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What progress has been made in implementing the recommendations made by the Prisons Ombudsman in his investigation into allegations of racism, abuse and violence at the Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre; when they expect to have completed the process; and what plans they have for applying the recommendation to the immigration detention estate. [HL3288]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Following the Prison Ombudsman investigation report into the allegations of racism, abuse and violence at Yarl's Wood, the Immigration Service produced an action plan for Yarl's Wood and the rest of the detention estate. From the total of the 30 recommendations made, 12 have been implemented, nine will be implemented by the end of June 2004 and the remaining nine are on target to be implemented by the end of September 2004.
24 Jun 2004 : Column WA149
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have no plans at present to stop using Lindholme as an immigration removal centre. However, we are naturally concerned at the findings of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons following her recent inspection of the centre. The recommendations made by the chief inspector will be considered very carefully and, where necessary, changes and improvements will be made in the management and operation of the centre. Discussions with the Prison Service about the day-to-day operation of the centre are taking place as a matter of priority. Problems about the cleanliness of the centre have been addressed since the time of the inspection by the letting of a new cleaning contract and concerns about the state of repair of parts of the buildings will be addressed as part of the refurbishment programme for the centre.
Whether they approve of the use of sleep deprivation, disorientation techniques and other non-violent ways of putting pressure on prisoners in Iraq; whether they have communicated their views to the United States government; and whether they are satisfied that such techniques are not supported by the United States authorities with respect to certain prisoners in Iraq. [HL2787]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): All United Kingdom interrogators must successfully complete a stringent course prior to undertaking any operational interrogations. During the course they are specifically instructed that individuals being questioned must be treated at all times in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Techniques such as sleep deprivation are forms of coercion that are banned by the conventions.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 8 July 2003 (WA 3132) concerning the arrangement for the transfer of prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian detainees that was declassified on 11 November 2003, how many prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 8 July 2003 (WA 3132) concerning the arrangement for the transfer of prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian detainees that was declassifed on 11 November 2003, how the United Kingdom has enforced the responsibility of the United States as the accepting power for maintaining and safeguarding all such individuals; and how many visits have been made to such prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian detainees, using Her Majesty's Government's full right of access; and [HL2861]
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 30 April (WA 106107), whether they now believe all persons captured by United Kingdom forces in Iraq and transferred to United States control have been treated humanely and decently; and what inquiries they have made and actions they have taken to ensure they have been so treated. [HL2862]
Lord Bach: The UK transferred about 340 prisoners of war to the US in April 2003. All but two have subsequently been released. We are satisfied that both remaining prisoners are being treated humanely in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, to which the US is a signatory.
Between May and December 2003when the UK divisional temporary detention facility was openedalmost all of those interned by UK forces for security reasons were held at the US facility in Umm Qasr. There was a continuous UK presence at the camp and we are not aware of any reports of deliberate mistreatment of UK internees there or elsewhere. The majority were released prior to December and the remaining few were transferred back into UK custody when the UK DTDF was opened.
Since December 2003 those UK internees transferred to the US have been held at the US facility of Abu Ghraib. All but four have been released. Two of those will be released shortly and we are continuing to have regular discussions with the US regarding the final two. We are not aware of any reports of deliberate mistreatment of UK internees.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 8 July 2003 (WA 3132) concerning the arrangement for the transfer of prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian detainees that was declassified on 11 November 2003, how many prisoners of war, civilian internees and civilian detainees transferred to the United States as the accepting power have been repatriated or removed to territories outside Iraq; and why. [HL2860]
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 26 May (WA 147), whether any compensation has been paid to Environmental Tectonics Corporation by the Ministry of Defence in respect of the ending of that company's contract. [HL3083]
Lord Bach: I can confirm that under the terms of the mediated settlement on the Royal Air Force Centrifuge the Ministry of Defence has made a compensation payment to the Environmental Tectonics Corporation.
Lord Bach: In light of the local security situation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has still been unable to begin its environmental field survey of Iraq. Therefore UNEP's planned monitoring of depleted uranium in the environment, including water, has not yet started.
What consideration they have given to the representations about the Skipton Fund sent to the Department of Health by the Lord Morris of Manchester on behalf of the Haemophilia Society in Scotland; and whether they will be taking any action. [HL3155]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Haemophilia Society in Scotland's representations about the Skipton Fund were received by the Department of Health on 14 June. Ministers and officials are considering these comments, and a comprehensive response will be provided. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library.
Lord Warner: Chronic diseases are those that can only be controlled and not, at present, cured. In some circumstances, eczema and psoriasis will be regarded as chronic. It will depend on how severely the patient is affected.
Primary care trusts, in partnership with local stakeholders, have the responsibility for deciding what services to provide for their populations, including those with skin disease. They are best placed to understand local health needs and commission services to meet them.
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