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Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions each UK mission has raised the question of persecution or discrimination in relation to (a) the Christian faith, (b) the Islamic faith, (c) Judaism, (d) Sikhism, (e) Hinduism, (f) Buddhism and (g) other religious faiths in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK condemns all instances of persecution and discrimination against individuals and groups because of their faith or belief, wherever they occur and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.
All the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) overseas missions have a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in their host countries. Our embassies raise freedom of religion or belief in a variety of different contexts. We take action on individual cases where persecution or discrimination has occurred; lobby for changes in discriminatory practices and laws; raise freedom of religion or belief in bilateral and EU human rights dialogues; and work in the UN and other international organisations to uphold universal standards. The FCO does not keep statistics on our lobbying on religious persecution or indeed on broader human rights issues.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Sudanese Government and (b) the UN on the peacekeeping patrols in Darfur being blocked; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We regularly discuss UN peacekeeping in Darfur with the UN, the Government of Sudan and other parties in Darfur, emphasising the importance of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid operation (UNAMID) in Darfur being able to exercise its full mandate in accordance with the Statement of Forces Agreement. On 30 November 2009 the UN Security Council reiterated its full support for UNAMID and emphasised the need for all parties in Darfur to unconditionally guarantee full access to UNAMID patrols in Darfur. On 12 November 2009 we participated in a demarche setting out to the UN and African Union our strong concern at the Government of Sudan's non-compliance with the Status of Forces Agreement and urging them to take all necessary measures to ensure that Sudan complies with its terms.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the proportion of the Taliban's income which derives from the illicit trade in opium. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the report Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The Transnational Threat of Afghan Opium on 21 October 2009. In it the UNODC estimates that the Taliban in Afghanistan now derive between $90-160 million per year from taxing opium production. There are no accurate assessments of what proportion of the Taliban's income comes from the drugs trade. However, the UK assesses that the opium trade represents a significant proportion of the Taliban's income.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of incidents of anti-Semitism in the US; whether he has had recent discussions with the US Administration on that matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
I have not received any recent reports of anti-Semitism in the US. For a more detailed explanation of ongoing discussions between the UK and US on the issue of anti-Semitism, I refer the hon. Member to my
answer of 3 December 2009, in which I said that we continue to work closely with the US Administration and other partners to combat anti-Semitism wherever it occurs.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the answer of 9 September 2009, Official Report, column 1969W, on Western Sahara: human rights, whether the matter of human rights abuses in the Non-Self Governing Territory of Western Sahara related to calls for a referendum was raised with Morocco by EU officials in the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights, Democratisation and Governance on 24 July 2009. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The EU and Morocco held positive and open discussions in the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights, Democratisation and Governance on 24 July 2009. A wide range of human rights-related issues were discussed, including women's rights, freedom of expression and the rights of detainees. Whilst there was no discussion relating specifically to the issue of Western Sahara, Morocco has a responsibility towards the people living there and therefore the discussions that took place did not exclude Western Sahara.
We are fully aware of the Afghan Public Protection Force project being piloted in Wardak province with the help of the US. We welcome the principle of empowering individual communities to take a greater role in providing their own security. We will remain in close contact with the Afghan Government and the US on its progress and look forward to discussing the results of this pilot with them in due course. Only once the pilot has been rigorously evaluated will any decisions on expansion, including to Helmand, be taken.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the proportion of armed forces personnel who deploy to Helmand province equipped with a cricket box for groin protection; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kevan Jones:
All of the protective personal equipment provided to armed forces personnel is constantly under review. The Osprey body armour systems have long been considered to be among the best in the world, and the survival rates are testimony to that; however, a direct by-product of that is that personnel are now
surviving with other associated and sometimes life-changing injuries. We are continually seeking ways to further protect our personnel, and work is well under way to research ways of providing additional protection including for the whole groin area.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department paid for Jet A1 and diesel fuel delivered to Camp Bastion in support of UK operations in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; 
Mr. Quentin Davies [holding answer 7 December 2009]: Fuel for both Bastion and Kandahar Airbase is paid for from the same budget. During the last 12 calendar months £85,669,000 was paid for aviation fuel; and £43,058,000 for ground fuel for both locations. Based upon information from FY 2008-09 onwards the average monthly cost of aviation fuel was £6,070,000; and £2,891,000 for ground fuel for both Bastion and Kandahar Airbase. The information for fuel costs prior to FY 2008-09 is not held centrally.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps the Department is taking to enable mail and postal services provided for armed forces personnel in Afghanistan to manage the volume of letters and parcels expected over the Christmas period. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: Over the Christmas period, the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) employs extra staff to ensure that all HM Forces mail to all world-wide destinations including Afghanistan is dispatched promptly.
The Enduring Free Mail Service which operates all year round is bolstered by the Christmas Free Mail Service (CFMS) for one month before Christmas, where the Free Post is extended to cover not only Operations and their supporting ships, but all destinations where HM Forces are deployed.
MOD undertook press and media campaigns in the run up to Christmas to promote the reduction in volume of Unsolicited Mail, which places a considerable burden on the Supply Chain, which, left unchecked, can seriously delay personal mail.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual number is of (i) items of night vision equipment, (ii) pieces of body armour and (iii) small arms for pre-deployment training. 
Where there is a shortfall against the pre-deployment training requirement, this reflects the newness of equipment, or the growth in forces deployed. We are making further progress in closing the gap and should meet the full requirement for each equipment type identified (except the Sig Pistol) by July 2010, and in some cases earlier than July. All pistols (some 25,000) are due to be replaced as part of the Soldier System Lethality programme.
In addition to the equipment allocated specifically for pre-deployment training, further equipment is held by units themselves; these items are not included in the figures as they are not specifically held for pre-deployment training.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2009, Official Report, columns 287-8W, on Afghanistan: peacekeeping operations, what compensation is payable for loss of (a) the penis and (b) normal use of the penis under the provisions of the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation scheme) Order 2005; and what level of severity of injury on the scheme's scale such compensation represents. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) Order 2005 makes provision of compensation for all members and former members of the regular armed forces or reserve forces should they be injured, become ill or die as a result of service. Awards are tariff based depending upon the nature and severity of the injury. There is no standard provision for particular types of injury or theatre of operation.
|Tariff||Descriptor||Compensation award (£)|
Infertility-this level will also attract a guaranteed income payment (GIP) which is a tax-free index linked payment that is paid monthly for life after leaving the armed forces. The GIP is determined by the individual's salary at time of discharge from service, multiplied by a relevant factor.
Armoured vehicles are used by a number of corps and units across the armed forces. Units are required to train using a ratio of 1.5 crew operators (drivers) per vehicle against their peacetime establishment. This ratio is different for operational requirements, which is usually set at two crew operators per vehicle.
Mr. Quentin Davies: Work to prepare the site commenced in 2007, and includes site investigation, the removal of redundant services, preparatory ground works and services diversion works. This work is allowable prior to planning consent being received, and is currently planned to complete by the end of 2010.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the length of the construction period for the new enriched uranium facility at AWE Aldermaston as proposed in the planning application made to West Berkshire council; what plans he has for the usage of the uranium processed there; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The replacement enriched uranium handling facility at the Atomic Weapons Establishment is due on current plans to become operational in 2018. The materiel outputs of the facility are for use in the Defence nuclear programme. I am not prepared to disclose further details of usage as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice national security and defence in the UK.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 11 November 2009, Official Report, column 403W, on Atomic Weapons Establishment: radioactive waste, who owns the radioactive waste at the site; and whether the costs of storing radioactive waste at Atomic Weapons Establishment sites are covered in the contract arrangements between AWE plc and his Department. 
Mr. Quentin Davies: The Ministry of Defence owns the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) sites and all radioactive waste stored on those sites. The cost of storing radioactive waste at AWE is covered in the management and operation contract between AWE Management Ltd and the Department.
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