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The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The UK is deeply troubled by recent political developments in Nepal. Following the arrest of party leaders, political activists, members of civil society and human rights defenders on 19 and 20 January, we summoned the Nepalese Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to explain
 
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his government's actions. My honourable friend, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, Dr Howells, urged the Government of Nepal to release all of the political activists detained in the most recent round up of arrests. My honourable friend also issued a statement in which he said:

My honourable friend called on the King to urgently release those arrested, and to find ways to resume dialogue with the political parties. The full text can be found at www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1007029391638&a=KArticle&aid=1136906017567%20&year=2006&month=2006-01-01 &date=2006-01-19.

The UK later joined EU partners in issuing a statement expressing concern about the most recent round of arrests and of the infringements on human rights and democratic freedoms. In that statement we called on the King, the Government of Nepal and the security forces to immediately restore all political and civil liberties, release political prisoners and human rights defenders, and ensure that political and civil rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, can be exercised peacefully. The full text can be found at www.eu2006.at/en/News/CFSP–Statements/January/2701Nepal.html.

We are encouraged to note that some of the party leaders who were detained have now been released. But there are approximately 250 political activists still in detention in Kathmandu and another 250 outside. This includes one of the major party leaders, who is still under house arrest.

The UK has made a number of representations to the Government of Nepal about restrictions on the media and abuses of human rights over the past year. During the UK's presidency of the EU, we led a senior official-level EU troika visit to Nepal in which we raised these issues and publicly urged the government and security forces to respect human rights and to use security legislation with utmost caution. In response to the arrests in January, the EU demarched the Nepalese Foreign Minister on 27 January calling for the immediate release of recently detained political prisoners.

NHS: Doctors' Training

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): We are not removing funding for the flexible training of doctors.
 
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Official Gifts: Foreign Secretary

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): None.

Prisoners: Mental Illness and Substance Misuse

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Based on epidemiological studies around 39,000 prisoners with a serious drug problem are present in custody at any one time. Among prisoners assessed as drug dependent, the proportion assessed as having two or more mental disorders was 79 per cent. for male remand and 77 per cent. for male sentenced prisoners, and 83 per cent. for female remand and 75 per cent. for female sentenced prisoners. A comprehensive treatment framework is available for drug-misusers in prison. In addition there are currently 102 prisons with mental health in-reach teams. During this year all prisons should have access to mental health in-reach staff.

Public Sector Jobs: West Wales

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl on behalf of the National Statistician, dated 13 February 2006.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about public sector employment. I am replying in her absence. [HL3776]

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles statistics for the United Kingdom of public sector employment from a quarterly survey of public sector organisations. However, estimates at local area level are not available.
 
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Information at local area level is only available from the Annual Population Survey of individual people in households. However, in this source, the categorisation of employment in the public or private sector depends upon the responses from the individuals interviewed. As reported by ONS in October 2005 in the publication Public Sector Employment Trends, some individuals tend to misreport private sector employment as being in the public sector hence leading to overestimates of the share of public sector employment.

With this reservation about the data quality, the percentage of people in employment, resident in the West Wales and the Valleys NUTS* II area, who are classed as public sector is 29 per cent. for the 12 months ending December 2004.

This estimate, as with any from sample surveys, is subject to a margin of uncertainty.

*NUTS (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics) was established by the Statistical Office of European Union (Eurostat) to provide a uniform breakdown of territorial units for the production of regional statistics. NUTS is a five-level hierarchical classification.

South Kensington Museum Tunnel

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: We are still considering English Heritage's advice on this case, and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will make her decision on whether this subway should be listed in due course.

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The UN estimates that there are 1.8 million internally displaced people and 3.4 million dependent on humanitarian assistance in Darfur. The priority is to provide assistance and protection for them, and to find a political solution that will allow people to return home and rebuild their lives.

Recent assessments indicate a major improvement in the nutrition situation in Darfur with malnutrition rates almost half what they were in the previous year. Likewise, the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) Darfur survey showed mortality rates have, in
 
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cases, reduced by two-thirds since August 2004. These improvements are due to the massive scale of the humanitarian response.

The UK is the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor in Darfur (after the US), providing over £96 million since September 2003. These funds have meant that hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people have been provided with shelter, food, water and basic healthcare. However, the situation still remains extremely fragile. We are particularly concerned about the impact that the deteriorating security situation is having on humanitarian operations, especially in south and west Darfur. If aid were reduced because of conflict, insecurity or funding shortages, humanitarian indicators would deteriorate very quickly. We are taking every opportunity to call for an improvement in security and to press for a negotiated political agreement in Abuja.


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