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Iraq: Cultural Reconstruction

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The Government take very seriously the need to respect Iraq's cultural heritage. As United Nations Security Council resolution 1546 (June 2004) stressed, all parties need to respect and protect Iraq's archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in regular contact with the Iraqi Ministry of Culture. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, (Tessa Jowell), spoke to the former Iraqi Minister of Culture on 26 January and is kept closely informed of key cultural issues in Iraq.

In early 2005 the Government funded a capacity-building visit to the UK by three Iraqi interns from Babylon. They received training on site management techniques and museology and were based at the British Museum. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will give careful consideration to any further proposals designed to help the cultural reconstruction of Iraq.
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European Court of Human Rights: Mr Ocalan

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: On 12 June the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that in the case of Ocalan v Turkey the general conditions in which the applicant was being detained at Imrali Prison did not constitute inhuman or degrading treatment within the meaning of Article 3 of the ECHR, and consequently there was no violation of Article 3. The Council of Europe's Commission for Prevention of Torture (CPT) visited Ocalan on Imrali in February 2003 to assess his prison conditions and their report was published along with the Turkish Government's response in February 2004. We have discussed the CPT report and Turkey's response with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Embassy staff discuss Mr Ocalan's situation with his lawyers as developments arise. We do not intend to ask the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture to re-examine his prison conditions and report at this time.

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Triesman: We have made clear to the government of Sudan (GoS) that all returns must be voluntary, and carried out in full accordance with the established international mechanisms.

Improving the security situation is key if those who have been displaced are to return to their homes. We are pressing the GoS to ensure the safety of their civilians and to improve the security situation in Darfur, but the African Union (AU) mission also has a key role to play.

We welcome the planned expansion of the AU mission to over 7,700 personnel and have allocated £19 million in support of this. Where AU troops are deployed, they have helped to create the necessary conditions for some internally displaced persons returns. For example, in Labado and Khor Abeche the AU presence has, according to the UN, enabled 15,000 and 4,500 people respectively to return to their homes. The additional troops will enable the AU to provide greater geographical coverage in Darfur, and a more permanent presence in areas where it is already deployed.

Crossrail: Funding

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: £154 million was allocated to the Crossrail project in 2001. In April 2005, £48 million of this initial funding remained. We are currently considering with Transport for London the extent to which the project requires additional funding during the passage of the Crossrail Bill.

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