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Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: These criteria are similar to those set out by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in his speech in Chicago in 1999. We support the development of such principles as a tool to assist the Security Council in deciding when to authorise the use of force. We also note that the high level panel identifies that the Security Council needs to be more proactive in dealing with threats and that in certain circumstances force may be justified not just reactively, but preventively.

Croatia: International Criminal Tribunal

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No.

Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is still under negotiation. Like most other members of the working group, the UK has a number of concerns with the original text. Only two out of 64 articles of the original text have been agreed, and there are alternative proposals on the table for much of the remaining text. The issue has therefore been one of discussion and negotiation, not signature. However, we were encouraged by the progress made in negotiations in the September and November/December 2004 working group sessions. We will continue to work with UN partners and indigenous representatives to reach agreement on a strong and meaningful declaration.
 
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Algeria: Human Rights

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: During the course of 2005, the European Union (EU) intends to hold human rights sub-committees with all Mediterranean partner countries that have a functioning association agreement. During our EU presidency, we will co-chair these human rights sub-committees with the Commission. We expect Algeria to ratify its association agreement this year. Pending ratification of the association agreement, the EU has reminded Algeria of its ongoing interest in Algeria's human rights situation.

During our presidency we will co-host with Spain an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona process. Political and economic reform will be major themes of discussion at that event.

European Convention on Human Rights: Article 15 Derogations

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: No members of the European Union have made a derogation under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of their systems of military discipline.

Although there have been no derogations under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of their systems of military discipline, the following members of the European Union have made a reservation:

Lebanon

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK would consider any invitation from the Lebanese Election Commission to send observers to the forthcoming elections in Lebanon.

It is important that elections are held in a secure atmosphere, free from intimidation. In this context the UK calls for the full implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559.

Before elections can be held the Lebanese Parliament needs to assent to a new electoral law. We hope this law will provide for a credible electoral process.

People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): As a matter of policy, the Government do not comment on whether a particular organisation is being considered for proscription or de-proscription under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Such decisions are taken only after the most careful consideration and on the basis of the best possible security advice.

Gun Crime

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: From 1984–85 until 1996–97 these data were not collected centrally. In respect of 1997–98 to 2003–04 attempts were made to collect the data but there were concerns over the quality of these data and, as a result, they have not been published. Because of these concerns, and following consultation with the police service, this data item ceased to be collected centrally from 1 April 2004.

Prisons: Women Offenders

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information on the number of females in prison establishments who are pregnant is not recorded centrally.

On 31 December 2004 there were 108 females aged 21 years and 55 females aged 18 years under immediate custodial sentence in prison establishments in England and Wales. On the same date there were 31 females aged 21 years and 21 females aged 18 years on remand. This information is as recorded on the Prison Service IT system.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: That will be the position in all women's prisons from 1 April 2005. Under the partnership between the Prison Service and the NHS, responsibility for the provision of primary healthcare services in public prisons, including pre-natal and post-natal care, is being assumed by local primary care trusts. PCTs began taking on this responsibility from 1 April 2004 and by 1 April this year they will cover all public prisons for women. Equal standards of care apply in those private prisons that hold or will shortly hold women prisoners.


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