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Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Afghan National Police project is intended to support the development of a disciplined body of people with professional policing skills in order
to win the confidence of the people of Afghanistan. The funding pays for the recruitment and deployment of credible experienced officers to strategically important mentoring posts in Afghanistan. Securing these key posts will enhance our ability to influence and drive police reform.
This project is part of the UK's strategy of supporting the development of the Afghan National Police, and to increase its capacity and effectiveness in law enforcement. This is consistent with our broader strategy of ultimately enabling the International Community to transfer responsibility for security to the Government of Afghanistan. In the project's first year (2007-08) we provided £687,061. We provided £699,723 in 2008-09, and we currently estimate that we will spend approximately £1,160,000 in 2009-10.
We assess that this ongoing project is meeting its programme goals of developing a better trained and more accountable ANP, that is able to carry out basic policing functions, and is contributing to UK strategic objectives in Afghanistan.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 183W, on Afghanistan: reconstruction, what the purpose of the Ministry of Counter Narcotics Communication project was; for what reason his Department decided to fund the project; how much it received from his Department in its first year of operation; for what reason his Department ceased to fund the programme in 2006-07; and what assessment has been made of its effectiveness. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Ministry of Counter Narcotics Communication Project (MCNCP) supported capacity building in the Afghan Ministry for Counter Narcotics to engage with the media. Specifically, the project enabled the Ministry for Counter Narcotics to oversee a national public awareness campaign, broadcasting on Kabul and provincial radio stations.
MCNCP received £820,000 in Financial Year 2006-07. Capacity building support for the Afghan Ministry for Counter Narcotics is now conducted under another project with a wider scope. The MCNCP was regularly reviewed and met its programme goals.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 183W, on Afghanistan: reconstruction, what the purpose of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan Mobile Detection Teams project was; for what reason his Department decided to fund the project; how much it received from his Department in its first year of operation; for what reason his Department ceased to fund the programme in 2008-09; and what assessment has been made of its effectiveness. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan Mobile Detection Teams project was intended to provide training, mentoring and equipment for the creation of Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) mobile drugs detection teams. The aim of the
project was to increase the Afghan Government's drug interdiction capacity. The project received £7.8 million in its first year (2005-06).
The project delivered by enabling the CNPA to achieve some substantial narcotics seizures. In 2007 and 2008 the teams seized drugs with a UK street value of more than £100 million, including half a ton of heroin. In 2008-09 the UK's priorities shifted to focussing on interdicting trafficking networks further up the supply chain and at targets with stronger links to the insurgency. Funding for the project was discontinued in 2008-09 after it was assessed that it would not have delivered sufficiently against the new priority.
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department provided travel advice to the organisers of the (a) Plymouth-Dakar Challenge and (b) Adventurists Africa Rally prior to those events. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials from the Counter Terrorism Department met organisers of the Plymouth-Dakar Challenge and the Adventurists Africa Rally on 9 December 2009. Both teams agreed to end their rallies in Morocco after discussing the travel advice, which is available on the FCO website, and their planned routes which passed through areas to which we advise against all travel.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Chinese government on its policy towards practitioners of Falun Gong. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have serious concerns about the mistreatment of Falun Gong adherents and regularly raise this issue with the Chinese Government. We last raised our concerns about Falun Gong practitioners at the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue on 12-13 January 2009. We asked how many re-education through labour detainees there were and what proportion were Falun Gong. The Chinese responded saying that reforms of the system of re-education through labour were taking place. We will raise this issue again at the next round of our human rights dialogue. We are yet to confirm a date for this but we are pressing for it to be in early 2010.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent representations has he made to the government of Iran regarding the number of Baha'is in prison or awaiting trial; whether he has discussed with that government his policy on the death penalty; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Ivan Lewis:
As of 13 January 2010, according to the Baha'i International Community some 50 Baha'is were believed to be in detention in Iran. At least
236 cases were still ongoing with the Iranian authorities-including individuals in prison, released awaiting trial or free pending appeal.
We have made clear to the Iranian authorities on several occasions our concerns at the large number of Baha'is in detention, and the conditions in which they are detained. We have expressed explicit concern at the charges of 'espionage' and "corruption on earth" levelled against the seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned for over a year without trial. Alongside EU partners we expressed our serious concern about the start of their trial on 12 January 2010, as the charges against them appear to be motivated by their belonging to a minority faith.
We also make regular representations concerning the application of the death penalty in Iran, including its use against juvenile offenders. Our position on the death penalty is clear: we oppose it in all its forms. Many of the most basic minimum standards surrounding the use of capital punishment are absent. Executions are often carried out in public and sentences we are concerned that many handed down as the result of an unfair trial. Alongside EU partners we have reiterated our firm and continued opposition to capital punishment, and urged the Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty completely and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on executions as urged by United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what role he expects the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to play in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear policy. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The EU High Representative has played a key role on the Iran nuclear dossier since 2003, both as the lead interlocutor with the Iranians and in leading EU discussions. I expect Baroness Ashton and her office to continue playing this role in negotiations, and hope that Iran decides to take the opportunity to seek productive and sensible dialogue on their nuclear policy.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Mongolian counterpart on the recent announcement of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in that country; and what assistance he can provide to encourage the government of Mongolia to abolish the death penalty. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the alleged use of European banks to
launder money by (a) the President of North Korea and (b) other senior members of the North Korean regime; what recent discussions he has had with his (i) European and (ii) US counterparts on this matter; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government do not comment on matters of intelligence. However, the Government play a leading role in international efforts against money laundering, notably through its membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The risk of money laundering posed by certain jurisdictions, and the global response to this, is the subject of ongoing work in the FATF.
In 2009 the UK implemented further sanctions against North Korea under UN Security Council Resolution 1874, placing restrictions on financial institutions providing services to North Korea and requiring enhanced vigilance by member states. While aimed at reducing the threat from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, such measures also serve to strengthen international anti-money laundering controls.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK is committed to help Pakistan achieve its vision of becoming a stable, economically and socially developed democracy and meet its poverty reduction targets. The Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy announced by the Prime Minister on 29 April 2009 in the House of Commons set out objectives for UK policy towards Pakistan. They focus on counter-terrorism, regional stability, governance, counter-proliferation and economic development.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the proportion of essential supplies which have been able to enter Gaza through Israeli-controlled checkpoints; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK continues to be concerned by the current humanitarian situation in Gaza. According to a recent UN report, the weekly total of truckloads of goods entering Gaza through Israeli checkpoints for the week of 10-16 January 2010 was 534. This constitutes less than 23 per cent. of the average number of truckloads entering Gaza per week pre-2007. We are unable to establish the total number of truckloads actually attempting to enter Gaza, but it is clear that imported truckloads remain below needs. We continue to press the Israeli authorities to lessen restrictions on access into Gaza and allow the legitimate passage of humanitarian aid, reconstruction materials, trade goods, and people.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is the policy of the Government that linking access for aid and reconstruction materials to Hamas's refusal to renounce violence constitutes collective punishment of the people of Gaza within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have serious concerns about the Israeli restrictions on Gaza and the impact they have on the lives of Gazans. Although there is no permanent physical Israeli presence in Gaza, given the significant control that Israel has over Gaza's borders, airspace and territorial waters, Israel retains obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying power. The Fourth Geneva Convention is clear that an occupying power must co-operate in allowing the passage and distribution of relief consignments. The restrictions currently imposed on the passage of relief supplies are, as we see it, a disproportionate response to the security threat.
The extent of Israeli restrictions, and the threat to Israel from militants in Gaza, varies constantly. Rather than focus on whether the restrictions at any given time amount to collective punishment, we have consistently pressed the Israeli Government to comply with their obligations under international law and allow passage of relief supplies.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effects of restrictions on access into Gaza via Israel for representatives of the international media; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice clearly states that we advise against all travel to Gaza. We are aware that a number of British journalists and aid workers visit Gaza, but we have not facilitated their entry via Israel.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what criminal offences have been (a) created and (b) abolished by primary legislation sponsored by the Government Equalities Office since 1 May 2008. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality whether an assessment has been made of the effects of the employment provisions of the Equality Bill on the Roman Catholic Church's prohibition of women priests. 
Michael Jabez Foster: The Equality Bill will not alter the scope of the current law which allows an exception in the case of employment for the purposes of an organised religion which includes Ministers of Religion. Therefore the Roman Catholic Church will still be able to require priests to be male.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the 9,120 other birds used in scientific procedures in 2008 were (a) passerines (songbirds) and (b) taken from the wild; and whether his Department plans to provide details of species used in future such statistical releases. 
Meg Hillier: Passerines of a wide range of species are thought to account for a significant proportion of the 9,120 'other birds' based on the information received as part of the data collection, however exact numbers are not available.
The large majority of these 9,120 animals were used in studies where the primary field of research was indicated as 'Zoology' (4,837 animals) or as 'Ecology and environmental studies other than toxicology/safety evaluation' (3,043 animals).
There are no plans at present to provide details of the species used within the 'Other birds' category. However the data collection and publication is kept under review to meet user needs and legislative requirements, in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, and is subject to assessment by the UK Statistics Authority under the Statistics and Registration Act 2007.
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