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Baroness Amos: Last month the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the US District Court decision that no US court has jurisdiction to grant habeas corpus relief to non-US citizens held by the US in Guantanamo Bay. There is however likely to be an appeal against this decision to the US Supreme Court. The US have established a system of military commissions which, where appropriate, will be able to prosecute the detainees but no such prosecutions have yet been carried out. It seems unlikely that the court of any other state would consider itself to have jurisdiction over persons held at Guantanamo Bay.
Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary's exchange with Colin Powell on 23 January formed part of the continuing dialogue between the Government and the United States Government on the welfare and position of the UK detainees in Guantanamo Bay. We continue to press the US to make decisions on the future of the detainees. bjc
Baroness Amos: The EU released a statement in February 2002 about the case of TV6, stressing the importance of independent media. The UK also raised this during bilateral human rights talks with the Russians in September 2002.
Baroness Amos: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office raises media freedom regularly with the Russian Government both bilaterally and through the EU (which made a statement on media freedom in Russia in July last year). During our bilateral human rights talks with the Russians in September 2002 and March 2003, we raised our concerns over the closure of Russian TV channels, radio stations and newspapers as well as the continued harassment of journalists, particularly those reporting on Chechnya and those from Russia's regions. In addition, we regularly lobby on individual cases including through the FCO Freedom of Expression Panel, via EU demarches (e.g. on Grigory Pasko in Sept 2002), and during our bilateral talks (e.g. on Valentin Danilov and Igor Sutyagin in March 2003). DfID, in conjunction with the FCO, runs a number of in-country programmes aimed at developing an independent media.
Baroness Amos: The British Government have been closely involved in the election process throughout, providing extensive assistance to both the Independent National Electoral Commission and to civil society organisations. Assistance has been in such different areas as information dissemination to the public, training the media in election reporting, production of guidelines and training programmes for domestic monitors and international observers, advising on codes of practice for police conduct during elections and guidance to political parties in resolving disputes through the process of law.
The decision to overturn the original rejection was made after discussion with export control section of Defence Intelligence Service. They have established that the equipment is for use at Bulawayo and Harare airports. There is no Zimbabwe air force facility at Bulawayo. There is one near the civil airport in Harare, but the military have their own radar. We are therefore satisfied that the TWT is for civilian use only.
Baroness Amos: The UK supported Resolution 1457 (2003) which reiterates the UN Security Council's commitment to take appropriate action to help put an end to the plundering of the resources of the DRC. The report did not, however, contain sufficient information to substantiate the assertion made in it that the UK companies named had not complied with OECD guidelines. We have again asked the chairman of the Panel of Experts for this information (most recently on 11 March) and once it has been provided, we will respond to the report in more detail. bjc
Baroness Amos: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office discussed the issue of violence against women during bilateral talks with the Russian Government in September 2002. It is likely to be raised at the next talks, due in the first quarter of 2004, although the date of these talks has not yet been set.
In addition, Her Majesty's Government have supported projects in this area, including emergency social and legal assistance to help women; monitoring women's rights through a network of women's NGOs; publicising women's issues through theatre; strengthening the Russian association of crisis centres for women and training volunteers to work in these centres.
Baroness Amos: Our ambassador in Bangkok has raised with the Thai Government our concerns about the dramatic increase in drugs-related deaths in Thailand since the start of the Thai "Campaign against Drugs" on 1 February. Our EU partners share these concerns. We are urging the Thai Government to adopt measures to prevent the death toll rising further and to proceed with independent investigations into each death. The Royal Thai Government have set up two official committees to investigate the deaths, many of which may be related to the drug trade. Our embassy in Bangkok regularly discusses drugs-related issues with the Thai Government and has provided some drugs-related project support. Joan
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): United Kingdom forces have been issued with guidance which reflects paragraph 53 of Additional Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions.
We have taken advice from a wide range of sources in drawing up a list of cultural property inside Iraq. Unless such property is used to support military effort, coalition forces will not attack historical, archaeological and cultural heritage sites.
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