|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts at the United Nations on the regulation of access to the internet by Member States. 
Meg Munn: The UN World Summit on the Information Society in 2005 reaffirmed the right of individuals to access information and encouraged governments to meet their responsibilities in ensuring equitable access to Information Communication Technology, including the internet.
In taking forward the summit recommendations, the UN Secretary-General established an Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The forum provides a framework for dialogue between governments, as well as the private sector and civil society, on a range of public policy issues relating to the internet. The UK is actively engaged in the IGF and will be represented at its next meeting in Hyderabad, India, from 3-6 December 2008.
The Government remain concerned that access to information is greatly restricted in many countries around the world. We continue to raise our concerns on this, and other related issues, as part of our ongoing human rights dialogue with other countries, both bilaterally and in international fora.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the UN troop contributor Governments on the conduct of troops on UN missions, including their treatment of women. 
Meg Munn: We believe strongly that UN personnel must uphold the highest standards of behaviour. The vast majority of UN peacekeepers uphold those standards while doing important work in difficult and dangerous circumstances.
The UN is responsible for tackling any individual allegations of misconduct with troop contributing countries. We have therefore not raised this with Governments, but we do pursue the issue with the UN. The UK played
a key role in the 2006 negotiations that established a model Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UN and troop contributing countries, which lays out the actions that will be taken if any troops fall short of prescribed standards of conduct. We were also involved in negotiations last year which made the MoU more robust. We support the UN Secretary-Generals zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel and we press for language supporting that policy, and call for troop contributing countries to take appropriate preventative action, to be included in all UN Security Council resolutions on peacekeeping missions. The peace support operations training that the UK provides for troops of other countries also covers matters of conduct, including the importance of protecting civilians (including women) in accordance with international law.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts at the United Nations on human rights training for troops seconded to UN missions. 
Meg Munn: It is critical that UN peacekeepers uphold the highest human rights standards. Troop and police contributing countries, with UN support, are responsible for training their peacekeepers appropriately. Government officials regularly discuss with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) how to improve its training, including in human rights. The Government supports DPKO's training programmes with funding.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on a treaty on the prosecution of allegations of sexual abuse made against UN personnel, including peacekeepers. 
Meg Munn: We believe strongly that UN personnel must uphold the highest standards of behaviour. The vast majority of UN peacekeepers uphold those standards, while doing important work in difficult and dangerous circumstances.
The UN has mechanisms in place to investigate, and take action, against allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, and the UN Secretary-General has a zero-tolerance policy towards such behaviour. The UK played a key role in the negotiations that established those mechanisms and we work with partners to strengthen the UN's arrangements in this area. We support the UN Secretary-General's zero-tolerance policy and we press for language supporting that policy, and call for troop contributing countries to take appropriate preventative action, to be included in all UN Security Council resolutions on peacekeeping missions. The UK also provides financial support to the Conduct and Discipline Unit within the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to help them prevent sexual abuse by peacekeepers.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by his Department to improve the UN's capacity for the rapid deployment of troops for peacekeeping and peace-enforcement missions. 
Meg Munn: Improving the effectiveness of the UN in tackling conflict is a key objective, as set out in recent speeches by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. The UK believes that UN peacekeepers play a vital role. The Government work closely with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), including financial support from our Department's Conflict Prevention Pool on capacity building projects. In 2007-08 the UK provided over £4 million to support the training of peacekeepers.
The UK supports DPKO's proposed rapid deployment modelthe Enhanced Rapidly Deployable Capacities. The critical rapid deployment capacity, for UN or other operations, will remain with nation states and regional organisations. The UK is working with international partners to develop this capacity, for example with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's Response Force, the EU Battlegroup Concept and the African Union's Standby Force. The UK makes a very significant contribution, including rapidly deployable capacities, to UN-mandated operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with (a) relevant UN agencies, (b) the European Commission, (c) non-governmental organisations and (d) other countries on co-ordinating the international emergency relief aid response to Burma following Cyclone Nargis; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander:
In addressing the crisis in Burma since Cyclone Nargis hit on 2 May, I have spoken to a number of international partners. These include: Sir John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator; Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid; Henrietta Fore, USAID Administrator and Director of US Foreign Assistance; and Josette Sheran, Executive Director of
the World Food Programme. I pressed for the extraordinary meeting of EU Development Ministers in Brussels on 13 May at which I spoke to a number of my EU counterparts. I have also spoken to the Burmese and Chinese Ambassadors to the UK. I held meetings with non-governmental organisation groupings on the crisis on 7 and 14 May.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when his Department made the first request for aircraft to take UK Government aid to Burma following Cyclone Nargis; and if he will make a statement. 
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many days after Cyclone Nargis it was before aircraft with UK Government aid to
Burma first arrived in that country; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many aircraft have been chartered by the UK Government to transport emergency relief aid to Burma following Cyclone Nargis; what types of aircraft have been used; when each arrived in Burma; what cargo each carried; and who provided each aircraft. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The first planes carrying UK Government aid arrived in Rangoon on the 13 May and 15 May (11 and 13 days after Cyclone Nargis). Both flights were carrying plastic sheeting which was consigned to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
|Date||Type of aircraft||Cargo||Status( 1)||Aircraft provided by (Broker)|
|(1)( )Subject to change. (2 )Scheduled.|
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many receptions he has hosted and funded in his capacity as Secretary of State in the last 12 months; which individuals and organisations (a) were invited to and (b) attended each reception; and what the cost was of each reception. 
Mr. Thomas: Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) are a requirement for countries to receive concessional assistance from the World Bank (through the International Development AssociationIDA) and the IMF (through the Poverty Reduction and Growth FacilityPRGF). In addition they are the basis for the provision of debt relief under the enhanced HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) Initiative. The World Bank reports that PRSPs are on the agenda of about 70 low-income countries. The World Bank website (www.worldbank.org) publishes 66 PRSPs. It would incur disproportionate expense to answer the question in full by identifying which of these include human-rights based benchmarks.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many days it took for the first aircraft transporting UK emergency relief aid to arrive at its destination in relation to each natural disaster to which the UK has responded with such aid over the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many times his Department hired VIP facilities at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick, (c) Luton and (d) Stansted airports in each month since May 2006; and what the expenditure on VIP facilities at each was in each of those months. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: There have been no occasions where the Department for International Development has hired VIP facilities at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick, (c) Luton and (d) Stansted airports in the period specified.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what mechanisms the Government has put in place to ensure that any projects (a) directly and (b) indirectly funded by the UK in the Palestinian Occupied Territories do not contravene the rulings of the International Court of Justice relating to third state obligations not to assist or maintain an illegal situation. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Department for International Development provides humanitarian support to the Occupied Palestinian Territories through the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and provides support aligned with the priorities of the Palestinian Authority, as set out in their Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. We carefully assess all of our assistance to ensure that our aid is not used to assist or maintain the situation created by the construction of the Israeli separation barrier inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory including in and around East Jerusalem.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if he will take steps to ensure that no UK funding for the Palestinian Occupied Territories will be used (a) to upgrade crossings built into the West Bank barrier where it is situated within occupied Palestinian territory and (b) to build permanent infrastructure at checkpoints within the West Bank. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK ensures its funds are not used to render aid or assistance to the construction of crossings built into the separation barrier where it is located within the Occupied Palestinian Territories or Israeli check points in the West Bank.
The Department for International Development (DFID) has robust monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure that our aid to the Palestinians is used for the purposes it is given for. DFID disburses funds through transparent mechanisms managed by the UN, EC, International Committee of the Red Cross, World Bank and reputable international firms.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|