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Peru: Foreign Relations

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Peruvian counterpart on Peru's adherence to the United Nations General Assembly's declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples; and if he will make a statement. [314704]

Chris Bryant: The UK maintains an open dialogue with Peru on human rights. During Peru's Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2008, the UK recommended that Peru tackle discrimination against vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples. Following outbreaks of violence between police and civilians, including indigenous groups, in July 2009 our ambassador to Peru spoke to both Prime Minister Velasquez Quesquen and Foreign Minister Garcia Belaunde urging dialogue and the establishment of a process to give indigenous groups an equal voice in planning the sustainable development of Peru's Amazon region.

We continue to follow closely Peru's progress on the rights of indigenous peoples, including implementing the recommendations the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples made after his visit to Peru in July 2009. We welcome the dialogue mechanism established between the Peruvian government and indigenous groups and the recent creation of two natural reserves on part of Peru's indigenous territory. This measure safeguards the biodiversity of the area and natural resources for the indigenous communities living there.

The Government are committed to protecting human rights of indigenous people although we do not plan to sign International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169. As the UK does not have any indigenous people as defined by article la of the Convention we would be unable to give effect to the Convention. The convention sets out a framework for the way in which governments operate in regard to indigenous people within their own territories.

The UK supported the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted in September 2007, as we consider this an important tool to protect indigenous people. This declaration is important because it represents the views and wishes of indigenous people as well as those of the UN member states, recognises the rights of indigenous individuals and establishes the parameters for future work on the basis of mutual respect.

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We are also committed to implementing EU Council Resolution of 30 November 1998 on Indigenous peoples within the framework of the development co-operation of the Community and the member states, a policy which indigenous people were involved in developing. In 2005, we agreed the joint statement on EU development policy that committed the EU to strengthening the mainstreaming of indigenous issues. This involves regularly meeting representatives of indigenous groups to discuss policy and implementation, as well as making indigenous groups eligible for funding under EU human rights and democracy programmes. The EU is also funding the ILO to work on implementing ILO Convention 169 in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.

The Government have also set out its plans and undertakings in the DFID 2005 Policy Paper "Reducing poverty by tackling social exclusion", which includes the rights of indigenous peoples. These include undertaking to identify which groups in society are excluded and why, through the country governance analysis process which feeds into country assistance plans, as well as recognising that indigenous peoples are often denied rights especially through their language not being recognised and/or through living in remote or isolated geographical locations. These also include supporting programmes which seek to strengthen the rights, voice and political representation and participation of excluded groups.

United Nations

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes the UK is seeking in the composition of the UN Security Council. [314790]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government strongly support reform of the UN Security Council, as part of a wide range of UN reforms. The UK supports permanent seats for Brazil, India, Germany and Japan, together with permanent African representation. In the absence of agreement on a permanent reform model, the UK believes that an intermediate solution could help to achieve the goal of a reformed Security Council.

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the UK's objectives are for reform of the United Nations. [314791]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Government's key objective is a more efficient and effective United Nations which is able to meet 21st century challenges. Specific areas of reform that the UK is supporting include: reform of the UN Security Council; stronger linkages between peacekeeping and peace building; more effective leadership in, and management of, UN bodies; and implementation of the system-wide coherence agenda aimed at improving the UN's performance in the humanitarian and development fields.

Venezuela: Politics and Government

Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political and economic stability of Venezuela and its role in the region. [314417]

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Chris Bryant: Venezuela is currently going through a difficult period both economically and politically. Water and electricity shortages across Venezuela have worsened, with cuts of up to five hours per day in the states of Táchira, Mérida, Falcón and Bolivar. Caracas, which has been deliberately spared, is now also affected by water cuts, particularly in the barrios. There are genuine concerns that electricity supplies to Caracas will be severely affected too. The Guri dam, which supplies more than 70 per cent. of Venezuela's electricity, is at its lowest level for years and Venezuela is only in the first of a six-month 'dry season'. Most of this reflects lack of investment, not helped by the highest per capita energy and water use in the region resulting from economically distorting subsidies and price controls.

Although oil prices have recovered, the economy contracted around 1.5 per cent. in 2009, which in turn has limited the Government's ability to sustain previous levels of social spending. With subsidies reducing, important social "missions" such as Mercal, the subsidised food programme, have had to increase prices (by as much as 80 per cent. on some lines). The weekly consumer basket remains about 30 per cent. higher than the minimum wage. Inflation remains high at, officially, 27 per cent.

On the weekend of 26 January 2010, the Venezuelan Government took six cable television channels off the air for not televising a Government message. The privately owned RCTV International, openly opposed to President Hugo Chavez, is one of those affected. This has led to major student protests with reports of at least one student being killed in the city of Mérida. There has been strong condemnation from the US and EU partners on the closure of the stations.


Departmental Public Consultation

Grant Shapps: To ask the Solicitor-General how many citizens' juries or summits have been hosted by the Law Officers' Departments since October 2008; on what date each event took place; and which Ministers were present at each event. [314528]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service has two types of forums where citizens are present and are consulted on CPS policy and strategy developments:

The National Community Accountability Forum

Community Involvement Panels

Ministers have not been present at any of the forum meetings.

No citizens' juries or summits have been held by any of the remaining Law Officers' Departments.

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Departmental Public Expenditure

David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General how much the Law Officers' Departments spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) works of art and (c) new vehicles in each of the last three years. [312524]

The Solicitor-General: The information requested is contained in the following tables:

Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol), Attorney-General's Office (AGO), HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and National Fraud Office
Financial year Total (£)







(1) Figure for 2007-08 includes expenditure associated with the AGO relocation to 20 Victoria Street.

The above table outlines capital expenditure on furniture, fixtures and fittings. It is not possible to separate spend on furniture from fixtures and fittings without incurring a disproportionate cost, and there has been no recorded expenditure on works of art or new vehicles.

The Serious Fraud Office
Financial year New furnishings New vehicles










(1) The increased spend for 2006-07 includes costs incurred by vacating offices in Verulam Gardens and consolidating accommodation on two sites at Elm Street and Grays Inn Road. (2) The one-off figure 2006-07 is the cost of a specialised incident response and mobile laboratory unit acquired by the SFO and operated by the City of London Police.

The SFO have no record of any expenditure on artwork during the last three financial years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

Total (£ million)( 1)







(1) These figures include expenditure by the RCPO, which merged with the CPS in 2009-10.

The data provided cover items that cost over £500 only and it is possible that additional furniture and furnishings have been purchased at a lower cost. To obtain information on low-value items would incur disproportionate cost.

The CPS is a devolved organisation. To identify spend relating to works of art would require local managers to review all paper procurement records and would incur disproportionate cost.

The CPS has not purchased any new vehicles in the last three years.

Domestic Violence: Prosecutions

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Solicitor-General how many prosecutions there were for offences relating to domestic violence in Suffolk in each year since 1997. [314876]

The Solicitor-General: Since 2005, CPS Suffolk has captured domestic violence (DV) data, using the Services' electronic Compass Case Management System (CMS). The number of defendants prosecuted for offences of domestic violence in Suffolk since 2005 are as follows:

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The collection of complete and comparative data began only in 2005-06.

Government Departments: Criminal Proceedings

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Solicitor-General what guidance her Department has issued on the processing of complaints of criminal conduct on the part of Ministers and Government officials made to (a) the Director of Public Prosecutions and (b) the Crown Prosecution Service. [314272]

The Solicitor-General: I can confirm that neither the Attorney-General nor I have issued guidance to either the Director of Public Prosecutions or to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on the processing of complaints of criminal conduct on the part of Ministers and Government officials. The CPS does not have an investigative function. Complaints of criminal conduct on the part of Ministers or Government officials would be investigated by the police or other relevant law enforcement body. Where an investigation results in a file being passed to the CPS, the prosecution decision will be made by a Crown prosecutor in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Crown Prosecution Service operates a system to regulate (a) access and (b) dissemination of material within the Service relating to (i) investigations into and (ii) prosecutions of (A) Ministers and (B) officials of Government departments. [315161]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) applies the Government Protective Marking Scheme (GPMS) for regulating access to material relating to the investigation and prosecution of alleged criminal conduct within its possession by applying appropriate security classifications. The level of the protective marking will dictate what steps should be taken to prevent any unauthorised disclosure or loss of the item. These steps include specific requirements as to the level of security clearance needed to have access to the material in question, the physical conditions under which it will be stored, and how it will be transmitted within and between locations. The CPS security policy is designed to ensure that all confidential material in the Service's possession is safeguarded in conditions of appropriate security and that access to case papers is restricted to those with a clear business need to see the relevant material.

Legal Guidance issued by the CPS provides that certain categories of cases must be referred by CPS Areas to CPS Headquarters so that they can be dealt with by suitably qualified and senior lawyers. Under this guidance, cases involving Members of Parliament, including Ministers, (acting in their official capacity or office), and other cases involving high-profile people are referred to, and dealt with, by the CPS Special Crime Division (SCD). Where the allegation involves matters in the Minister's or Member's private life, this will usually be dealt with by the local CPS Area. If appropriate, the Director of Public Prosecutions will be kept informed about the progress of such cases.

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Government Departments: Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Solicitor-General what systems are in place in the Government Legal Service to advise its members on (a) responsibilities for compliance with legal obligations under (i) the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and (ii) provisions of the Data Protection Acts, (b) the sanctions for non-compliance with such legislation and (c) the provisions of the common law relating to misconduct in public office. [315159]

The Solicitor-General: Government lawyers are employed in a range of Departments and non-departmental public bodies. Each organisation is responsible for setting and enforcing its own Freedom of Information and Data Protection Act policies and Government lawyers would be expected to comply with the policies of the Department in which they serve.

The Government Legal Service's (GLS) intranet site includes a site containing materials and guidance on information law. In addition a wide range of GLS training on these issues is provided to Government lawyers.

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