the fuller assessment of learning needs to inform an individual learning plan. In public prisons, that fuller assessment is carried out by the provider appointed by the Learning and Skills Council.
The offender learning and skills delivery arrangements aim to develop a learning plan that is personalised to the needs of the individual learner, subject to the constraints imposed by the secure environment. The focus of the arrangements is on the individual and there has been no general audit of the skills needs of prisoners since my Department took responsibility for the policy in 2001, although the Social Exclusion Units 2002 report Reducing Re-offending by Ex-Prisoners drew together a number of data sources to produce an overview of the skills needs of offenders.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff aged between 16 and 18 were employed by his Department and its predecessor (a) directly and (b) through an employment agency in each of the last 10 years; what proportion of these were given time off work to undertake some form of training; and what proportion were provided with some form of training (i) wholly and (ii) partially funded by his Department. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the report of 6 March by the UN Secretary-General on the situation in Afghanistan, what representations he has received from the United Nations on the issue of access to detention centres in Afghanistan run by international military forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 14 March 2008]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not received any representations from the UN regarding the Secretary-Generals report of 6 March and access to detention facilities. The UK has several facilities to temporarily hold those detained before they are either released or transferred to the Afghan authorities. Relevant human rights institutions within the UN system, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission are encouraged to inspect all UK detention facilities in Afghanistan.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which detention centres in Afghanistan are run by international military forces; and to which of these centres UN officials have access. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 14 March 2008]: A number of the national military contingents operating in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force, including from the UK, have facilities for temporary detention. We allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent access to UK facilities holding detainees and would provide access to the UN if a request was made. We do not monitor whether the UN has access to partners facilities.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes have been made to the mandate of the incoming UN Special Representative for Afghanistan as compared with that of his predecessor; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 14 March 2008]: The terms of reference for the new UN Special Representative for Afghanistan are a matter for the UN Secretary-General. It is important that Kai Eide has strong terms of reference to carry out his vital role of co-ordinating the efforts of the international community in Afghanistan.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia on the provision of improved protection to Burmese asylum seekers in Malaysia by registering such applicants for asylum. 
Meg Munn: Our high commission in Kuala Lumpur keeps in close contact with the local office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on issues relating to the circumstances of Burmese refugees in Malaysia.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to whom official gifts were presented by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to the Caribbean in March; who selected those gifts; what the cost of each gift was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Written Statement of 31 January 2006, Official Report, column 10WS, on Pingat Jasa Malaysia, what requests to wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals has received since 31 January 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: Government Departments have received numerous representations on the subject of approval being granted for veterans to accept, but not wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia. The committee reviewed its decision three times, on each occasion upholding the general principles which apply to the question of acceptance and wear of foreign decorations. In July 2007 it agreed that veterans would be allowed to wear the medal for main independence celebrations in Malaysia from 15 August to 8 September 2007.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1-2WS, on the Freedom of Information Act (John Williams' document) who authorised Mr Williams to produce the document; 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 17 March 2008]: John Williams produced his draft on his own initiative over the weekend of 7 and 8 September 2002. We have no record of to whom it was delivered or circulated.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Williams document of 2002 on Iraq weapons of mass destruction was discussed at a dossier drafting group meeting on the afternoon of 9 September 2002. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 17 March 2008]: Alastair Campbell's minute of 9 September 2002 to Sir John Scarlett is the record of the discussion that took place on 9 September 2002. A copy is available on the Hutton Inquiry website, reference CAB/6/0002-0004.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 18 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1-2WS, on the Freedom of Information Act (John Williams' document), if he will publish (a) the original file JIC Two Document Version 24 July 2002 and (b) other sources from which Mr Williams worked in producing his draft. 
Meg Munn: There are regular visits by Indonesian Ministers to the UK. Most recently I met Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr. Hassan Wirajuda, at Wilton Park on 3 March. Following the then Prime Minister's (Mr. Blair) visit to Indonesia in 2006 there is an open invitation to President Yudhoyono to visit the UK at a mutually convenient time.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he discussed (a) West Papua and (b) human rights with the Indonesian Minister for Finance, H. E. Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, during his visit to the UK on 14 and 15 January 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: I met Indonesian Finance Minister, Dr. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, in London on 15 January. I discussed with her a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including climate change and Burma as well as the situation in Papua.
The Government's position on Papua is longstanding. We support the territorial integrity of Indonesia and do not therefore support calls for independence for Papua. We believe that full implementation of existing Special Autonomy legislation is the best way to address outstanding areas of concern and ensure the long-term stability of Papua.
The overall human rights situation in Indonesia has improved dramatically in recent years. Indonesia is opening itself up to scrutiny by the international human rights framework, including through the UN Human Rights Council's process of Universal Periodic Review. Indonesia has a flourishing free media and a parliament that is increasingly holding the government to account. However, we recognise that challenges remain, particularly in Papua. I discussed the situation in Papua and raised human rights with Papua Governor Barnabus Suebo whom I met in London on 25 October 2007. Our embassy in Jakarta monitors the situation in Papua closely and continues to support those working to improve human rights across Indonesia.
Mr. Jim Murphy: It is too early to tell what the implications of the results of the recent Russian presidential elections are. The victor, Mr. Medvedev, does not take office until 7 May, when he is expected to announce a new Cabinet, the make up of which will give a clearer sense of the direction of Russia under his leadership.
It is vital that we engage with Russia on a wide range of international objectives, such as Iran, the middle east peace process and climate and energy security. However, there are also important bilateral strains, which need to be addressed. I hope that Mr. Medvedev's presidency will provide an opportunity to strengthen our bilateral relationship with Russia.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received an explanation for the shackling of Simon Mann by the Equatorial Guinea authorities. 
Meg Munn [holding answer 14 March 2008]: There are a number of instruments that outline international standards in relation to the right to a fair trial, including the universal declaration of human rights and the international covenant on civil and political rights. In considering whether a court procedure amounts to a fair trial, we are guided by such instruments.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1707-08W, on South Africa: chemical and biological warfare, at which conferences and on what occasions UK officials and scientists had contact with South African counterparts who were subsequently identified as having worked on Project Coast; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The information requested is not held centrally. UK officials and scientists would routinely have been present at a number of types of meetings and conferences, including those on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, the negotiations leading to the Chemical Weapons Convention, chemical/biological defence and public health issues, at which South African counterparts may have been present. To identify each occasion where UK officials or scientists had contact with relevant South African counterparts would incur disproportionate cost.
Meg Munn [holding answer 17 March 2008]: We are concerned by reports that the Government of Sudan may be reverting to newspaper censorship and that an increasing number of journalists have been detained or harassed by the authorities. This would run counter to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and Article 39 of the Interim National Constitution, which guarantees freedom of the media and unrestricted right to freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information. It is particularly important that citizens have freedom of access to information in the run-up to democratic elections in 2009. The UK, and our international partners, will continue to monitor press freedoms and promotion of a reformed press law in Sudan. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Government of Sudan in the EU-Sudan Human Rights dialogue, most recently in a meeting on 13 February.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|