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3 Jul 2002 : Column WA35

Written Answers

Wednesday, 3rd July 2002.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the report of the United Nations Population Fund on Haiti; and whether they consider that the international ban on foreign aid imposed in 2000 is still appropriate when 73 per cent of the population are judged to be in extreme poverty.[HL4791]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): Her Majesty's Government are aware of the UNFPA report on Haiti of December 2001. We remain concerned at the continuing political problems in Haiti and the effects on the poor.

We are committed to working with our EU partners in efforts to resolve the political impasse.

We have offered 15,000 dollars to the re-establishment of the OAS mission which is seeking to broker a compromise between the government and the opposition, and are willing to continue to work through the OAS to this end.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are seeking concerted international pressure on Iraq to secure the release of 600 persons illegally removed from Kuwait and the exchange of any prisoners of war remaining from the Iraq-Iran war.[HL4795]

Baroness Amos: The UK continues to take an active role in the Tripartite Commission to establish the whereabouts of the 605 Kuwaiti and other nationals still missing since the occupation of Kuwait. Despite international efforts to urge Iraq to recognise the humanitarian nature of this issue, the Government of Iraq still refuse to co-operate with the process. They have so far provided information sufficient to close only three Kuwaiti missing files.

Iran and Iraq regularly exchange the bodies of combatants killed in the Iran-Iraq war, as well as remaining prisoners of war.

International Criminal Court: US Reservations

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy towards current American proposals in a draft resolution for the United Nations Security Council that United States soldiers and civilians, when deployed overseas on United

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    Nations peacekeeping missions, should be exempt from the jurisdiction of the new International Criminal court.[HL4849]

Baroness Amos: The Government remains committed to an effective International Criminal Court. They are at the same time anxious not to jeopardise the effectiveness and efficiency of the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

We understand, but do not share, US reservations about the ICC and are working hard with it and other members of the Security Council to achieve an acceptable solution.

Palestinian Authority: Provision of Land Rovers

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Land Rovers were given to the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Yasser Arafat during the past five years; how many of these vehicles still exist; what representations were made to those responsible for any damage to them; and what was the cost of these Land Rovers for the Government.[HL4894]

Baroness Amos: In 1995 and 1996, as part of a wider programme of support to the Palestinian Police Force, we provided 25 Land Rovers and 25 Ford transit vehicles. Fourteen of the 50 vehicles have been destroyed as a result of Israeli military action in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Others have been damaged. HM Ambassador in Tel Aviv wrote to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressing our concerns.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What evaluation they and their allies are making of the financial and human resources necessary to equip, train and prepare an adequate system of justice for Afghanistan; and what steps they are taking to ensure that these resources are provided.[HL4896]

Baroness Amos: The Government recognise that building an efficient and properly accountable security sector is essential for stability and order in Afghanistan. The justice system is central to a reformed security sector. The Government of Italy are leading on this sector in consultation with the UN. The UK has earmarked up to £1 million towards the development of an appropriate institutional framework and strategy. We continue to urge others to make contributions to this and other security sector initiatives.

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Visits by Foreign Heads of State

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to visits to the United Kingdom by foreign heads of state, what are the differences in the definitions of working visits, private visits and state visits.[HL4916]

Baroness Amos: Private visits and working visits take place at the initiative of the visitor. The arrangements are usually made by their London embassy or high commission. Programmes for working visits, as the name suggests, normally contain a working element, often a meeting with a senior government Minister. Private visits do not.

State visits take place at the personal invitation of The Queen. The arrangements are made by Buckingham Palace, with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the relevant London embassy or high commission. Normally two such invitations are issued each year; but because of Her Majesty's busy Golden Jubilee commitments, no state visits were planned for 2002.

Heads of state can also visit this country as guests of Her Majesty's Government. Arrangements for guest of government visits are made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Programmes normally include a number of working elements, including meetings with government Ministers, and government-hosted hospitality.

China: Human Rights

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Mr MacShane on 17 June (HC Deb, 8W), what were "the standard lines" along which Li Ruihan, Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, replied to the Lord Chancellor when the Lord Chancellor raised a range of human rights issues at a recent meeting.[HL4937]

Baroness Amos: Li Ruihan replied that remarkable changes had taken place in Tibet and that Tibetans were now much better off than before.

Special Voucher Holders Accepted for Settlement in UK

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

    How many applications have been made for special vouchers for British overseas citizen passport holders and their dependants in each of the past five years; and how many applications have been granted.[HL4900]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): The information available relates to heads of household with a special voucher accepted

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for settlement on arrival to the United Kingdom, 1996 to 2000, the latest period available. Their dependants are required to apply for entry clearance in the normal way and are not identifiable separately in our statistics. The available information is given in the table below.

Special voucher holders accepted for settlement on arrival, 1996–2000(1) (2)

United KingdonNumber of Persons

(1) Figures rounded to the nearest 10

(2) Excludes Dependants

Asylum Applications

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With reference to Clause 56 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, what proportion of those currently held in immigration detention centres are awaiting (a) an initial decision on their application for refugee status or (b) the outcome of an appeal to the Immigration Appeals Authority.[HL4902]

Lord Filkin: The latest available data show that at 30 March 2002, 1,160 detainees (rounded to the nearest five) were held in immigration removal centres. Of these, 1,000 (86 per cent) had at some stage claimed asylum.

I regret that the information requested regarding the stage of initial decisions and appeals is not available and could be obtained only by examining individual case files at disproportionate cost.

Information on Immigration Act detainees as at 29 June will be published on 30 August

on the Home Office Research Development

and Statistics Directorate website at

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many applications for refugee status or exceptional leave to remain were outstanding for more than 12 months at the most recent date.[HL4942]

Lord Filkin: As at the end of March 2002 (the latest date for which figures are available) the number of asylum applications outstanding for more than 12 months is estimated to be 16,100. This includes some cases which are currently in action and compares with 23,000 such applications as at the end of March 2001.

European Arrest Warrant

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In what manner and on what date or dates Parliament gave its consent to the European arrest warrant adopted at the Justice and Home Affairs Council.[HL4957]

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Lord Filkin: The framework decision on the European Arrest Warrant was subject to the usual parliamentary scrutiny process. The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee cleared the document from scrutiny on 12 December 2001. The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union cleared the document from scrutiny on 23 April 2002. The European arrest warrant will come into operation only if the Bill to give effect to it is approved by this Parliament.

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