|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We have noted reports of these incidents with concern and will support action by UNMIK and KFOR to tackle the problem. The main aim of the international presences in Kosovo is to provide a secure environment. UNMIK and KFOR are committed to working together to respond to the needs of all vulnerable communities and individuals.
The regional centre of the OSCE in Pristina intends to establish a women's victim support system to facilitate UNMIK police assistance to vulnerable young women and children who had been victims of abduction, rape, trafficking or prostitution.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have reiterated the general rules of flag flying: British missions are expected to fly the Union flag on working days during office hours. Ambassadors have discretion not to fly the flag where this could pose a security risk or offend local sensitivities.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We regularly raise our concerns over incidents of religious intolerance with the Indian authorities. We will continue to press them to uphold the values of secularism enshrined in the constitution.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The UK works to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) with the ultimate aim of a world free of all WMD. The UK supports universal adherence to the relevant WMD treaties: the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapsons, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: We do not have any reliable figures for numbers killed, wounded or displaced in Serbia for the dates given. We would not expect the Serb authorities to release reliable figures.
In Kosovo, we estimate that at least 10,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians were killed between June 1998 and June 1999. Most of these deaths occurred in the period between March and June 1999. Up to the start of the NATO campaign, according to the UNHCR, 200,000 Kosovo Albanians were displaced internally, with around 70,000 refugees outside Kosovo. As a result of Serb repression around 850,000 Kosovo Albanians were forced to leave Kosovo between March and June 1999; up to half a million more were made homeless within Kosovo. NATO's intervention made possible the return within weeks of over 90 per cent of the refugees.
There were 430 murders reported in Kosovo between 12 June 1999 and 25 December. There are no figures available for woundings. KFOR's presence has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of reported major offences from over 300 in the last week of June to fewer than 50 in the last week of November last year.
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: There has been no comprehensive landmine survey of the entire territory of Mozambique and the National Demining Institute in Mozambique has no reliable information on the total area affected by landmines. A Canadian sponsored survey of the entire country is in progress and should be completed by the end of this year. Reliable information should then be available.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: A clear framework for charity accounting is important for the public's confidence in the integrity of charity. In general, the 1995 regulations have worked well. My right honourable friend the Minister of State at the Home Office (Mr Boateng) is today publishing a consultation document about how to keep the regulations up to date. The proposed changes reflect the new exposure draft of the statement of recommended practice (SORP) for accounting by charities, as well as proposals for some charities that follow other SORPs. My right honourable friend would welcome views by 30 April.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Pilots of most of the youth justice provisions of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 have been operating in 10 areas since September 1998. They cover the operation of the multi-agency youth offending teams; the final warning scheme, which will replace cautioning for young offenders; and the reparation order, action plan order, child safety order and parenting order. The pilots have helped to identify good practice in delivering these measures and are being evaluated by a team from Sheffield, Hull and Swansea Universities. A copy of its most recent report, published in December, is in the Library. Building on the experience of the pilots the Government have decided to implement the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 provisions for youth offending teams on 1 April 2000 and for the final warning scheme and four community-based orders on 1 June 2000.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will publish the first annual report tomorrow. It will set out details of progress made on each of the areas covered by the recommendations of the inquiry and will identify action still to be taken. It will show that there has been substantial progress across the criminal justice and education systems. But there is much more to be done and it is vital that all the public services covered by the inquiry's report maintain their determination to deliver the highest standards of service to all members of society regardless of their race.
Back to Table of Contents
Lords Hansard Home Page