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Irish Language Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The 2004 budget calculation for the Irish Language Agency was based on approved actions in the agency's draft business plan together with associated staffing and premises costs. The sponsor departments consulted the Irish Language Agency and the finance departments in setting the budget. DCAL maintained its proportional contribution at the same level (25 per cent) as in previous years as no new factors emerged that might result in a change.

Law Officers' Advice to Government: Disclosure

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

Baroness Amos: As has repeatedly been made clear, it is for Lord Butler to determine within the terms of reference set out by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary (Mr Straw), the conduct of the review and the scope of his report.

Northern Ireland Department of Culture,Arts and Leisure: Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Funding of £40,500 was allocated by Diversity 21 towards the cost of the cultural diversity initiatives within the Belfast International Festival of Rhythm which organised the "Rhythm in the City" event. In line with normal procedure for any group wishing to apply to Diversity 21 for funding, an application form rather than a business case was completed.

There is no relationship between "Rhythm in the City" and "Rhyming Around Belfast". jenny

21 Apr 2004 : Column WA40

West Belfast Festival

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 5 April (WA 184) concerning the West Belfast Festival, what was the date of the application to the Belfast Regeneration Office, whether it was accompanied by a business case; which body approved the application; when it was approved; and on what grounds.[HL2418]

Baroness Amos: The Belfast Regeneration Office received two applications (WA 184) concerning the West Belfast Festival dated 17 May 2002 and 14 August 2003. The applications were not accompanied by a business case. The Belfast Regeneration Office approved the application dated 17 May 2002 on the grounds that it contributed to the aims and objectives of the Belfast Regeneration Office strategy and criteria. In relation to the application dated 14 August 2003 a ministerial decision was made to provide shortfall funding on the grounds that there was value to be obtained from government subvention in relation to several legitimate aspects of public policy; namely tourism, arts and culture, social and community development.

China: Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will raise the issues of religious persecution and full access to China for United Nations Special Rapporteurs at the 60th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.[HL2366]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Bill Rammell) made a speech at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights this year in which he noted the Government's serious concerns about the human rights situation in China, including freedom of religion. We believe the best way to tackle this and other human rights issues is through critical engagement. We regularly raise the issue of freedom of religion and full access by UN Special Rapporteurs with Chinese interlocutors.

African Court of Humanand People's Rights

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

    Whether they will encourage member states of the African Union and its partners to facilitate the setting up and effective functioning of the African Court of Human and People's Rights; and[HL2374]

    Whether they will encourage the states parties to the African Charter of Human and People's Rights that have not yet ratified the protocol to the charter to do so as expeditiously as possible.[HL2375]

21 Apr 2004 : Column WA41

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We welcome the recent entry into force of the protocol establishing the African Court of Human and People's Rights. This represents a step forward by Africa in strengthening the continental human rights framework. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through its Human Rights Project Fund, has supported this initiative. We will continue to encourage those states which have not yet ratified the protocol to do so as speedily as possible.

European Convention on Human Rights

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

    Whether they will extend the European Convention on Human Rights to all of the territories for whose international relations the United Kingdom is responsible.[HL2378]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The European Convention on Human Rights has already been extended to Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and Dependencies, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The convention will apply to the British Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia with effect from 1 May 2004. In respect of Pitcairn, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 29 March 2004 (WA 127).

There are no plans to extend the convention to the remaining Overseas Territories which do not have settled populations. Joan

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001: Detainees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In respect of detainees under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001:


    (a) how many hours per day they spend locked in their cells,


    (b) how many hours per week of exercise, education and association they receive,


    (c) how these figures compare with those for convicted prisoners in the same prison; and


    (d) whether detainees may associate with other prisoners.[HL2251]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Detainees at Belmarsh prison are unlocked from their cells for approximately eight and a half hours per day. They have access to 15 hours of purposeful activity per week, including education and seven hours of exercise (weather permitting). The balance of time unlocked is made up of other activities such as association, visits etc. Detainees receive the same entitlements as all other persons held at Belmarsh. They may also associate with other prisoners.

21 Apr 2004 : Column WA42

Detainees at Woodhill prison are unlocked from their cells for approximately eight hours per day. They have access to 11 hours of education per week and six and a half hours of exercise (weather permitting). The balance of time unlocked is made up of other activities such as association, visits etc. Detainess receive the same entitlements as all other persons held at Woodhill. They may also associate with other prisoners.

All those detained under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 are free to leave the country at any time.

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001: Privy Counsellor Review Committee

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 29 March (WA 129–130), why they rejected most of the recommendations by the Privy Council Review Committee on the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 before members of the two Houses of Parliament had debated them.[HL2379]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Privy Council Review Committee's report received careful consideration before the Government set out their formal response to the recommendations which they published on the day it was debated in the House of Commons. The Government have published a discussion paper considering the way forward and the recommendations of the Privy Counsellors will no doubt continue to be part of that discussion. jenny

Community Punishments

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is a maximum period of community punishment to which an offender can be sentenced; if so, why there is such a maximum period; what the period is; when it was last changed; and who is responsible for setting the maximum period.[HL2271]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The number of hours for which a person may be required to do unpaid work on a community punishment order ranges from a minimum of 40 to a maximum of 240 hours. Section 199 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 increases the maximum number of hours to 300.


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