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Racial Discrimination: EC Legislation

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

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Her Majesty's Government were fully involved in the negotiation of the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC), at the Social Questions Working Group, at COREPER and at the Social Affairs Council. There was no discussion whatsoever about either the inclusion or the exclusion of discrimination based on colour from the scope of the Race Directive.

The Commission's original draft directive, published in November 1999, which formed the basis of the negotiations, included only "race or ethnic origin" as the grounds of discrimination. None of the member states' delegations suggested adding other grounds which their own national legislation already covered, or which were of particular concern in their own national contexts. This was in recognition that EC Directives set a minimum standard beyond which member states' legislation can—and in the case of the United Kingdom does—extend.

Beyond this, the Government cannot speculate on the Commission's rationale for the non-inclusion of colour in the grounds of discrimination covered by the directive.

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

    Whether the effect of the Regulations made to implement the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) is that under the amended Race Relations Act 1976 victims of discrimination based on colour will be less well protected in some respects than the victims of any other forms of discrimination.[HL4053]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The vast majority of victims of discrimination based on colour will continue to be protected under the provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 which are similar in many respects to the legislation implementing the other Article 13 directives. The changes made by the regulations in order to ensure full compliance with the directive conform to the scope of the directive, which does not extend its protection to discrimination based on colour, or indeed nationality. Victims of discrimination based colour will not be less well protected, by virtue of these regulations, than victims of discrimination based on nationality.

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

    Which other member states of the European Union have implemented the Race Directive by legislation which excludes discrimination based on colour from the prohibition against racial discrimination.[HL4176]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We understand that three member states in addition to the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Italy—have recently updated their anti-discrimination rules or legislation to take account of the race directive. We do not

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currently have any information about the exact nature of the changes made in those three states, nor are we able to speculate about the position in the other member states.

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

    Whether the Commission for Racial Equality has made representations about the exclusion of discrimination based on colour from the regulations implementing the race directive; and[HL4177]

    Whether the Commission for Racial Equality has made representations about the exclusion of discrimination based on colour from the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC).[HL4179]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Commission for Racial Equality submitted responses to the Government's public consultations on the implementation of the EC Article 13 Race and Employment Directives Towards Equality and Diversity (December 2001) and Equality and Diversity: The way ahead (October 2002). These responses include representations for inclusion of "colour" as one of the protected grounds in the race regulations.

UK–US Extradition

Lord Scott of Foscote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, pursuant to Articles 24(5) and 38 of the Treaty on European Union, there are any constitutional procedures required to be followed in the United Kingdom in order for the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements between the European Union and the United States to become binding in the United Kingdom; and, if so, what those constitutional procedures entail.[HL4061]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: No ratification procedure is required for the agreements. The provisions in the Extradition Agreement are either contained or reflected within the Extradition Bill that is currently before Parliament, or within the UK–US bilateral extradition treaty, signed on 31 March 2003; or else they require administrative changes that will simplify and speed up the procedures before transmitting extradition documentation.

The provisions of most articles of the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement are either already in place or reflect those in the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill that is also now before Parliament; or else can be provided for using secondary legislation under that Bill and earlier Acts of Parliament.

Lord Scott of Foscote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to the Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements between the European Union and the United States, what steps they are taking to ensure that the assurances given orally to

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    Sub-Committee E of the European Union Committee by Bob Ainsworth MP on 4 June, recorded in a letter to the Minister dated 12 June, and concerning compliance with the European Court of Human Rights, non-imposition of the death penalty; no substitution of a capital charge; trial before an ordinary federal or state court, and not before a military tribunal; and no mutual assistance except where an investigation is in progress and the requesting authority has criminal competence, are made known to those facing extradition pursuant to the Extradition Agreement or otherwise likely to be affected by either of the Extradition or Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements.[HL4062]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The assurances given by my honourable friend, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, Bob Ainsworth, on 4 June 2003, as recorded in the letter to him from the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, of 12 June, are a matter of public record.

The Extradition Bill, currently before Parliament, is consistent with the assurances by guaranteeing that there will be no extradition where there is a possibilty of the death penalty being carried out, and no extradition where it would breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Prisoners: Heroin Users

Lord Chadlington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of those currently in prison were opiate users before conviction.[HL4114]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Results from the Criminality Survey, a large survey of newly arrived male prisoners carried out in 2000, show that 31 per cent had used heroin in the year prior to being sent to prison.

Heroin Prescribing Guidance

Lord Chadlington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funding is being provided for the proposed new pilot supervised injecting clinics; and whether they intend to commission any ongoing independent evaluation of these clinics.[HL4115]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government announced the launch of heroin prescribing guidance on 13 June 2003. The guidance was developed to complement and expand on existing Department of Health guidelines, Drug misuse and dependence: guidelines on clinical management.

The guidance is based on a fresh examination of the latest national and international evidence and best practice and represents a consensus of expert opinion

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on injectable prescribing. Discussions are taking place between the Home Office, the Department of Health and National Treatment Agency on pilot projects to test aspects of the guidance.

Funding for these is under discussion.

Offenders aged 18 to 20: Reducing Recidivism

Lord Chadlington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In light of the 76 per cent reconviction rate, what steps are they taking to reduce the number of offenders aged between 18 and 20.[HL4116]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government has identified the need to address the particular issues of offending by this age group and to use the experience of the youth justice reforms to inform its approach. In doing so, we will take account of the recommendations of the Social Exclusion Unit Report, Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners.

Compared with older prisoners, offenders aged 18 to 20 have fewer basic skills, higher unemployment rates and are more likely to have been excluded from school. The most immediate priority, therefore, for reducing their re-offending is to improve their access to programmes and support.

We have agreed that the new funding provided for prison education should have a particular focus on 18 to 20 year-olds. Priority has therefore been given to expanding provision in establishments holding female prisoners and young offenders aged 18 to 20. We have also agreed that the strategy for this age group should be underpinned by the principle of testing new approaches to sentence delivery through 18 to 20 year-olds in the first instance. For example, the National Probation Directorate has already commenced piloting the Intensive Control and Change Programme (ICCP) which will be delivered through a community punishment and rehabilitation order (CPRO) and involves a number of key partner agencies, such as the Police and Connexions. One of the aims of the ICCP is to reduce reconviction rates by 10 per cent compared with a similar group receiving short custodial sentences.

The Government have also funded the extension of the High Intensity Training Programme (HIT), previously piloted at HM Young Offenders Institution Thorn Cross, and planned to start at HMYOI Deerbolt later this year. The regime included offending behaviour, education, mentoring and throughcare components.


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