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UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The United Kingdom is playing an active role in the discussion of a possible optional protocol to the United Nations International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the current session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The United Kingdom will be seeking clarity on the mandate and timescale of any new working group before taking a final position.

UN Millennium NGO Forum

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We strongly support the Millennium Forum's commitment to ensuring that the event be truly representative of global civil society by securing the participation of civil society groups from developed and developing countries. We have offered financial assistance to the forum to help fund the attendance of civil society representatives from less developed countries.

Kosovo: KFOR Peacekeeping

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: KFOR operations are kept under constant review, both nationally and in NATO. The North Atlantic Council is briefed on developments at its weekly meetings. The NATO Secretary-General sends monthly reports on KFOR to the United Nations Secretary-General. NATO Ministers will have an opportunity to take stock of the situation in Kosovo at their ministerial meetings in May and June.

Sudan: Bombing

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of the recent bombings by the government of Sudan on a civilian hospital and on targets in northern Uganda; and, if so, how they will respond to these developments in the light of their current policy of "critical dialogue".[HL1787]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are aware of reports of aerial bombings of civilian targets in Sudan. It has been through our dialogue, both bilateral and EU, that we have been able to raise both the general issue and specific incidents with the Government of Sudan.

At last year's UN Commission on Human Rights, the EU also sponsored a consensus resolution on Sudan which called on the Government to "stop immediately the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian and humanitarian centres, which runs counter to the fundamental principles of human rights and humanitarian law". We expect the EU to sponsor a resolution again this year and shall continue to keep this issue high on our agenda.

Kosovo: Rule of Law

Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether sufficient progress is being made in Kosovo towards the restoration of the rule of law in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL1648]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There has been substantial progress, although much remains to be done. Almost 400 local judges and prosecutors have been appointed, including Kosovo Serbs and other minorities. The UN Mission has also appointed over 200 lay judges. Three hundred and fifty Kosovars have graduated from the new police training school, including Serbs, other minorities and around 100 women. We have 40 UK police officers at the training school. We intend to offer UK candidates to serve as international judges and prosecutors in Kosovo.

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Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their policy to provide assistance in the form of police, judges and others with the function of restoring a stable system of criminal and civil justice.[HL1647]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Yes. The UK has deployed 60 police to the UN International Police and we intend to double this contribution. We also contribute 40 UK police officers to the school training the future Kosovo police. We intend to contribute the core of a new Criminal Intelligence Unit to work in the UN police. We intend to offer UK judges and lawyers to work with the UN Mission in Kosovo.

Religious Discrimination in EU and Commonwealth States

Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which member states of the European Union and which members of the Commonwealth have statutory or constitutional provision to prohibit discrimination on grounds of religion.[HL1642]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information on statutory and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on grounds of religion in all EU and Commonwealth states is not held centrally. To provide the information requested for all 69 states would be a major undertaking which would incur disproportionate cost.

The Home Secretary has commissioned research into the nature and scale of religious discrimination in England and Wales. This project, to be completed in autumn this year, will consider the legal and constitutional position in other jurisdictions. The interim report, published on 31 January, includes an initial analysis of approaches to tackling religious discrimination in several Commonwealth and EU jurisdictions. Copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses and on the research project's website at:

Mr. Abdul Wahab Hussain

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the re-arrest of Mr Abdul Wahab Hussain, who was released on 17 March after more than four years of imprisonment in Bahrain without charge or trial; and whether they will raise his case and those of other long-term detainees in Bahrain at the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.[HL1628]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have asked our Embassy in Bahrain for full details of Mr Hussein's case and in particular the circumstances surrounding his recent re-arrest, which we view with concern.

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Roadworks: Code Power Licence-holders

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which are the 80 or so licence holders who have code powers to dig up the roads; and what steps they have in mind to curtail their activities, with a view to diminishing the nuisance they cause to the public.[HL1727]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The following 86 companies hold licences granting code powers, which allow the operator to install and maintain equipment on the public highway, subject to conditions laid down in the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 and subsidiary legislation.

The number of individual licences with code powers is greater than 86 as a number of companies hold more than one regional licence. The full list is regularly updated and available on the OFTEL web site (

There are no plans to restrict new construction by these operators, but the Government have recently consulted widely on ways to diminish disruption caused by streetworks.

    ACC Long Distance UK Ltd
    Advanced Radio Telecom Ltd
    AT&T Communications UK Ltd
    Atlantic Telecom Group plc
    AXS Telecom (UK) Ltd
    Cable & Wireless Communications
    Cignal Global Communications UK Limited
    CompleTel UK Limited
    Concert Communications Company
    Convergence Ventures Limited
    Core Telecommunications Limited
    Dolphin Telecom Plc
    East-West Telecom Limited
    Easynet Group Plc
    EGN BV
    Energis Carrier Services Ltd
    Energis Communications Limited
    Enitel ASA
    Esprit Telecom UK Limited
    Eurobell (Holdings) PLC
    Farland Services UK Limited
    Faultbasic Ltd
    Fibrenet Ltd
    Fibreway Limited
    Flag Atlantic UK Limited
    Flag Telecom Ireland Limited

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    Flute Limited
    GC Pan European Crossing UK Limited
    General Telecommunications Ltd
    Global Crossing (UK) Telecommunications Ltd
    Global One Communications Holding Ltd
    Global TeleSystems Europe
    GT UK Limited
    GTS Business Services Limited (UK)
    Highway One Corporation Limited
    Iaxis Limited
    Izenkom Limited
    Inter Digital Networks
    INTERNET Network Services Limited
    KDD Europe Limited
    Kingston Communications (Hull) Plc
    KPNQWEST Assets UK Limited
    Level 3 Communications Limited
    MFN UK Limited
    MLL Telecom Ltd
    nevada telecom Ltd
    New World Payphones
    NorSea Com AS
    Norweb Telecom Limited
    One to One

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    Pangea Management Services BV
    Radio Tel Systems Ltd
    Rateflame Limited
    Rocom TBI Limited
    RSL COM UK Ltd
    Scottish & Southern Energy plc
    Starglobal Ltd
    Storm Telecommunications Limited
    Surf Telecoms
    Tele2 (UK) Limited
    Telecom Ireland
    Telecom New Zealand (UK) Licences Limited
    Teleglobe International UK Ltd
    Teleport London International
    Telewest Communications
    Telia UK Limited
    Telstra (UK) Limited
    Thus plc
    TMI Telemedia International
    TNI (Telecom) Limited
    Torch Communications Limited
    Versatel Telecom BV
    Viatel UK Ltd
    Vine Telecom Networks Limited
    Vodaphone Airtouch Plc
    Winstar Communications SA
    WTI Telecom (UK) Limited
    Zereau Limited.

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