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Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had recent discussions with the Chinese Government on the construction of dams on the Irrawaddy river by the China Power Investment Corporation and Burmese Ministry of Energy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have discussed Burma with their Chinese counterparts. In recent weeks officials have discussed our broad concerns about the impact of large-scale construction projects on the human rights of the local population. We have not raised the specific issue of the construction of dams on the Irrawaddy River, but are following developments closely and with increasing concern. Our embassy in Rangoon is also supporting work to assess the social and environmental impact of these projects
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on deportations from Thailand to Burma of ethnic Karen people; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are closely monitoring reports about the possible forced return of Karen refugees to Burma. Our Ambassador to Thailand has raised our concerns with the Thai authorities stressing the importance of adherence to international standards and to Thailand's international obligations. We understand that the Royal Thai Government decided not to deport the 30 families it had originally identified for removal. We are coordinating closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, US and EU partners and will continue to raise the issue with Thai authorities.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had (a) at EU level, (b) with the US administration and (c) with the Burmese Government on the case of Nyi Nyi Aung. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Our embassies in Rangoon and in Washington have discussed the plight of Nyi Nyi Aung and developments in his case with US officials. While we regularly urge the Burmese regime to release all of the more than 2,100 political prisoners currently in detention, we have not raised this specific case directly with the authorities. We would naturally be ready to do so were the US Government to indicate this would be helpful. There has been no formal EU discussion on the case of Nyi Nyi Aung.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the (a) treatment of opposition parties in Burundi and (b) activities of the youth wings affiliated to political parties in Burundi, with particular reference to the (i) National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy and (ii) Front for Democracy in Burundi. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Opposition parties in Burundi have been functioning as normal over the past three months in the run-up to the elections due to start in May, including free circulation of politicians in all areas, holding of party congresses, opening of new party offices and putting forward of election candidates. There have been minor scuffles between the "Inbonerakure", youth wing of the ruling National Council for Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy and the Young Defenders of Burundian Democracy, youth wing of the Front for Democracy in Burundi. The Minister of the Interior has banned all youth wing activity in the province of Kirundo, and has vowed to extend the ban to other provinces in case of further trouble.
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions Capita Group plc tendered for contracts let by his Department in each of the last five years; how many such tenders were successful; how much his Department paid to Capita Group plc for the execution of contracts in each such year; how many contracts which terminate after 2010 Capita Group plc hold with his Department; and what the monetary value is of all outstanding contracts between his Department and Capita Group plc. 
Chris Bryant: Capita Group PLC has primarily provided services to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the last five years undertaking and supporting specific recruitment campaigns as well as recruiting individual specialists and other staff to fill specific slots in the organisation both in the UK and overseas.
The FCO is committed to recruiting a talented and diverse work force, ensuring that the most qualified candidates from the widest range of backgrounds apply. It sometimes outsources specific recruitment campaigns for new entrants, and when specialist knowledge of a specific job market is required. This is more cost effective than running all recruitment campaigns through a larger in-house team and is a model used extensively across Central Government.
FCO Services acquired Trading Fund Status in April 2008. To be a successful and efficient trading organisation, a different set of skills and underlying processes were required. Temporary skills and resource were therefore brought into the organisation by Capita through a government procurement framework, in order to help set up of new processes and then transfer those skills in-house. For example, FCO Services needed to develop its own capability to support critical services around the world in the event of a business continuity incident. As these skill sets were new and not available in-house, a temporary contract was provided through Capita to build up this capability and enable the skill sets and processes to be adapted and transferred in- house. Contracts were also, for example, awarded through
Capita to provide specialist sales and marketing resources. FCO Services had no specialist sales people prior to trading fund, but the need to drive forward their wider market sales in order to enable financial benefits to the FCO (e.g. price stabilisation and dividends) meant FCO Services needed the skills these resources provided.
Information regarding how many occasions Capita Group PLC tendered for FCO contracts in each of the last five years; how many such tenders were successful; how many contracts which terminate after 2010 Capita Group PLC hold; what the monetary value is of all outstanding contracts with Capita Group PLC; and the spend by overseas posts with Capita Group PLC, is not held centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.
Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on (a) the arrest, (b) the imprisonment and (c) due process in the trial of Professor Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas. 
Chris Bryant: We have had no discussions with the Colombian Government about the arrest, imprisonment or trial of Professor Villegas. However, we understand that he has been charged with 'rebellion'; we have previously pointed out to the Colombian Government that those charged with crimes such as 'rebellion' should have their legal rights fully respected, including to a timely and fair trial.
Chris Bryant: We have not had any recent discussions with the Colombian Government on this issue. However, we constantly reiterate the need for the human rights of all Colombians to be recognised and protected.
Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request the Government of Colombia to produce the evidence it holds to substantiate the claim that Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas is (a) a member of the FARC and (b) the person known as Jaime Cienfuegos. 
Chris Bryant: We cannot interfere in the legal process of another country. However, we have previously pointed out to the Colombian Government that those charged with crimes such as 'rebellion' should have their legal rights fully respected, including to a timely and fair trial. Our embassy in Bogota will monitor the proceedings of this case.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the international coalition against terrorism; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Terrorism is an international problem that requires an international response. Building a coalition is the only effective means by which we will counter it. The Government, therefore, attach great importance to our counter-terrorism work overseas, with both partner Governments and multilateral organisations. Our aim is to share best practice, co-ordinate UK effort bilaterally and multilaterally, ensure we avoid duplication of work and encourage others to take a comprehensive approach to countering the terrorist threat. The response of the international community to the failed Detroit bomb on Christmas Day illustrates the strength and breadth of the coalition against terrorism with January's Yemen meeting convened by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and attended by partners from the region and across the globe, helping to co-ordinate support for the people and Government of Yemen to tackle the threat from al-Qaeda and address its root causes.
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo on implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Support for the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) forms a core part of our work to improve transparency in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, was in the country last month and spoke with Prime Minister Muzito about the need for economic development and the building of conditions which are conducive to business. He saw this as a priority and recognised that there is much work to be done.
Despite a slow start, EITI implementation in the DRC has recently been making considerable progress culminating in the publication of the first report on copper/cobalt and oil. Validation has started and there is reason to hope that the country's efforts will receive a largely positive reception from the International Secretariat in Oslo.
The Great Lakes Contact Group Taskforce on Mineral Exploitation had its first meeting in Kinshasa on 21 and 22 January 2010 with the Minister and Vice Minister for mines and representatives from the Ministries of Defence, the Interior and others, plus non-governmental organisations and Congolese commercial interests/industry attending. A draft text was agreed which included proposals on due diligence, legalisation of trade (Department for International Development Trading for Peace initiative), certification and financial infrastructure. The paper will now be presented to the DRC cabinet and capitals for final approval.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) disciplinary and (b) capability procedures have been (i) initiated and (ii) completed in his Department in each of the last five years; how much time on average was taken to complete each type of procedure in each such year; how many and what proportion of his
Department's staff were subject to each type of procedure in each such year; and how many and what proportion of each type of procedure resulted in the dismissal of the member of staff. 
Chris Bryant: The number of disciplinary cases that have been (i) initiated and (ii) completed in each of the last five years in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its agency FCO Services are as follows.
|FCO Main||FCO Services|
|FCO Main||FCO Services|
There were six (0.1 per cent.) dismissals (combining FCO Main and FCO Services) resulting from misconduct procedure in 2006. As there are less than five dismissals in each of the following four years details are not provided to avoid revealing the identities of individuals and on grounds of confidentiality
|FCO Main||FCO Services|
|(1 )No central records held.|
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