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The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): No Unionist political adviser was asked to approve the budget for the North/South Language Body. It is not for the Government to comment on Ulster Unionist Party's understanding of these matters.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The prospect of a reduction in the provision for the North/South Language Body was discussed at a meeting on 11 September 2002 of officials of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and representatives of the Body. Details were not mentioned as the estimates process was not yet completed. Officials in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure were advised on 12 November that the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs 2003 provision for the North/South Language Body would be £7.82 million compared to £8.27 million in 2002 Estimates Volume. The
The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development last discussed China's one-child policy with the Chinese State Family Planning Minister in May 2002.
We are aware of media reports of the illicit trade in babies. We have made clear to the Chinese our view that family planning policies should be based on free and informed parental choice and not on coercion.
Baroness Amos: We are very concerned about this grave abuse committed by all the illegal armed groups in Colombia. We fully supported the Chairperson's Statement on Colombia at the recent Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, which condemned recruitment of children, called for their immediate demobilisation and urged Colombia to ratify the relevant protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed confllict.
Through the British Embassy in Colombia, we have recently funded a Save the Children Fund project to rehabilitate and guarantee the rights of ex-combatant children in Colombia. UNICEF works with the Colombian Government to prevent the recruitment of children, and to rehabilitate and reintegrate child soldiers.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which conducts an annual survey into the level of opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, reported that the level of cultivation in 2002 was 74,000 hectares (compared to 91,000 hectares in 1999, 82,000 hectares in 2000 and 8,000 hectares in 2001). The UNODC is in the process of carrying out the 2003 survey. Its results will be published in the autumn. In March 2003, the UNODC published an Opium Rapid Assessment Survey for Afghanistan. This gave an early insight into the pattern of opium poppy cultivation for the 200203 growing season but did not predict the level of opium poppy cultivation for 2003 or beyond. It did find however that there was a trend for farmers to cultivate opium poppy in increasingly remote and inaccessible areas.
President Karzai signalled his determination to rid Afghanistan of drugs by banning the production, processing and trafficking of drugs in January 2002. A compensated eradication programme to tackle the 2002 opium poppy crop followed this, which the UK provided financial and logistical support for. The Afghan authorities believe this led to the destruction of 17,300 hectares of opium poppy, nearly 25 per cent of the poppy crop. This was the figure I referred to in the House on 28 April (Official Report, Col. 445).
Baroness Amos: Her Majesty's Government oppose the death penalty in all circumstances. We and our EU partners regularly raise our concerns about this case with the appropriate authorities in Nigeria. On 4 September 2002, in a meeting with President Obasanjo, I expressed our concern about the harsh sentences imposed under the Sharia penal codes, emphasising the strength of feeling against them in the UK and reiterating Her Majesty's Government's opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Juries (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 which came into operation on 31 July 1996 revised the law relating to the qualification for, and exemption from, jury service as well as the empanelling, summoning and balloting of jurors.
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