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Baroness Amos: The two main themes for discussions were torture and discrimination (the latter covered women, minorities, racial discrimination and xenophobia). The EU troika handed over a list of individual cases in Iran to which it attached particular importance and about which it sought information. The EU also expressed its concern at public executions and other severe punishments.
Baroness Amos: We have consistently called on all parties to do all they can to end the violence. We support the efforts of the quartet to adopt a roadmap to a permanent solution which includes a cessation of violence, among other steps. Peace can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement, not through force.
Baroness Amos: The creation of an inter-religious council for Jerusalem and the holy sites has been mooted as one option, among several, for the resolution of sovereignty issues relating to the city. It is for the parties themselves to settle these issues, as part of final status negotiations. Her Majesty's Government attach great importance to ensuring access to Jerusalem and freedom of worship there for those of all faiths. Any solution on Jerusalem should ensure freedom of worship.
Baroness Amos: British Embassy staff in Kabul are in frequent contact with the ICRC, which monitors closely the situation and welfare of all prisoners in Afghanistan. However, the ICRC cannot provide full reports.
We are concerned about reported conditions in prisons across Afghanistan and have made clear to the Afghan Transitional Administration, which includes former Northern Alliance members, that we expect them, as the responsible authority for prisoners in Afghanistan, to respect their international obligations. This includes treating their prisoners humanely and in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and international human rights law.
We are exploring direct assistance to the new government. We are considering Quick Start initiatives to demonstrate the benefits of peace to the Congolese people. Consideration is also being given to other areas, including disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of all armed groups; forming a new national army; and poverty reduction. We will continue existing humanitarian and peace building activities and support re-engagement in DRC by the international financial institutions.
What assessment they have made of the impact of landmines on the African continent; and what action, if any, they are taking to seek to eliminate landmines in Africa.[HL853]
Baroness Amos: The African continent comprises the entire range of mine-affectedness, with some countries among the most heavily mine-infested in the world, others completely mine-free and others again falling somewhere between these extremes. Apart from the toll of human tragedy caused by anti-personnel landmines, affected countries share to differing degrees a common experience of social and economic dislocation caused by denial of access to productive land, diversion of medical and other resources and, in many cases, obstacles to conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation, regeneration and development.
HMG's global humanitarian demining strategy is directed towards universalisation of the Ottawa Convention and helping developing countries to develop their own capacity to meet their convention obligations. The Department for International Development (DfID) funds work in support of mine clearance, mines awareness and capacity building programmes. The latter include programmes aimed at improving the linkage with poverty reduction in national planning and prioritisation; encouraging practical innovation to enhance safety and efficiency in operations; and strengthening international systems for co-ordination and collaboration. DfID has a planned provision for around £10 million annually for mines action, the majority provided through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP).
DfID has supported humanitarian mine action in Africa for over 10 years, with bilateral demining programmes covering Angola, Chad, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique. In the current financial year DfID is providing financial support of £2 million to UNDP, aimed at enhancing the capacity of mine action organisations in Angola, Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
In line with its commitments under Article 12 of the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) the UK is fully committed to ensuring that children's views are taken into consideration when making any decision that will affect them. We have sought to lead the international community by example in this area.
We sent two young people to South Africa to attend the World Conference Against Racism as part of the UK delegation. We also sent two young people to attend the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children as members of the UK delegation in 2001. Chapter 8 of the FCO's Annual Human Rights Report 2002 provides more detailed information on the range of work HMG undertake to promote child rights world-wide. In 2002, that included support for 30 projects in 24 countries worth over £1 million.
Previously it advised against all travel to the country. It now advises against all non-essential travel to Indonesia. The FCO continues to assess that the threat to British nationals and British interests from terrorism throughout Indonesia remains high and that British nationals already in Indonesia should consider leaving if their presence is not essential.
The decision to change the advice was taken after careful consideration of the latest information, including intelligence. It also brings it into line with the latest advice of the Australian Government. The
Since Bali, there has been only one significant attack, at a McDonalds restaurant and a car showroom in Makassar, Sulawesi, in December which killed three Indonesian nationals. A number of anti-terrorist decrees have been passed and some important arrests made in respect of the Bali bombings and previous terrorist incidents. The Muslim mass movements are now speaking out against terrorism. The radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has been held for police questioning. The Indonesians have also provided more security than before to diplomatic missions and international schools, as well as other non-specifically Western targets, such as shopping malls, entertainment centres and churches.