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Special Educational Needs

Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: The national audit of low-incidence special educational needs (SEN) support, services and provision commenced on 1 February 2005. Information about the audit was made available from that time. The audit is due to report back to the department in early January 2006.

The audit will take into account the views of education, social care, health and the voluntary and private sectors. The aims of the audit are to:

For the purposes of the audit, low-incidence SEN covers children and young people with the following needs:

The Special Needs Consultancy is undertaking the audit on behalf of the department at a cost of £102,600 (excluding VAT).

Three other bids were received:

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Special Needs Teachers

Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: The information requested on the numbers of teachers trained and the numbers in service is not collected centrally. No estimate of the numbers of teachers needed has been made.

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised the issue of harassment of humanitarian aid workers with both the government in Khartoum and with officials in Darfur during his visit to Sudan in June. One case he raised in particular was that of the arrest of the Head of Mission and Darfur Co-ordinator of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Holland, following the publication of its report on rape and gender-based violence in Darfur. On 19 June the charges against MSF were formally dropped.

Harassment of humanitarian workers and organisations in Darfur is totally unacceptable. It represents a real threat in agencies ability to deliver life-saving assistance to the people who need it. Her Majesty's Government will continue to press the Government on this. These matters are also raised through multinational fora such as the regular sub-joint implementation mechanism meetings between donors and the government of Sudan.

The security and humanitarian protocols signed in Abuja reinforce the need for all parties to allow humanitarian operations to go unhindered. The UK, in particular through the FCO/DfID Sudan unit, is pushing all sides to implement these.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The African Union regularly shares its assessment of the security situation in Darfur with us, but on a confidential basis. Some of the official reports of the African Union (AU) Ceasefire Commission (the arm of the AU mission in Darfur which is responsible for investigating and reporting on breaches of the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement) are available on the AU's website (www.africa–union.org). Unfortunately, this website is not always updated. We regularly press the AU to improve the availability of public information, and will continue to do so. In the mean time, the monthly reports of the UN Secretary-General on Darfur are available on the UN's website (www.un.org). These include a useful reporting on the security situation, drawing on the AU's assessment.

The view of the AU and the UN Secretary-General is that the overall level of violence in Darfur this year has been lower than in 2004. Importantly, attacks against civilians, and civilian deaths, have decreased.

Banditry, including cattle looting, harassment of humanitarian workers, isolated attacks on civilians and incidents of rape continued throughout April and May. No large-scale attacks by the parties to the ceasefire agreement—the government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) or the Justice and
 
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Equality Movement (JEM)—were reported in April. However on 7 April, an Arab militia attacked the village of Khor Abeche in Southern Darfur, reportedly killing around 17 civilians. There were a number of clashes between the parties in the second half of May, in the run up to the resumption of the Abuja peace talks on 10 June. These clashes mostly took the form of small-scale rebel attacks against convoys of the government forces or police, with the SLA appearing to be the main perpetrator. There were also incidents of fighting between the SLA and the JEM. There have been no reports in recent months of attacks by the government of Sudan's airforce.


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