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Iraq: Armoured Vehicles

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: UK Armed Forces always deploy with a mix of armour in order to suit the range of conditions and threats encountered on operations such as TELIC. In this case, Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks, Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and Saxon Armoured Personnel Carriers and SNATCH armoured Land Rovers provide that mix, and would equate to the US M1 Abrams, M2 Bradley and HMMWV (high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle fleet) respectively. Force commanders in theatre constantly review the nature and level of the threat to British troops, and thereby assign assets in line with the currently assessed areas of highest risk and operational priority.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: No. As at 31 October 2005, the Iraqi police service in MND(SE) had taken receipt of 59 ex-Northern Ireland urban patrol Land Rovers donated under the auspices of Project OSIRIS, the security sector reform project which aims to re-equip the Iraqi security forces with the vehicles, infrastructure and equipment they require to undertake security themselves. The Land Rovers were surplus to UK requirements, and the subsequent modification is not to a configuration operated by UK Forces.

Iraq: Prisoners

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Drayson: We are helping the Iraqis to restore stability and build a democratic state. A strong, functioning, legal system is central to this project.

We take all practicable steps to ensure that any prisoners handed over to the Iraqi criminal justice system are not mistreated. We have agreed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Iraqis governing prisoner transfer. Under the terms of the MoU, we seek written guarantees for each prisoner transferred to the Iraqis ensuring that they will not be mistreated. And once transferred, court liaison teams from the Royal Military Police monitor their cases to ensure no abuse is occurring.

However, once transferred their treatment is ultimately a matter for a sovereign Iraqi government.

Israel: Bethlehem

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: Israel has a right to protect its citizens from terrorist attack, but the routing of the barrier on occupied territory is contrary to international law. We have made clear our concerns on the routing of the barrier beyond the green line to the Israeli Government at all levels and will continue to do so. Most recently, my honourable friend the Minister for State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Kim Howells) raised this during my visit to the region on 27–30 September. We have not made specific representations over the construction of the barrier around Bethlehem.

Israel: Occupied Territories

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: We have not made a specific assessment of restrictions that impede the growth of academia and higher education establishments in the Palestinian territories, but the continued Israeli closure regime of roadblocks and checkpoints and the imposition of curfews have a severe impact on almost every Palestinian in the occupied territories. Closures, checkpoints and the routing of the barrier hinder ordinary Palestinians' travel and make it difficult for students and teachers to travel to school.

We have expressed our concerns to the Israeli Government on political, legal and humanitarian grounds and will continue to do so.
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Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: In line with the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultation, HM Treasury published the consultation document on the Insurers (Reorganisation and Winding-Up) (Lloyd's) Regulations 2005 on its website to ensure wide public availability. In addition to that, HM Treasury sent hard copies of the consultation document directly to the Society of Lloyd's and members' and managing agents as representatives of names and former names.

HM Treasury remains committed to continually improving its consultation processes and will be meeting representatives of the society and members' agents to review its procedures for consulting on Lloyd's issues in future. In particular the Treasury, where appropriate, will also bring further consultation on relevant Lloyd's issues direct to the attention of known representatives of former Lloyd's names.

NHS Pension Scheme

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The latest assessment of the pension scheme liabilities can be found in the 2003–04 pension scheme resource accounts, which are published on the website. The address is The deadline for publication of the 2004–05 pension scheme resource accounts is 31 January 2006, after which time they will appear at the same address on the agency's website.

Palestinian Children: Nutrition

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): A survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 2004 found that 9.4 per cent. of children under five were short for their age and that 1.9 per cent. of those children had low weight for their
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height. These indicators can be interpreted as measures of chronic and acute malnutrition, respectively. However, they also suggest that the nutritional situation in the West Bank and Gaza is similar to that of other countries in the region. DfID is providing £1 million over six years as part of a multi-donor project to strengthen the capacity of the PCBS and enable it to carry out its work.

A previous nutritional assessment carried out by the John Hopkins and Al Quds Universities in 2002 concluded that the figures for chronic malnutrition (stunting) and acute malnutrition (wasting) among children under five were 11.7 per cent. and 7.8 per cent. respectively. When the Gaza Strip was considered alone, the figures rose to 17.5 per cent. and 13.3 per cent. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has observed that "while malnutrition has been eliminated, mild to moderate iron deficiency anaemia is still highly prevalent among pre-school children". DfID is providing £15 million to UNRWA's work with Palestinian refugees this financial year and has provided a total of £117 million over the past six years.

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