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Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to seek (a) the ending of restrictions on access to Gaza imposed by the Israeli authorities and (b) to ensure that international law is observed in that area. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu on 15 October 2009. He clearly expressed the UK's concerns regarding the current situation in Gaza and urged unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.
Although there is no permanent physical Israeli presence in Gaza, Israel maintains a significant degree of control, including control of Gaza's borders, airspace and territorial waters. The UK does not consider that Israel's obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949 have ceased to apply in respect of Gaza and we continue to make this clear.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 July 2009, Official Report, columns 605-06W, on the British Indian Ocean Territory, who the interveners are in the case. 
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of India on the situation of the Chin refugees in Mizoram state; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK believes that the status quo in Burma is inherently unstable and that the case of the Chin refugees is just one example of the Burmese regime's repressive policies towards the country's ethnic groups.
In response to an assessment undertaken by the UN, the Department for International Development has approved funding of £880,000 for emergency aid delivered through the UN Development Programme, the World Food Programme and their local partners. About 65,000 people have benefited from this aid. We are keeping the situation under close review.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of India on reported persecution of Christians in Orissa state; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has not discussed the situation of Christians in Orissa State with the Government of India. When the violence perpetrated against these communities occurred in 2008, my noble Friend, the former Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch Brown, raised the issue with his Indian counterpart. Our high commission in New Delhi continues to maintain a constructive dialogue with the Indian authorities about human rights and issues that affect all India's minority groups.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 12 October 2009, Official Report, column 1WS, on delegated legislation (counter terrorism), if he will make it his policy to seek European Union sanctions requiring the financial sectors in EU member states to cease all business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The measures taken by the Treasury under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 against Bank Mellat and the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines was used specifically to mitigate the risks posed to the UK national interest by activity in Iran that facilitates the development or production of nuclear weapons. Where the Government identify such activities, they are committed to acting to curtail them.
We are clear that if Iran does not engage seriously in negotiations to restore the international community's confidence in its nuclear programme, multilateral sanctions will be required. We are working closely with other EU member states to ensure that the EU is in a position to enact measures if this should prove necessary. At the present, the content of this work must remain confidential, but I will inform the House when it is possible to discuss these measures in more detail.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the human rights situation of the Jewish community in Iran since July 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The situation of the Jewish community in Iran has long been of concern to us. Its members have suffered discrimination under the Islamic Republic: for example, Iranian Jews are barred from running for President, and from a number of professions, such as the armed forces. President Ahmadinejad's repeated denials of the Holocaust-most recently at the UN General Assembly in September-only serve to increase our concern.
We have been disturbed by the Iranian authorities' response to the protests that followed the disputed June 2009 presidential election, and in particular by the death and imprisonment sentences handed down in recent days. One of those convicted was the Jewish teenager, Yaghoghil Shaolian. He has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. We are seeking more information about his case, as well as those of the other defendants, and will raise our concerns with the Iranian authorities, since those convicted and sentenced appear to have been denied a fair trial.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Kenya on the missed interim deadline for the establishment of a local tribunal to try those accused of orchestrating the violence which followed the elections in that country in December 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK is concerned that no action has been taken on bringing to justice those accused of orchestrating Kenya's post-election violence in 2007, neither by a special tribunal nor referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC). With our EU partners and other like-minded countries we are continuing to make clear that credible action is necessary.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary encouraged Kenya's reform process, including tackling impunity and post-election violence, during his meeting with Prime Minister Odinga in London last July. Since then my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for International Development and the former Minister of State for Africa have also encouraged the Kenyan Government to establish a credible tribunal to investigate and prosecute those responsible.
The Government support the role being played by Kofi Annan and endorses his proposal that the ICC continue its discussions with the Kenyan Government to achieve justice. We continue to believe action on impunity is needed to prevent future violence and to send a strong message that Kenyans will not tolerate violence.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects the Government to ratify the 2005 Protocol to the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 15 October 2009]: The Government remain committed to ratifying the protocol which we signed in January 2007, although we do not yet have a firm timetable for introduction of the required Bill into Parliament.
Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to seek endorsement by the United Nations Security Council of the recommendations for action contained in the report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict. 
"did not do enough to recognise Israel's right to self-defence but,... did raise serious issues that democratic governments should address through ... [a] full and independent inquiry".
Given our concerns about the report, we will not be seeking its endorsement by the UN Security Council. But we will continue with our international partners to condemn Hamas' use of terrorism and press Israel to conduct a proper independent inquiry.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the proposed agreement between British Gas and the Israel Electric Corporation to purchase gas from the Gaza Marine Field; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of progress in restarting negotiations on the Middle East Peace Process; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The US Administration, from the President down, have made clear their commitment to restarting negotiations and continue to work towards that goal. We are offering them our full support, as I made clear to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on 11 October 2009. While significant obstacles undoubtedly remain, the alternatives to credible negotiations towards a two-state solution are far worse.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his NATO counterparts on the involvement of young people in the UK in NATO activities. 
NATO is currently in the process of producing its new Strategic Concept, which will set the Alliance's direction for the coming years. We support the Secretary General's efforts to make this as consultative as possible. That includes setting up an online discussion forum through which members of the public, including young people in the UK, can give their views on the future priorities of the Alliance. It can be found at:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also supports the work of the Atlantic Council UK which has recently set up a Youth Chapter and will begin a schools programme next month designed to increase awareness among young people in this country of the important work NATO does.
Through our contributions to NATO's civil budget we also support the work of the Alliance's Public Diplomacy division, which hosts a number of youth events. These include youth summits held in the margins of NATO's annual summits, the most recent of which took place in April.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the (a) area and (b) proportion of Greek Cypriot-owned land in northern Cyprus that has been (i) sold by the administration in northern Cyprus and (ii) developed by Turkish Cypriots (A) following the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and (B) since the referendum in 2004; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of the population of northern Cyprus constituted by (a) Turkish Cypriots and (b) Turkish settlers; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Bryant: The current situation hinders the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot economy. We welcome the EU's commitment to support the development of the Turkish Cypriot community through financial aid and trade liberalisation. However, only an agreed settlement can provide the Turkish Cypriots with the full benefits of EU membership.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to encourage the Pakistani Government to repeal laws which discriminate against Christians. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK supports freedom of religion and condemns persecution because of faith or religious belief. We view the difficult situation facing religious minorities with concern and regularly raise human rights concerns both bilaterally with the Government of Pakistan and together with our EU partners.
Alongside our EU partners the UK continues to encourage the Government of Pakistan to repeal or amend the blasphemy laws to reduce the misuse of legislation to discriminate against minority groups, including Christians. In December 2008 the EU called upon the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to effectively protect freedom of belief and expression, and to reform discriminatory laws such as the blasphemy laws. In August 2009 the EU also raised the attacks on Christians in Gojra and Koiran in Punjab.
We continue to encourage Pakistan to fulfil it commitments under the UN Human Rights Council. During the last Periodic Review in May 2008 we secured a commitment from the Government of Pakistan that checks would be introduced to regulate investigations into allegations of blasphemy that affect minority groups.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah; and if he will make a statement. 
David Miliband: The UK has made clear its support for Egyptian-sponsored efforts to build a non-partisan, technocratic Palestinian Government, which would be capable of working productively with the international community.
Chris Bryant: There has been an increase in sporadic violent incidents in the Indonesian province of Papua over the last six months. There was an initial upsurge around the time of the April 2009 parliamentary elections, primarily in Puncak Jaya and Jayawijaya districts and Nabire and Abepura towns. There have been further incidents over the last three months in Mimika district in which an Australian national and a number of Indonesian police officers were killed. According to our embassy contacts, the Indonesian policing response to these incidents is generally considered to have been measured.
We recognise that real challenges remain in Papua. Our ambassador visited Papua last month and discussed these issues with the Indonesian authorities. He emphasised the need to fully and transparently investigate any allegations of human rights abuses.
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