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Drugs

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether any officials in his Department were disciplined or dismissed for illicit drug taking in each of the last five years. [205912]

Kevin Brennan: No officials in the Department were disciplined or dismissed for illicit drug taking over the last five years.

Education: European Union

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how much his Department has spent on (a) procuring and (b) distributing to schools in England the (i) Passport to the European Union and (ii) “The EU: what's in it for me” booklets, produced by the European Commission. [205644]

Kevin Brennan: These booklets are produced and distributed on request by the European Commission Representation in the UK. This Department has not incurred any expense in their procurement or distribution.

London Airports

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 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. [205144]

Kevin Brennan: The Department for Children, Schools and Families has no record of hiring VIP facilities or of making any payments to (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick, (c)Luton and (d) Stansted airports in each month since May 2006.


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Schools: Playing Fields

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of schools in (a) England, (b) the East Midlands and (c) Leicestershire have disposed of playing fields since 1998. [206168]

Kevin Brennan [holding answer 16 May 2008 ]: Since 1998 the proportion of schools that have had applications approved to sell school playing fields in (a) England has been less than 1 per cent. (b) the East Midlands, less than 1 per cent. and (c) Leicestershire, less than 1 per cent.

Special Educational Needs: Young Offenders

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children in young offender institutions has (a) special educational needs and (b) a special educational needs statement; and if he will make a statement. [207502]

Kevin Brennan: The information is as follows.

(a) The Department does not collect information centrally on the numbers of children in young offender institutions (YOIs) who have special educational needs (SEN).

However, an analysis by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) of 2006 ASSET data—the individual assessment tool for young offenders used by Youth Offending Teams—found that 25 per cent. of young offenders had special needs identified. This figure covers young offenders both in custody and the community.

(b) The Department does not collect information centrally on the numbers of children in YOIs who have a SEN statement. Local authorities do not have a duty to maintain SEN statements for young people in custody. Instead support is provided within the custodial institution by special educational needs coordinators and learning support assistants. However, the YJB analysis of 2006 data showed that of the 25 per cent. of young offenders (in custody or in the community) who had SEN, just over 60 per cent. had a statement.

Vocational Guidance

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will make it his policy to support further development of the Skill Force charity’s work in schools. [207884]

Kevin Brennan: We value the contribution made by Skill Force and other organisations in helping to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our schools. It is the responsibility of local authorities and schools to commission high quality and effective alternative provision that assists children and young people to maximise their potential.

We have recently published a White Paper “Back on Track” which sets out our strategy to transform alternative provision into a vibrant and successful part of the whole education system. We expect better and more strategic commissioning of alternative provision
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to help generate the conditions in which an effective market can operate, helping new providers to enter it and the better providers to expand their offerings.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Asylum

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to encourage other countries to protect refugees from violence and inhuman treatment. [207871]

Meg Munn: The Government use every appropriate opportunity to advocate the ratification of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) by all countries. The Refugee Convention guarantees the right of a person who is a refugee within the meaning of the Convention not to be returned to a country or territory where they are at risk of persecution. The Government support the work of the Office of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), the UN agency mandated to protect refugees. The UK is the seventh largest donor to the UNHCR (USD 52 million, 4.8 per cent. of contributions to the agency in 2006). The UK also contributes to operations on the ground to develop the capacity of countries hosting refugees to meet their obligations, for example, in Chad through the EU European Security and Defence Policy mission to protect internally displaced persons and refugees from Darfur.

In addition to the Refugee Convention, the UK advocates the ratification by all countries of the main international human rights instruments, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, which provide the obligations to protect all individuals on their territory including refugees.

Burma: Asylum

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to protect the safety of Burmese refugees in states neighbouring Burma. [207870]

Meg Munn: The Office of the UN high commissioner for refugees is leading assistance to refugees from Burma, with support from international donors. The Thai Government are also engaged on the issue of Burmese refugees in Thailand.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development visited the Thailand-Burma border in January to see at first hand the plight of Burmese people who have been forced to flee from their country's repressive regime and the work being done by the international community to help them.

The Department for International Development is providing £1.8 million over three years to groups which provide assistance to Burmese refugees in Thailand as well as to internally displaced persons inside Burma.
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We also provided £400,000 last year to support basic health, livelihoods and education to displaced communities within Burma.

The UK is providing financial and political support for the work of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) to address the needs of Burmese Rohingya refugees in southern Bangladesh, including the current provision of €1.5 million by ECHO to move around 10,000 unregistered refugees out of a makeshift camp and into newly-built dwellings. We continue to emphasise to the caretaker Government of Bangladesh the importance of a longer-term resolution of the Rohingya issue.

Electronic Government

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether mechanisms are in place to monitor the extent to which his Department's (a) internal and (b) external (i) correspondence and (ii) distribution of publications is carried out electronically. [199185]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not have a central mechanism in place to monitor the extent to which the FCO's internal and external correspondence and distribution of publications is carried out electronically.

To retrieve and collate the information needed from all of the departments within the FCO, and all overseas posts, would incur disproportionate cost.

Ethiopia: Somalia

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on Ethiopia's involvement in human rights abuses in Somalia. [207314]

Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is aware of allegations of human rights abuses by Ethiopian troops in Somalia and has told Ethiopia, including at high level, that we expect them to adhere fully to international humanitarian law in Somalia. UN Security Council Resolution 1814, adopted unanimously on 15 May, calls on all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law. The International Contact Group on Somalia issued a communique on 30 April which also raised concern for all human rights abuses in Somalia. We unreservedly condemn all proven incidents of human rights abuse and expect those responsible to face justice.

EU Budget

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's response was to the European Commission's proposal to extend to 15 June 2008 the deadline for member states to make proposals for reform of the EU Budget; and what discussions he has had with the Commission on its proposal. [207850]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government welcome the EU Budget Review and look forward to playing an active role in the debate. The extension to the deadline by three months for contributions to the EU Budget
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Review public consultation is a matter for the European Commission, but we welcome efforts by the Commission to ensure a comprehensive consultation process.

Iran: Human Rights

Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the (a) arrest and charging of six members of the leadership of the Iranian Baha'i community and (b) the detention of other members of the group in Evin prison; and if he will make a statement. [207292]

Dr. Howells: We are aware of reports that, in the early hours of 14 May, six members of the seven-person group that co-ordinates Baha'i activities in Iran had their homes raided and searched by Ministry of Intelligence officers. They were subsequently taken to Evin prison in Tehran where they remain detained. The seventh member of the group has been detained since March. We do not know the grounds for their arrests or if they have been charged yet. This is not the first time that the leadership of the Iranian Baha'i community has been targeted and formal Baha'i administrative bodies have been banned since the early 1980s. We remain deeply concerned by the Iranian Government's refusal to respect the right of their citizens to freely adopt and practise a religion of choice and the ongoing systematic persecution of the Baha'i community in Iran in particular and we regularly raise our concerns with the Iranian authorities, bilaterally and through the EU. Following a recommendation by the UK, on 21 May the EU issued a public declaration expressing serious concern about the treatment of the Baha'is in Iran and calling for the release of these individuals. We will continue to raise this issue with the Iranian authorities.

Middle East: Armed Conflict

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations with regard to the rocket attack on Ashkelon by the Jabril Front and the Popular Resistance Committees; and if he will make a statement. [207184]

Dr. Howells: We condemn the continuing rocket attacks on Israel, including that on Ashkelon, by militants from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These are unacceptable and serve only to increase the suffering of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis. We have no specific plans to raise the Ashkelon attack at the UN but will continue to work with the Quartet, the UN and others in the international community to prevent all such attacks in future.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take at the United Nations with regard to the rocket attack on Yesha by the al-Quds Brigades; and if he will make a statement. [207185]

Dr. Howells: We condemn the continuing rocket attacks on Israel, including that on Yesha, by militants from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These are
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unacceptable and serve only to increase the suffering of ordinary Palestinians and Israelis. We have no specific plans to raise the Yesha attack at the UN but will continue to work with the Quartet, the UN and others in the international community to prevent all such attacks in future.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers and (c) officials in his Department have had with (i) Arab states and (ii) the Government of Israel on rocket attacks by (A) the Jabril Front and the Popular Resistance Committees and (B) the al-Quds Brigades; what response was received from each; and if he will make a statement. [207186]

Dr. Howells: We continue to be deeply concerned about rocket attacks against Israel. We have not raised the attacks by the Jabril Front and Popular Resistance Committees and the al-Quds Brigades specifically with either Arab or Israeli Governments. We do, however, condemn the continuing rocket attacks on Israel. We raise these issues with international partners and urge all to use their influence to prevent attacks in future.

Slovakia: Arms Trade

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met with the Slovakian Foreign Minister to discuss arms sales to non-EU countries. [207211]

Mr. Jim Murphy: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary meets his Foreign Minister counterparts regularly at EU General Affairs and External Relations Councils and discusses various subjects. No specific discussions have taken place about arms sales to non-EU countries.

Sudan: Human Rights

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to secure targeted sanctions against the Government of Sudan in relation to improving respect for human rights in Darfur. [207313]

Meg Munn: We continue to discuss the possibility of further sanctions with other members of the UN Security Council as one of a range of measures to resolve the crisis in Darfur. We would consider supporting sanctioning any party to the conflict for destabilising the region, impeding progress on the political process, obstructing the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur deployment or humanitarian access and human rights abuses.

Sudan: War Crimes

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he proposes to take (a) at the UN Security Council and ( b) in other fora in response to Sudan's non-compliance with the current warrants issued by the International Criminal Court; and if he will make a statement. [207151]


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Meg Munn: The UK sponsored the UN Security Council Resolution 1593 of March 2005 which referred the human rights situation in Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The UK fully supports the ICC and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the need for Sudan to comply with the ICC in his meeting with Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor on 28 April.

The UK continues to press the Government of Sudan, at all levels, to comply with the ICC requirements. We have also raised Sudanese compliance with the ICC with partners, including in the UN Security Council, who have influence over the Government of Sudan.

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to encourage enforcement of the International Criminal Court arrest warrants relating to Darfur; and if he will make a statement. [207152]

Meg Munn: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I have given to parliamentary written question 207151.

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that consideration of Sudan's failure to co-operate with the International Criminal Court is included in the terms of reference of the forthcoming UN Security Council mission to Sudan. [207153]

Meg Munn: A UN Security Council mission is currently in Africa, and Sir John Sawers, UK Permanent Representative to the UN is taking part. Included in the terms of reference for the mission is the need to ensure that all Security Council resolutions are implemented and that the rule of law is upheld. We see this as the basis for raising the issue of Sudanese co-operation with the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Sudan on meeting the requirements of the International Criminal Court warrants issued against Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb for crimes in Darfur. [207312]

Meg Munn: The UK fully supports the International Criminal Court (ICC) and we continue to press the Government of Sudan, at all levels, to comply with the ICC requirements. Most recently, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised the need for Sudan to comply with the ICC in his meeting with Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor on 28 April.


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