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Coercive Population Policies

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The copies of statements by Her Majesty's Government are in the Library of the House. Copies of relevant statements by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) will be placed in the Library of the House as soon as possible.

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Forced Abortions: US Policy

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of a Bill (HR2570) passed by the United States House of Representatives on 6 November to:

    (a) condemn those officials of the People's Republic of China and other persons who are involved in the enforcement of forced abortions; and

    (b) prevent such persons from entering or remaining in the United States;

    and whether they will consider adopting a similar policy in the United Kingdom.

Lord Whitty: We are aware of this proposed measure, which has not completed its legislative passage. We have no plans to adopt a similar policy.


Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will establish, as a matter of urgency, alternative mechanisms to co-operate with non-governmental organisations working outside the framework of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in order to enable emergency aid to be delivered to those now dying from starvation and disease in the areas designated "no-go" locations by the National Islamic Front regime in Sudan.

Lord Whitty: While the UK supports the UN mandate in Sudan under Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), we recognise there are needs in non-OLS areas. We are prepared to respond to clearly identified humanitarian needs wherever they arise in Sudan through organisations with experience of working in conflict situations who can give firm assurances that aid will reach the people for whom it is intended.

Hull Resettlement Project: General Manager

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What investigations have been carried out into the appointment and employment of Councillor John Black as Manager of the Hull Resettlement Project.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Hull Resettlement Project (HRP) is a company registered with Companies House under the Companies Act 1995 and is also a charity registered with the Charities Commission under the Charities Act 1993. The recruitment, appointment and retention of staff is therefore one of the responsibilities of the board of trustees, which has a staffing sub-committee to advise on all personnel matters. With regard to the appointment of Councillor John Black to the post of General

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Manager of the HRP, the Board of Trustees, through its staffing sub-committee, was advised by Hull City Council's Chief Personnel Officer and legal advisors in the Town Clerk's Office to ensure that the exercise was properly and fairly conducted at all stages and that all employment legislation and requirements and procedures were complied with. The continuing employment of John Black remains a matter for the HRP Board of Trustees.

The Department of Social Security continues to monitor all aspects of the performance of the HRP, as well as all other resettlement projects that it funds under Section 30 of the Jobseekers Act 1995.

Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure: Dr. Davies' Report

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they have given to the finding of the research carried out by Robert Davies of the Organophosphate Scientific Forum into health hazards arising from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, that at least 10 per cent. of people exposed over a period of time to these pesticides developed a disorder that led to brain damage; and in particular, the relevance of his finding that the illness is found among Gulf War veterans.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Contrary to recent reports in the media, the Department of Health has not received any details of the research by Dr. Davies to which my noble friend refers, nor, as far as I am aware, has any other government department. However, the Government will take into account all relevant research published in appropriately peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals in considering whether there are risks to human health from organophosphates, and we await the publication of Dr. Davies' research with interest.

Male Homosexuality

Lord Belhaven and Stenton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion in percentage terms of the adult male population is exclusively heterosexual; and

    What is the estimated life expectancy of (a) the male population as a whole; and (b) the actively homosexual male population; and

    What proportion in percentage terms of the adult male population is actively homosexual.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

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Letter to Lord Belhaven and Stenton from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Dr. T. Holt.

I have been asked to reply, as Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to your recent questions about the proportion of the adult male population that is exclusively heterosexual, the proportion that is actively homosexual, and the life expectancy of (a) the male population as a whole and (b) the actively homosexual male population.

According to the results of the ONS Omnibus Survey, 92 per cent. of adult men said that they had had sex only ever with women, and 6 per cent. said that they had not yet had a sexual relationship.

Information is not collected about the proportion of the adult male population that is actively homosexual, although the Omnibus Survey found that 1 per cent. of adult men said they had had sex with both men and women, and a further 1 per cent. said they had sex only ever with other men. We have no information on how many men are currently actively homosexual.

The expectation of life at birth in the United Kingdom for men is 74.3. This is a provisional estimate from the Government Actuary's Department based on data for 1996, the latest year available.

Expectation of life for homosexuals is not available. Information about a person's sexuality is not recorded at death registration, and it is therefore not possible to distinguish between deaths of homosexuals and non-homosexuals.

Unaccompanied Minors Detained at Campsfield House

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many unaccompanied minors have been detained in Campsfield House near Oxford, at any one time in 1997, of what ages, from which countries, and under what legislation.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): During 1997, 11 people have claimed to be aged under 18 while detained at Campsfield House. Six were Nigerian nationals, two were nationals of Pakistan, and there have been one each from Ghana, Bangladesh and Algeria. Of these 11 cases, four have been released, and only one remains at Campsfield House.

Many of those who are liable to detention under powers conferred by the Immigration Act 1971, and who may at some stage have sought asylum in the United Kingdom, are not in possession of documents satisfactorily establishing either their identity or nationality. Some hold identity documents but claim to be younger than the ages shown therein. It is perhaps inevitable in these circumstances that there will be some cases where the precise age of the individual is in dispute.

Age assessment remains an inexact science and definitive assessments cannot be made. The Immigration

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Service, however, is closely involved with the Children's Panel of the Refugee Council and local social services to ensure that cases of doubt are referred to a paediatrician at the first opportunity.

Whilst there is no minimum age below which a person may not be detained under powers conferred by the Immigration Act, under current guidelines detention is not considered appropriate for unaccompanied children or for young persons under the age of 18. It is normal practice to grant temporary admission to those who are clearly unaccompanied minors, usually into the care of social services.

Polish Citizens: Entry to UK

Lord Belhaven and Stenton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will enquire into reports of harassment by immigration officers of Polish citizens visiting the United Kingdom lawfully, in possession of correct documents and possessing proper references and means of support for the duration of their stay; and

    Whether they will enquire into the case of Miss Patrycia Julia Wlodarczyk, a Polish national, who was detained for several hours before being refused entry to the United Kingdom without any reason being given; and what was the reason for the action of the immigration authorities.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: All complaints about the conduct of immigration officers are investigated by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate Complaints Unit.

Miss Wlodarczyk was refused entry to the United Kingdom because the immigration officer was not satisfied that she qualified for entry in accordance with the published Immigration Rules. A subsequent complaint submitted by her representatives is currently under investigation. This covers both the specific circumstances of Miss Wlodarczyk's case, and Polish citizens more generally. I will ensure that a copy of the report of the investigation into this complaint is sent to the noble Lord.

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