|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): An Order in Council (The Consular Fees Order 1995), made on 28 June, provides for increases between 17 per cent. and 100 per cent. in certain consular fees with effect from 20 July 1995. A new entry clearance fee for multiple entries, valid for one year, will be introduced on the same date. It is government policy that the cost of the Consular Services should be borne by users as far as possible.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We drew MSF's recent report to the attention of the UNHCR following its publication in May. Subsequently Mrs. Ogata met the Directors of Operations of MSF (France) and MSF (Netherlands) on 12 June at which the UNHCR safeguards to ensure the voluntary nature of repatriation were explained. MSF representatives are understood to have been reassured by the UNHCR procedures.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: I refer the noble Lord to the statement of our policy towards Sri Lanka given by my honourable friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Tony Baldry, in another place on 9 June, Official Report, col. 474.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We recognise that developments in one country can have far-reaching consequences for others in the Great Lakes region. Our efforts, both bilateral and multilateral, have therefore been directed to meeting the humanitarian needs of those displaced within the region, supporting efforts to resolve existing conflicts and preventing the outbreak of further conflicts. To that end we support the efforts of the UN Secretary General to convene a conference on Regional Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The economic, social, political and human rights situation in Cambodia has greatly improved since the comprehensive political settlement brought to power a democratically-elected coalition government in 1993. But Cambodia is still a new democracy and a poor country with a weak economic infrastructure. There are a number of social and human rights problems, as well as continuing security concerns caused by the Khmer Rouge.
We are contributing, both through bilateral and multilateral aid, to programmes designed to improve economic and social conditions, which we hope will in turn lead to better security. We also take every suitable opportunity, both bilaterally and in conjunction with our international partners, to impress upon the Cambodians the importance of safeguarding democracy and protecting human rights.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Cameroon has faced a number of problems of political adjustment since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1991, and difficulties over economic reform. We support Cameroon's efforts to continue the reform process both bilaterally and multilaterally.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We remain concerned about the lack of progress in Burma. The ruling military regime, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), has made no substantive reforms to improve the political and human rights situation.
The political process remains far from democratic. Suppression of all opposition continues, including censorship, political arrests and detentions. Many remain in custody, notably Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose detention without charge is indefensible. We continue to receive reports of human rights abuses, such as forced labour, military portering and involuntary displacement.
The policy we share with our European partners is one of critical dialogue. We make it clear to the SLORC that improvements in key areas, including human rights, political and economic reform, are prerequisites for the normalisation of relations with the European Union. We have pressed in particular for the early and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. We apply pressure both bilaterally and in relevant international fora. We suspended non-humanitarian official aid in 1988, imposed an arms embargo in 1991 and severed all remaining defence links in 1992.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We understand that advice from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was a factor in the Chinese Government's decision to review the then draft Maternal and Child Health Law, which now specifically requires a woman's written consent for an abortion carried out under the terms of that law. We would expect that any proven instances of forced sterilisation and abortion would be attributable to the way in which national family planning
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was concluded in 1972 between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. It is for the parties to the treaty to determine the arrangements for discussion of issues relating to the treaty's operation.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page