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Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association
SEK (Federation of Government, Military and Civil Service Workers).
PEO (Pan Cyprian Federation of Labour-Government/Military and Social Institute Servants).
PASYDY (Pancyprian Public Servants' Trade Union).
TURK-SEN (Turkish Cypriot Trade Union Federation)
SBA (Sovereign Bases Abroad) Police Association.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Government of Burma on the investigation of the rape and mutilation of a schoolgirl in Kachin state on 27 July 2008. 
Bill Rammell: We have not raised this specific, tragic case with the Burmese authorities. However, through our embassy in Rangoon, and in the UNs Human Rights bodies, we continue to take every opportunity to press the regime to uphold international human rights norms and protect vulnerable groups, including women and ethnic minorities.
On 21 November 2008, the UK helped secure a UN General Assembly resolution which expressed grave concern at the continued discrimination and hardships suffered by ethnic minority groups, and the broader human rights situation in Burma. We call on the regime to adhere to its international obligations and co-operate fully with the UN special rapporteur, Thomas Ojea Quintana, who last visited Burma from 3-7 August 2008.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is his Departments policy to offer staff (a) additional leave entitlement for Christmas shopping and (b) Christmas bonus payments. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to page 131 of the 2009 Budget Red Book, what effect the savings he expects to achieve through contract negotiations with his Department's existing telecommunications supplier will have on his Department's IT services; and if he will make a statement. 
The contract was originally agreed in 2000. Improvements in technology since 2000 have meant the levels of service needed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) can now be delivered at lower unit cost. The negotiations referred to ensure that
these lower costs are available to the FCO. The newer technologies available provide faster, more reliable services, allowing FCO staff to work more efficiently.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which private security companies are employed by his Department in volatile countries; what the (a) duration and (b) monetary value is of each contract; and what local arrangements are in place to manage each contract. 
Gillian Merron: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to contract private security companies (PSCs) to provide guarding of our staff and missions in high-threat environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as follows:
Mobile SecurityControl Risks£20,831,233 from 1 July 200730 June 2008.
Static SecurityGardaworld£5,427,186 from 1 July 200730 June 2008.
Intelligence AnalystsMinimal Risks£867,475 from 1 October 200730 September 2008.
Vehicle MaintenanceArmorgroup£606,019 from 27 February 200826 February 2009.
Mobile SecurityArmorgroup£16,733,399 from 1 January 200831 December 2008.
Static SecurityArmorgroup£2,867,228 from 1 January 200831 December 2008.
Vehicle MaintenanceArmorgroup£606,019 from 27 February 200826 February 2009.
Police Mentors and AdvisersArmorgroup£869,625 from 1 October 200730 September 2008.
Primary HealthcareEdinburgh International£121,380 from 1 January 200831 December 2008.
All PSCs are subject to ongoing performance monitoring and contract management by the FCO, both in country and from the UK. The FCO monitors performance by key performance indicators, regular visits and reports by overseas security advisors, regular review meetings in London with PSCs, and monitoring expenditure against a fully profiled budget.
I also refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 518W, which asked what assessment my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made of the use of private armed security companies in volatile countries.
Mr. Keith Simpson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 12 February 2009, Official Report, columns 85-88WS, on departmental expenditure limits, under what circumstances UK visas are offered gratis to fans planning to visit the UK to attend sporting events; on how many occasions such visas were provided in 2007-08; and what the cost to his
Department of such visas was, broken down by category of expenditure. 
Gratis visas may be issued in a range of circumstances, commonly as a matter of international courtesy. This means that the visa applicant does not pay a fee for the application to be considered but another Government Department reimburses the Home Office for the lost fee income.
In May 2008 we accepted 2,169 short-term visit visa applications from fans of FC Zenit St. Petersburg travelling to Manchester for the UEFA Cup Final without a fee being paid by the applicant, normally £65. This was in part in recognition of the waiver of visa requirement by the Russian Government for fans of Chelsea FC and Manchester United FC travelling to the UEFA Champions League Final in Moscow later in the same month, which Manchester United won on penalties. The cost to the FCO was £104,000 in reimbursing the Home Office for lost fee income. Our records show that this is the only occasion in 2008-09 to date where gratis visas have been issued to fans visiting the UK to attend sporting events.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what percentage of applications to each (a) European Commission, (b) Council of the European Union and (c) European Parliament traineeship programme have been from UK nationals since March 1997; and what percentage of places under each such scheme have been awarded to UK nationals in the same period; 
David Miliband: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not hold this information. The relevant data are owned by each EU Institution. The Government are clear that it is in the EU and UKs interests to have successful UK candidates working at the heart of the EUs institutions.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many and what proportion of (a) field-based and (b) office-based Secret Intelligence Service officers were of each (a) ethnicity, (b) religious faith and (c) sex in each year since 2001. 
The Intelligence and Security Committee has reported on matters relating to SISs recruitment and staffing policies in its annual reports. Diversity issues relating to SIS were most recently covered in the 2004-05 annual report (paragraph 53, column 6510).
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Iranian and (b) EU counterparts on the treatment of the Bahai and other religious minorities in Iran. 
Bill Rammell [holding answer 22 January 2009]: We are deeply concerned by the treatment of the Bahai community and other religious minorities in Iran. In particular, we have consistently voiced our concern about the continued detention without charge of the seven Bahai leaders who were arrested in April and May 2008, and through the EU and bilaterally have made several representations to the Iranian authorities calling for their immediate and unconditional releasemost recently in a public EU declaration on 26 September.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not met or spoken with his Iranian counterpart since April 2008, and last met the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister in September 2008. However, I met the Iranian ambassador on 20 November 2008, and raised our concerns about human rights issues including the draft penal code, which would impose a mandatory death sentence for apostasy.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the Government of Iran on the treatment of members of the Baha'i faith in that country; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: We take every opportunity to raise our concerns about the treatment of the Iranian Baha'is, both in bilateral and EU meetings with the Iranian Government. We have repeatedly urged them to take steps to end the persecution of religious minorities. On 18 March 2009 the EU presidency issued a declaration expressing concern about the numerous human rights violations in Iran and urged them to comply with their human rights obligations. I issued a public statement on 16 February 2009, about the imminent trial of seven leading members of the Iranian Baha'is which was strongly supported by an EU statement on 17 February 2009, calling on the Iranian Government to reconsider the charges, ensure that any trial is fair and to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings.
We will continue to urge the Iranian Government to take their international human rights obligations seriously including the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsto which Iran is a state party.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what events held in (a) the UK and (b) Israel to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv he has been invited; what such invitations he has (i) accepted and (ii) declined; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not received any invitations to events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv. However, our ambassador to Tel Aviv has accepted invitations to commemorate the 100th anniversary.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of persons allegedly murdered in the Gaza Strip by Hamas members since December 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: According to the Amnesty International report published in April 2009, between 27 December 2008 and 31 March 2009 there have been at least 32 extra-judicial killings which were committed by either Hamas security forces or gunmen believed to be associated with Hamas.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations has he made to the Government of Pakistan on the case of James McLintock; and on what date he most recently discussed the detention of James McLintock with his Pakistani counterpart; 
Bill Rammell: Since we were made aware of unconfirmed reports that Mr. James McLintock had been arrested in Pakistan, officials in London and from our high commission in Islamabad, including the deputy high commissioner, have been pressing the Pakistan authorities for confirmation that Mr. McLintock is being detained and if so, for consular access to be granted. Our most recent representation was made by a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office official directly to the Pakistani high commissioner in London on 30 April 2009.
Bill Rammell: We are discussing with the Nigerian Government a range of assistance to the Nigeria Prison Service through the Returns and Reintegration Fund to support reform and improve conditions. This includes equipping an uncommissioned prison in Ilorin, which has a capacity to hold around 160 inmates. Final plans on assistance are yet to be confirmed.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek agreement at EU level to exclude the waters off occupied Western Sahara from future fisheries agreement with Morocco. 
Bill Rammell: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has no plans to seek agreement at EU level to exclude the waters off the undetermined territory of Western Sahara from any future fisheries agreement with Morocco.
Future negotiations on the expiry of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) will take into account any changes in the situation of Western Sahara that may occur before the FPA's expiry in 2011.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Moroccan Government on (a) ending the movement of members of the Moroccan civilian population into the occupied Western Sahara and (b) the application of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 
Bill Rammell: We have not discussed the movement of population between Morocco and Western Sahara, or the application of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, and have no current plans to discuss either matter with the Moroccan Government.
The Government see the status of Western Sahara as undetermined and continue to believe that progress towards a negotiated solution to the dispute, providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, is best achieved under the auspices of the UN. To this end the UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy, Christopher Ross.
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