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Written Answers

Wednesday, 5th February 2003.

China: Human Rights

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the United Kingdom-China human rights dialogues, they have used the Report of the Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance of 22 December 1994 as a benchmark; and, if so, what progress they consider has been made towards compliance with the special rapporteur's recommendations.[HL1131]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The objectives for our UK/China human rights dialogue are detailed in the FCO Annual Human Rights Report. They cover issues relating to the rule of law, engagement with UN mechanisms, political and religious rights, economic and social rights and the situation in Tibet.

We are disappointed by China's progress to date on the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom in 1994. We continue to raise our concerns about religious freedom in China. We did so most recently at the UK/China human rights dialogue in November 2002.

We understand that at the US/China human rights dialogue in December 2002 China agreed to invite the Special Rapporteur on Religious Freedom.


Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how much money the United Nations World Food Programme seeks to raise to aid Zimbabweans; (b) how much of the sum has been committed in total; and (c) how much the United Kingdom and each other donor country have committed.[HL1233]

Baroness Amos: The current World Food Programme appeal for Zimbabwe seeks to raise US$236 million. As at 20 January, this appeal is 65 per cent funded through cash and grain contributions. Other donations near finalisation are expected to increase the funding to nearly 80 per cent. Feeding needs can therefore be fully met up to March. The major contributors are the USA $66.9 million; the EC $38.8 million; and the UK $18.27 million (including our share of EC contributions which is around 19 per cent). DFID also provided assistance to the first WFP appeal, and has provided £20 million for feeding through non-governmental organisations working in parallel with the WFP.

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Medicines in Developing Countries

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they have taken to ensure that lessons from the first two years of the Accelerating Access Initiative, a public-private partnership between United Nations agencies and research-based pharmaceutical companies, are incorporated into the Government's policies for access to medicines in developing countries.[HL1278]

Baroness Amos: We welcome partnerships like the Accelerating Access Initiative, which in the past two years has resulted in some increased access to HIV/AIDS drugs in Africa, yet progress and coverage are low and the challenges remain immense. The recent Governmental Working Group on Access to Medicines examined the impact of existing research and development-based pharmaceutical industry initiatives offering differential pricing. Our report on Access to Medicines concluded that, provided it is supported by other actions, differential pricing has a real role to play in substantially increasing poor people's access to essential drugs. As part of a differential pricing framework the report recommends, among other things, actions to improve health systems, and positive trade action to prevent leakage of medicines, and work to facilitate predictability and sustainability of access to affordable medicines.

The Government hope to gain further international commitment to improved access to medicines through the G8 process and to demonstrate success of the differential pricing framework by piloting it in a few developing countries.


Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consultations they intend holding with Bermuda, following the Boundaries Commission report, before submitting the draft Order in Council giving effect to its recommendations to the Privy Council.[HL1305]

Baroness Amos: The draft Order in Council, together with an explanatory note, was published in the Bermuda press on 29 November to draw its terms to the attention of as many people as possible in Bermuda and to allow any comments or representations to be made. The draft order was also sent to the Premier and Leader of the Opposition on 25 November. The Premier and the Leader of the Opposition in Bermuda have confirmed their agreement to the text of the draft order and their wish that it should be given legal effect as soon as possible. It is still open to people in Bermuda to make representations. I shall take a view in mid-February whether to submit the draft order to the Privy Council on 27 February.

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Criminal Record Checks

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which personnel for whom a criminal record check should have been secured remain exempt due to the backlog of checks at the Criminal Records Bureau; and[HL1109]

    When the relaxation of the rules for criminal record checks will be lifted; and[HL1110]

    How many people are awaiting criminal record checks, including those who received temporary exemption.[HL1111]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): As set out in the Answer I gave to a Question by my noble friend Lady Billingham on 1 November (WA 48–50), in the light of a review of the projected likely capacity of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) against projected demand for its service, it has been necessary to take temporary measures not to increase the level of demand by postponing certain requirements for mandatory checks.

In care homes for adults, only providers and managers were subject to checks prior to 1 April 2002. An estimated 100,000 new staff per year will continue to be subject to CRB checks, as will providers and managers. But an estimated 300,000 staff who were already in post on 1 April and who have not already applied for checks will not need to be checked for the time being.

Both new and existing nurses supplied by nurses' agencies and staff supplied by domiciliary care agencies will also not need to be checked for the time being. A requirement for all such personnel to be checked in the current financial year would have entailed up to an estimated 200,000 in each group. Thereafter, it is estimated that some 50,000 staff supplied by nurses' agencies and 60,000 staff supplied by domiciliary care agencies would have needed to be checked each year. Nurses supplied as new staff to establishments where requirements for mandatory checks are in force (including adult care homes and children's homes) will continue to be subject to checks. So will providers and managers of nurses' agencies and domiciliary care agencies. The Nurses Agency and Domiciliary Care Agency Regulations will still come into effect on 1 April 2003, but without the requirement for CRB checks for care workers and nurses supplied by agencies. Care workers and nurses supplied by agencies will be required to provide a statement that they have no criminal convictions or to provide a statement of any criminal convictions that they do have.

The Government remain committed to introducing CRB checks in these areas at the earliest possible opportunity.

Finally, school governors will also not be required to have CRB checks for the time being. Such checks would have generated an estimated 70,000–90,000 applications per year. The Department for Education and Skills will still be going ahead with the

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introduction of the School Governance (Constitution) Regulations to come into effect in March 2003 but without the requirement for CRB checks.

Dr Swiatomyr M. Fostun

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will institute an immediate investigation into allegations, reported in the Sunday Telegraph of 26 January, that Dr Swiatomyr M. Fostun was guilty of Nazi war crimes.[HL1304]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are committed to bringing war criminals to justice. This can only be done on the available evidence and in accordance with the rule of law.

The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating the allegations against Dr Swiatomyr Fostun and will submit a report to the Crown Prosecution Service should sufficient evidence come to light.

Asylum Seekers

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many asylum seekers have had their initial applications wrongly refused over each of the past three years, both in-country and at the port of entry; and what proportion they were of all those who were eventually granted asylum.[HL1351]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): The available information is given in the table. Comparable figures are not available for those cases which were successful after appeal to the Immigration Appellate Tribunal (IAT) or higher courts, but a very small proportion is involved.

Appeals may be allowed on a number of grounds and may reflect additional information not provided to the Home Office or changed circumstances, and therefore do not necessarily indicate that the initial refusal was incorrect.

Estimated(1) outcomes of asylum applications made in 2000 and in 2001
Number of principal applicants

20002001 p
Asylum applications(2)80,31571,365
Percentage of applications
of which—decisions by Home Office(3) (4)
Granted asylum (indefinite leave to remain)(4)1010
Not recognised as a refugee but granted exceptional leave to remain(4)1322
Refused asylum and exceptional leave to remain(4)7768
of which—Appeals by the IAA1110
of which—Granted asylum indefinite leave to remain)(5)109
Granted exceptional leave to remain(5)11
Summary of estimated outcomes
(including appeal outcomes at IAA)(3,5)
Recognised as a refugee and granted asylum (indefinite leave to remain)1919
Not recognised as a refugee but granted exceptional leave to remain1423
Refused asylum and exceptional leave to remain6659

p provisional

(1) The figures for 2000 are estimates because new electronic recording systems were first used in April 2000, and the figures for 2001 are estimated because a proportion of applications made in 2001 was awaiting the outcome of initial decisions or of appeals at the time of data production.

(2) May exclude some cases lodged at local enforcement offices between January 1999 and March 2000.

(3) Percentages may not sum to totals or to 100 per cent due to rounding.

(4) Exclude cases withdrawn at the initial decision stage. Includes outcomes of reconsideration cases—these refer to asylum decisions which later require to be reconsidered as a result of additional information and or significant changes in current circumstances and country information.

(5) Estimated breakdown of appeals between ILR and ELR is based on internal management information on grants made in January–July 2002 following allowed appeals.


Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2001, paragraph 24 and Table 1.1.

Asylum statistics are published quarterly. The latest published figures give information up to and including September 2002. The next publication giving figures up to and including December 2002 will be available from 28 February 2003 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at

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