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Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what percentage of employees in his Department are (a) women and (b) men; and what the average hourly pay of his Department's (i) male employees and (ii) female employees was in the latest period for which figures are available. 
"that average basic salaries for each grade when compared on the grounds of gender, ethnicity and disability are within the 5 per cent. tolerance set out by the EOC (Equal Opportunities Commission)"
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many diplomats in each British diplomatic mission overseas have been accused by the authorities of the host country of committing a serious criminal offence in the period 2004 to 2008, broken down by type of offence. 
Chris Bryant [holding answer 8 July 2009]: Central records show that no diplomats in any of our diplomatic missions overseas have been accused by the authorities of the host country of committing a serious criminal offence in the period 2004 to 2008.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK nationals (a) applied for and (b) have been accepted for traineeships in the European Commission since March 1997. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK position is clear: we do not believe it is productive to talk to Hamas directly. The military wing of Hamas is proscribed in the UK as a terrorist organisation: they fire rockets at innocent civilians and put ordinary Palestinians in harm's way. We believe that to talk to Hamas directly at this time would simply undermine those Palestinians who are committed to peace.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the Association of Tour Operators on introducing a traffic light system to classify foreign tourist destinations as having good, fair or bad human rights records. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Consular officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are in regular contact with travel industry professionals and associations on a range of issues. It is for individuals to decide where to travel. We would encourage people to take such decisions on the basis of our travel advice and other publicly available information on their proposed destination. The FCO's Annual Human Rights Report, published most recently on 26 March 2009, provides a comprehensive assessment of the human rights record of countries of concern around the world.
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent assessment is of the human rights situation in relation to Christians in (a) North Korea, (b) Saudi Arabia, (c) Iraq, (d) Afghanistan and (e) Somalia; and what representations he has made on that situation to the Government of each such country. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We condemn all instances of violence and discrimination against individuals and groups because of their faith or belief, wherever they happen or whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.
The Government continue to be extremely concerned about continuing reports of serious, widespread, and systematic human rights abuses in North Korea, including the suppression of religious freedoms. We raise these concerns with the North Korean authorities at every appropriate opportunity, most recently in February 2009, urging them to engage with the international community, particularly the UN Special Rapporteur on North Korea Human Rights. They continue to refuse to engage on this issue. We are also working with non-governmental organisations, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, as we prepare for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of North Korea's human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in December 2009.
The human rights situation in Saudi Arabia remains poor. We particularly oppose the lack of freedom of expression and religion. Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country which does not allow the practice of other religions. We continue to urge the Saudis to respect freedom of religion and to honour article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is done at ministerial, ambassadorial and official level.
In February 2009 the UN UPR reviewed human rights in Saudi Arabia. The UK made a number of recommendations. On 26 March 2009 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2008 Annual Human Rights report was launched by the Foreign Secretary. In the report we highlighted that "the public practice of any religion other than Islam remains banned. Renouncing
religious belief in Islam is an offence punishable by death". Our embassy last raised Freedom of Expression with the Saudi Government in Riyadh on 13 July 2009. We will continue to lobby on this and other important issues.
The security situation in Iraq shows continued signs of improvement, but violence does continue to affect many people, including Christians. The UK continues to encourage the Government of Iraq to protect all communities and to take tough action against those responsible for any acts of violence and intimidation regardless of political, ethnic or religious affiliation.
Promoting human rights is integral to building a stable democracy in Afghanistan. But after 30 years of conflict Afghanistan is starting from a low base. Poverty and weak state institutions are big contributors to human rights violations. Conservative cultural values often exacerbate the severe hardships many still face. We condemn all instances where individuals, including Christians, are persecuted because of their faith or belief and take every opportunity to urge Afghanistan to implement laws and practices which foster tolerance and mutual respect. This includes full implementation of those norms laid out in the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Our embassy in Kabul continues to follow the human rights situation on the ground closely and raise matters of concern with the Afghan Government.
We recognise that the human rights situation in Somalia has been appalling for a very long time. The ongoing civil conflict has impacted adversely on all sections of society, but particularly on vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities including the small community of Christians. We continue to urge the Transitional Federal Government to combat human rights abuses as an important component of the Djibouti Process to restore peace and stability to the country. We support the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somalia and the work of human rights organisations to gather accurate information and evidence about the situation on the ground.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to Secretary Clinton by telephone since the Iranian elections on 12 June 2009. We continue to stay in close contact with US officials.
The UK and US share concerns about the Iranian authorities' heavy handed response to post-election protests. Both agree that it is for the Iranian people to decide their own government but that it is incumbent on the Iranian authorities to address the allegations of irregularities.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 628W, on Iran: foreign relations, what recent representations he has made to the Iranian Government on executions in Iran. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government remain deeply concerned by the increasing use of capital punishment in Iran, which has one of the highest per capita execution rates in the world. We regularly make representations to the Government of Iran, in our bilateral contacts and through the EU, to express general concern about the use of the death penalty in Iran and to raise individual execution cases. We have done so on at least 20 separate occasions in 2009.
In an EU presidency statement dated 5 July 2009, we strongly condemned the recent executions in Iran, in particular the execution of 20 persons on 4 July 2009, in the city of Karaj. Alongside our EU partners we will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions as urged by UN General Assembly resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 628W, on Iran: foreign relations, what his most recent assessment is of the human rights situation in Iran. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Iran's human rights record has continued to deteriorate throughout 2009. Even before the recent unrest we were particularly concerned by worrying signs of growing pressure on anyone with foreign contacts, including numerous arrests on counts of espionage and threatening national security. We are also witnessing an increasing use of the death penalty, and the continued practice of juvenile executions.
The violence and brutality we witnessed in response to peaceful protests following the elections only served to compound the genuine concerns long held by the international community with regards to Iran's human rights record. In the aftermath of the elections we are concerned that large numbers of political opponents, students, journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders have been arrested and remain in detention. We are concerned about the conditions under which they are being detained, and that they are being denied access to due legal process.
We have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Iranian authorities regarding human rights violations and will continue to do so. The Iranian Government must heed strong calls from the international community and its own people to live up to its freely undertaken human rights commitments by respecting basic human rights and democratic freedoms.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made any recent assessment of the economic relationship between Israeli commercial and residential settlements. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2009, Official Report, column 856W, on Israel: imports, if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the
draft voluntary guidance on origin labelling of produce from the occupied Palestinian territories and (b) the minutes of the roundtable meeting with representatives from food retailers and trading organisations. 
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is working with other Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Food Standards Agency with the intention of carrying out a public consultation on the labelling of produce from the Occupied Palestinian Territories shortly. The draft voluntary guidance will be available on DEFRA's website. The details of the roundtable meeting with food retailers and traders will not be disclosed, since to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. David Lidington) of 13 January 2009, Official Report, columns 545-6W, on Libya: terrorism, whether the Prime Minister discussed with President Gaddafi the issue of compensation for UK victims of terrorism at their meeting on 9 July 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government continue to monitor the Libyan position on this matter, and raised it in discussions with Libyan Ministers as recently as February 2009. The Libyans maintain their firm view that they consider the matter closed. The Government therefore see no prospect of a bilateral agreement on this matter and I therefore did not raise this matter with the Libyan Leader.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Minister for Europe will reply to the letters of 16 April and 14 May from the hon. Member for Forest of Dean, regarding expatriates, reference FD7868. 
The hon. Member's letters of 16 April 2009 and 14 May 2009 are not for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to answer. My hon. Friend the
Minister of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (Angela Eagle), replied to the hon. Member's letters on 17 June 2009.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 July 2009, Official Report, column 548W, on Ministerial policy: advisers, what the names of the three members of his Department based in 10 Downing Street are; what their job descriptions are; for how long each has been posted there; and what advice they provide to his Department while on secondment. 
Chris Bryant: Of the three advisers referred to in the previous answer, Simon McDonald has been officially based at the Cabinet Office, rather than at No. 10, as Foreign Policy Adviser to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, since 2007. Two other members of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff are based at No. 10 as foreign policy advisers. Tom Fletcher since September 2007 and Nick Catsaras since July 2008.
FCO officials at No. 10 advising the Prime Minster on foreign policy issues work very closely with officials from the Department for International Development, the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
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