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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government plan to take to monitor and seek to reduce levels of anti-Semitism overseas; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
All the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overseas missions have a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in their host countries. We have taken a number of measures to tackle anti-Semitism, many of them in response to the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism, commissioned by John Mann MP and published in 2006. These include supporting the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, to help educate young people around the world about the destructiveness of hate; working through embassies worldwide to support efforts to tackle anti-Semitism; and working through mulitlateral fora, including the UN, EU, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe.
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 Australia; whether he has had recent discussions with the Government of Australia on that matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: I am aware of the recent release of a report by Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council at the annual meeting of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry held in Sydney on 29 November 2009 highlighting a reported increase in anti-Semitic incidents. The report also indicated that Australians are fundamentally tolerant and opposed to discrimination, vilification or harassment of Jews and other segments of the population. The Australian Government were also highlighted as making significant developments to address this issue over the last 20 years.
The Government are committed to tackling anti-Semitism. We condemn all instances of persecution and discrimination against individuals and groups wherever they occur. All the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's overseas missions have a responsibility to monitor and raise human rights in their host countries.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the number of trade unionists murdered in Colombia in the last 12 months; what steps he is taking to assist the Colombian Government to reduce this figure; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Bryant [holding answer 10 December 2009]: We see a variety of reports from different sources on the number of trade unionists murdered in Colombia. The bottom line is that one trade union murder is one too many and the level of violence and human rights abuse in Colombia is unacceptable.
The Government support the work of human rights defenders in Colombia through a range of projects. Projects approved for this financial year and beyond total around £1 million; two of these specifically help tackle impunity and three are aimed at strengthening the position of human rights defenders. We are also working with the UN on a research initiative to help improve the protection of trade union human rights and the development of positive labour relations.
"the defence of human rights is necessary and legitimate for democracy, and in a country such as Colombia, which takes pride in being completely open and ready to accept international security in this area.
We welcome these public statements from the highest levels of the Colombian Government."
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made an assessment of the findings of the UN report on allegations of illegal funding of the FDLR on an international scale; and whether he plans to raise the matter of such allegations in the UN Security Council. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis [holding answer 8 December 2009]: The UN Group of Experts' report, which among other things considers external funding of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), makes a valuable contribution to the overall efforts of the international community to help deal with the problems of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The report is frank, independent and fearless, and the Group of Experts have set out their findings and thinking clearly and cogently. We commend them on their work.
The UK has worked closely with the UN Security Council (UNSC) on the DRC sanctions regime. The UNSC agreed unanimously in November to renew and expand the DRC sanctions regime. This is legally binding for all UN member states and represents another step forward in terms of international action to disrupt and deter those who support armed groups and facilitate the continuing conflict in the Great Lakes region.
The UK is committed to the UN sanctions regime. We will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company-including those based in the UK-against whom there is sufficient evidence to do so.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of his Department's analysis of responses to the public consultation on possible legislation in respect of the overseas operations of private military and security companies. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a public consultation on the Government's proposed policy to promote high standards of conduct in the private military and security companies industry internationally on 24 April 2009.
We received detailed responses from over 20 organisations and individuals. Officials have analysed these in detail. We aim to publish the final summary of responses, including a Government response to the contributions received, as soon as possible.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of staff of his Department who (a) have been employed in the middle east and south Asia in (i) 2008 and (ii) 2009 and (b) will be employed in that area in each of the next five years. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) prioritises its resources where they are most needed in order to deliver its departmental strategic objectives and we aim to respond quickly to any new priorities by moving existing staff resources to new locations when necessary. As such, it is not possible to estimate the number of staff that will be employed in the middle east and south Asia in each of the next five years.
Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a responsibility to maintain our historic listed buildings in accordance with the requirements of leases and English Heritage. As part of an ongoing programme of redecoration and refurbishment work £5,299 was spent in the last 12 months on gilding in the State Dining Room at Lancaster House in accordance with lease requirements. This room is used throughout the year for hosting official functions for all Government Departments.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many security passes his Department has issued to contractors providing consultancy services in the last 12 months. 
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what observations were made by UK representatives of the presidential election in Honduras on 29 November 2009; and what recognition the UK will afford to the Government formed by any of the candidates who participated. 
Chris Bryant [holding answer 10 December 2009]: No UK representatives travelled to Honduras to observe the presidential elections in Honduras on 29 November 2009, and no official EU election observation mission was deployed. We understand that approximately 300 international observers attended polling stations on election day and two election experts from the European Commission were in-country at the time of the elections.
Prior to the elections we made clear our belief that the democratically elected President, Manuel Zelaya, had to be returned to office. We note that the elections, although carried out under abnormal circumstances, were held in a largely peaceful manner. The UK, and our EU partners, will continue to encourage all parties to work towards full implementation of the San José/Tegucigalpa Accord and restoration of constitutional democratic order in the country.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department provided assistance to international missions to monitor the conduct of the recent presidential election in Honduras. 
Chris Bryant: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not send any observers to the presidential elections in Honduras on 29 November 2009, nor did we provide any assistance to other international observation missions deployed there. Two experts from the European Commission were present during the elections, but this did not constitute a formal EU election observation mission. Following the elections, the EU issued a statement on 1 December 2009 which expressed regret that the Tegucigalpa/San José Accord was not fully implemented ahead of the elections, therefore "leading to an electoral process under abnormal circumstances". The UK notes that the elections were held in a largely peaceful manner, but continues to call for the full implementation of the negotiated agreement and the restoration of constitutional, democratic order in the country.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the comments of the Minister for Care Services in Progress magazine on 26 March 2008, how many foreign nationals have been deported because they were in the country illegally in each year since 1997. 
The Home Office publishes information on the individuals removed or deported voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will reply to the hon. Member for Weston-Super-Mare's letters of 25 August, 1 October and 2 November 2009 on behalf of his constituent Mr. John Dunster. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the discovery by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) of three explosive devices in the West Bank on Thursday 3 December; whether he (a) has given and (b) plans to give assistance to the IDF to prevent terrorist attacks in Israel; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have received no such reports and the Israel Defence Forces have not asked for assistance. The UK has long made clear that terrorist violence is unacceptable. We shall continue to call on all armed groups to renounce the use of violence.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the number of rockets held by Hezbollah in Lebanon that are capable of reaching (a) Haifa, (b) Tel Aviv and (c) other locations in Israel; and if he will make a statement. 
The latest report from the UN Secretary General on UN Security Council Resolution 1701 however, highlighted that Hezbollah continues to maintain a substantial military capacity distinct from that of the Lebanese state. This is available on the UN website at
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Israel on (a) the use of sand pits to hold Palestinian detainees and (b) the transfer into detention within Israel of Palestinian detainees (i) during and (ii) following Operation Cast Lead. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We closely monitor Israeli detention operations and the situation of Palestinian prisoners. We will continue to emphasise to the Israeli authorities the importance of ensuring their legal processes are in accordance with international law and democratic norms.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the conclusion of the report of the UN fact finding mission on the Gaza conflict in respect of the blockade of Gaza. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have stated the Government position on the Goldstone report on a number of occasions. Some aspects of the report were flawed-particularly its failure to acknowledge fully Israel's right to defend herself, and the inadequate attention paid to Hamas' actions. However, the issues raised by the report were very serious, and they should be credibly and independently investigated.
We have also been clear on our position on Israeli restrictions on access through the Gaza crossings. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised this with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 14 October 2009. EU Foreign Ministers called for an "immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings" in conclusions on 8 December 2009, which are available at:
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the blockade of Gaza by (a) HM Ambassador to Israel and (b) HM Consul General to the Palestinian Authority; and on what date each most recently visited Gaza. 
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice he has received on whether (a) Israel, (b) Hamas and (c) Egypt are in breach of the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1860; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: UN Security Council resolution 1860 is clear in its call for a durable ceasefire; the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance; and the prevention of illicit arms trafficking throughout Gaza.
Our position on Israeli restrictions on access through the Gaza crossings is well known. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised this with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 14 October 2009. EU Foreign Ministers called for an "immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings" in conclusions on 8 December 2009, which are available at:
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