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Human Rights Convention: Compatibility of Bills

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We will of course explain the thinking behind a Section 19 statement if the issue is raised in debate.

Domestic Violence: Counselling in Schools

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We welcome the recent publication by the Local Government Association of Domestic violence and child abuse: policy and practice issues for local authorities and other agencies. This carefully balanced briefing paper emphasises that, "it is vital that teachers themselves are trained and supported to understand domestic violence as it affects children", but it does not recommend the appointment of narrowly-focused "domestic violence experts" or the active encouragement of reporting by children.

We already recommend that all schools should designate a senior teacher with responsibility for child protection and should have proper procedures in place for referral to social services and/or the police where appropriate. A recent survey showed that this recommendation was being widely implemented.

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"Child protection" in this context covers all situations in which a child is believed to be directly or indirectly at risk. It therefore addresses all forms of domestic violence which might affect a child, whichever parent is the perpetrator.

General Pinochet: Drafting of Warrants

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Home Office gave advice to Judge Garzon on the drafting of his warrant for the extradition of General Pinochet; and; if so, on what date they did so.[HL349]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Home Office provided no advice to Judge Garzon on the drafting of either of his warrants for the extradition of Senator Pinochet.

Human Rights Act

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have given guidance to government departments about the implementation of the Human Rights Act 1998; and, if so, whether they will make such guidance available to the public.[HL323]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We are drafting guidance for government departments and other public authorities to help them comply with their obligations under the Human Rights Act when it is implemented. The guidance should be ready early in 1999 and will be available to the public.

Firearms (Amendment) Act

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What remedy is available to the citizen who believes that the Government are not meeting their obligations under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.[HL261]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government are fully committed to meeting their obligations under this Act. The only outstanding requirement is in relation to Section 39 which provides for the establishment of a central register of all persons who apply for or hold a firearm or shot gun certificate. The legislation does not specify when this requirement must be met but we have made clear that the project will be taken forward as quickly as possible as part of the development of PHOENIX, taking account of the available resources and operational priorities.

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Human Rights Act 1998

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 7 December (WA 68) and Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 3 December (WA 57), whether in the period before they bring Section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 into force, they will instruct counsel acting in the proceedings on behalf of a Minister of the Crown or government department to draw attention to their view that the public are entitled to expect Ministers and civil servants to comply with the obligations imposed by the European Convention on Human Rights having regard to the United Kingdom's ratification of the convention, the guidance in Questions of Procedure for Ministers and the Civil Service Code.[HL255]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We see no need to do so.

Immigration Detainees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many immigration detainees were held in each of the prisons or detention centres in use for this purpose on 31 October.[HL248]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The available information, relating to persons held in detention solely under Immigration Act powers as at 31 October 1998 by place of detention, is given in the table.

Persons recorded as being in detention(1) in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers as at 31 October 1998, by place of detention

LocationTotal Detainees
Immigration detention centres
Dover Harbour20
Heathrow's Queen's Building15
Manchester Airport8
Tinsley House143
Prison establishments
High Down22
Holme House2
Lancaster Farms2
The Mount2
Wormwood Scrubs19
Other prison establishments8

(1) Excluding persons detained in police cells.

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17 Dec 1998 : Column WA189

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