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4 Mar 2002 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday, 4th March 2002.

Immigration: Rights of the Child

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to withdraw their reservation in respect of nationality, immigration and asylum to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in the light of counsel's advice obtained by Save the Children which concludes that reservation is incompatible with the convention's object to protect all children. [HL2529]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): The United Kingdom ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991. The reservation in respect of Article 22 in no way inhibits the discharge of our obligations under the convention. No child in the United Kingdom is in any way disadvantaged by the reservation. It is there to safeguard the right of the United Kingdom to determine its own immigration and nationality laws. We have carefully reviewed the reservation in the light of recent requests that it should be withdrawn. However, we are convinced that it remains necessary in order to maintain an effective immigration control.

Yusefeli Dam

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place copies of the environmental impact assessment and the resettlement action plan for the Yusefeli dam in the Library of the House. [HL2850]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): A preliminary environmental impact assessment (EIAR) has been produced and we expect that a resettlement action plan (RAP) will also be produced. The EIAR is not the property of the UK Government, and its release by ECGD would require the consent of the party who has supplied it to ECGD. Such considerations would also apply to the RAP when that document is produced in due course. todd

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will impose similar conditions for the export credit support for the Yusefeli project as were set for the Ilisu project; and whether in addition they will make export credit support conditional on Turkey and Georgia reaching agreement on the shared use of the transboundary Coruh River, as recommended by the World Commission on Dams and required by the World Bank.[HL2851]

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have not changed our view on this matter since I responded to the noble Lord's similar Question on 7 February.


Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In relation to the comments by the Foreign Secretary on Radio 5 Live on 24 February that, "We say Burnley fans eat bananas with their feet but I would not say that at all. That would be offensive to great apes", whether they consider such comments encourage good behaviour by football supporters or whether they may be construed as an incitement to bad behaviour by fans, even if they were made as part of a "light-hearted conversation", as stated by Mr Straw; and whether they are appropriate comments from a government Minister. [HL3082]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As is obvious from the context, the Foreign Secretary's remarks were made in jest in the course of an interview where throughout he made clear that he was appearing and commenting only as a supporter of Blackburn Rovers Football Club and not in any capacity as a Minister of the Crown. jenny

Rights of Way

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to consult on proposed rules for inquiries and hearings into rights of way orders coming to them for confirmation. [HL3110]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): On Friday 1 March we published our proposals for procedure rules for rights of way inquiries and hearings, on which we are inviting views by 31 May 2002. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Agriculture Council, 18 February

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the outcome was of the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 18 February 2002. [HL3112]

Lord Whitty: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State and I represented the United Kingdom at the meeting of the Agriculture Council in Brussels on 18 February.

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The Commission presented proposals to establish detailed rules for the control and eradication of African swine fever.

The Council discussed proposals to extend the tobacco regime for three years with minor changes. We joined a number of delegations in arguing for a commitment to the eventual phasing out of the regime.

On enlargement, the commission gave a presentation of the approach in its agriculture issues paper.

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Italy and France sought approval to pay national aids to supplement prices offered under crisis distillation measures in the wine sector. No decision was taken on this occasion but several member states, including the UK, registered concern at repeated recourse to these measures.

Italy tabled a paper on agriculture policy in the context of the mid term review.

The Commission reported on progress with testing programmes for BSE.

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