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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The ILO has not requested that its members ban investment in Burma. It did however recommend in December 2000 that members should review their relations with Burma to ensure they do not contribute to the continuance of forced labour there.
In 1997 the European Commission suspended GSP trading privileges for Burma in response to member states' concern about forced labour. In January 2001, David Blunkett, the then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, wrote to all UK employers and workers groups asking them to review their relations with Burma to ensure they were not contributing to the continuance of forced labour. We do not encourage trade or investment in Burma. We offer no assistance for companies wanting to invest or trade there. We have told the UK's largest investor in Burma, Premier Oil, that we would like it to cease operating in Burma as fully and as soon as it legally can.
Baroness Amos: We take every opportunity to register our concerns about all political and human rights abuses in Burma through our Embassy in Rangoon and visiting officials, although our contacts with the Burmese regime are naturally limited. We also make our views known through the EU and by supporting resolutions at both the UN General Assembly and the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): Two orders under the amended Race Relations Act 1976 were laid before Parliament on 24 October 2001. The orders bring into effect the proposals set out in the consultation document issued in February 2001. The consultation document was widely distributed, including to black and minority ethnic communities, for comments about the specific duties the Government proposed to impose upon public bodies and the extended list of public bodies to be subject to the general duty to promote race equality.
Lord Rooker: The United Kingdom is a signatory to the Sixth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights which outlaws the application of the death penalty. Consistent with the convention, the Extradition Act 1989 provides that extradition may be refused if the fugitive stands accused or convicted of an offence for which he could be or has been sentenced to death. The United Kingdom/United States Extradition Treaty also provides that extradition may be refused unless the requesting party gives satisfactory assurances that the death penalty will not be carried out. In practice, US extradition requests involving capital crimes are very rare. Not all US states continue to apply the death penalty. Those which do stand ready in extradition cases to provide assurances that the death penalty will not be carried out.
Lord Rooker: The detention and training order was introduced for 12 to 17 year-olds on 1 April 2000. Home Office statistics indicate that 5,072 orders were made in the period 1 April 2000 to 31 December 2000. The number of orders to be imposed in the future will be a matter for the courts.
The recent reforms to the youth justice system have incorporated restorative principles. In particular, the final warning system (which was introduced nationally in April 2000) and referral order (which is currently being piloted) offer the opportunity for restorative interventions, involving, where appropriate, the offender, the victim, families of both and the community. The Government have not specified the precise model which such interventions should follow and both victim/offender mediation and conferencing are currently being employed.
The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales is seeking to identify and disseminate good practice by working with the police, probation service, magistrates and national voluntary bodies, and is developing training in restorative justice for local practitioners. The board is also funding and evaluating 46 restorative justice schemes in England and Wales and providing restorative justice support to all of the 154 youth offending teams in England and Wales.
Lord Rooker: The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales is responsible for commissioning and purchasing secure accommodation for under-18s and works with providers, including the Prison Service, to raise standards.
Lord Rooker: It is our policy not to remove a failed asylum seeker from the United Kingdom if he or she is unaccompanied and under 18 years of age unless adequate reception arrangements can be made in the country of origin. Until now, if reception arrangements could not be made, four years' exceptional leave to remain has been granted.
We have now decided that if a failed asylum seeker who has no other basis to remain in the United Kingdom is aged between 14 and 17 at the time a decision is made and adequate reception arrangements cannot be made, he or she will be granted a period of exceptional leave until his or her 18th birthday. He or she will be able to apply for further leave at the end of this period in the same way as anyone else but will be expected to leave the United Kingdom if he or she does not so apply or any application is rejected.
If a failed asylum seeker, for whom adequate reception arrangements cannot be made, is still aged under 14 at the time the asylum decision is made, he or she will continue to be granted four years' exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom in view of age and vulnerability. This will enable local authority social services departments to plan for the child's long-term future. The child will then be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom in the same way as adults who have completed four years' exceptional leave. In this way, we are continuing to protect children while they are in need but closing a loophole which affords settlement in the United Kingdom to those who would not normally qualify.
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