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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 10 June (WA 95) concerning the appointment of the chairman of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum, what assessment they have made of the effect on public confidence in any appointment of the absence of knowledge of who made the appointment; on what information the chairman was identified; and how. [HL4956]
In relation to the identification of Mr Sidoti for the post and the information held about him, I refer the noble Lord to the Written Answers given on 5 February,
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Tunnicliffe on 21 July (WA 217) concerning funding for Irish culture and languages, from whom they have received representations; and whether in making extra funding available only to the Irish community, they are complying with Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. [HL5198]
Lord Rooker: The Government have received a range of representations from individuals, organisations and political parties. The additional funding made available to the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund, which was one of a number of bodies set up in response to commitments made in the Belfast agreement and joint declaration to help support linguistic diversity in Northern Ireland, simply enables the fund to continue beyond its current end date of 31 March 2009, until the end of the CSR period.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Tunnicliffe on 25 June (WA 255) concerning costs of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, what mediation initiatives were established in 200506; and what expenditure was incurred on each. [HL4663]
Lord Rooker: There were 13 monitors on duty on 12 July, and all Parades Commission monitors who were available were requested to attend parades on that day. Monitors are volunteers who receive £25 to cover all expenses incurredexcept travel, for which they are paid at the standard Civil Service rate of 40p per mileassociated with monitoring at parades and parade-related protests over a 24-hour period.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 21 July 2008 (WA 220), concerning monitors for the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, why it is not appropriate to provide the names of individual monitors. [HL5195]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Tunnicliffe on 21 July (WA 220) concerning the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, when the position of chairman was advertised; who made the selection; and what qualifications those concerned had to make that appointment. [HL5197]
Lord Rooker: Twenty two prisoners have been released on compassionate leave, and 359 prisoners have been released on other leave (home and resettlement leave) from 1 January 2008 to 23 July 2008. All have returned to prison.
Further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Pensions Reform, Mr Mike OBrien, on 3 June (HC Deb, 803W), whether, under the contracted arrangements whereby Royal Mail opens post for the Pension Service, Royal Mail staff have access to personal and private information provided by members of the public; and, if so, whether only individuals who have been security cleared may open such post. [HL5079]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Royal Mail is working as part of contracted arrangements with the department to open the post received by the Pension Service. While all Royal Mail employees who perform mail-opening duties for the department do have access to personal and private information provided by members of the public, they are subject to a robust range of checks into identity, background and character.
All Royal Mail staff who open and handle the departments post are bound by confidentiality agreements that specify that all mail will be processed in adherence to DWP and Cabinet Office security requirements.
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Which Sudanese officials, identified for investigation by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, have travelled to the United Kingdom in the past four years; what was the purpose of their visit; and what restrictions will be placed on their future visits to the United Kingdom. [HL4811]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): In 2007 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for two individuals, Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. On 14 July 2008 the ICC prosecutor applied to the court for a further warrant, for Sudanese President Bashir, on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. None of these individuals has travelled to the UK in the past four years. Before allowing any individual under investigation by the ICC into the UK we would consider our legal obligations under the Rome statute, including our obligation to arrest and surrender to the ICC any individual for whom there was an outstanding warrant.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): On 8 July an unidentified militia ambushed a UN-African Union (AU) peacekeeping patrol in north Darfur, killing seven peacekeepers and wounding 22. The UN Secretary-General on 9 July called on the Government of Sudan to do their utmost to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly identified and brought to justice. The UN and the AU have begun a preliminary fact-finding investigation into the attack, which will be followed by an official investigation. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on 9 July called the attack a,
What progress is being made in identifying and indicting those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur, with a view to bringing them to trial at the International Criminal Court. [HL4810]
Lord Malloch-Brown: In 2007, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for two individuals, Ahmed Harun and Ali Kushayb, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The UK has a long-standing position of support for the work and purposes of the ICC. We have pressed the Government of Sudan at all levels to co-operate fully with the ICC investigation. Most recently, my right honorouble friend the Foreign Secretary reiterated this to the Sudanese president during his visit to Khartoum on 9 July.
On 14 July, the ICC prosecutor announced his application to the ICC judges for an arrest warrant against President Bashir on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. It would be premature to comment or speculate on the outcome of the ICC deliberations.
What progress has been made in fulfilling the Prime Minister's undertaking to provide helicopters to the United Nations-African Union and United Nations mission in Darfur and facilitate peace talks in London. [HL4812]
Lord Malloch-Brown: We are supporting the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations by lobbying countries to fill the remaining shortfall of 18 medium transport helicopters for the UN-African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). We welcome Ethiopia's offer of five light tactical helicopters for UNAMID.
My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, on 9 July in Khartoum, reiterated the UK's willingness to host talks in support of the UN/AU-led Darfur political process when the right conditions are in place. We continue to explore the scope for this with the UN, the AU, Sudan's neighbours, international partners, the Government of Sudan and Darfur movements.
What defensive military equipment and how much ammunition was available to the United Nations-African Union peacekeepers recently killed in Darfur; what means they had for defending themselves; and what weapons were used. [HL4922]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The seven UN-African Union (AU) peacekeepers killed in Darfur on 8 July were part of a 65-person patrol, consisting primarily of infantry soldiers. We do not have specific information about the weaponry and ammunition quantities of the patrol.
We are working with the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations and international partners to ensure that the UN-AU mission has the equipment
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Tunnicliffe on 21 July (WA 216) concerning funding for Ulster Scots language and culture and for Irish language and culture, why they did not address the position of funding for Ulster Scots language and culture in their Answer; and what is the position regarding such funding. [HL5194]
Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by Lord Tunnicliffe on 21 July Official Report, col. WA216. No other funds outside the block grant were made available during the timescale referred to in the noble Lords previous Question. With that exception, funding for Northern Irelands linguistic diversity and culture comes from within the Northern Ireland block.
What assessment they have made of the effect on President Mugabe of the withdrawal by the German company concerned of the licence for software used to print currency in Zimbabwe; and whether they will discuss the withdrawal of that licence with the Government of Germany. [HL4942]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have welcomed the decision of the German company to cease delivering banknote paper to Zimbabwe with immediate effect, and believe it will have a significant impact on the ability of the Government of Zimbabwe to manage the country's ever-worsening cash crisis. As for the issue of a software licence, we are discussing this with the German Government.
What assessment they have made of the effect on the principles of democracy in Zimbabwe of Southern African Development Community countries holding a forthcoming conference for liberation war movements; and whether they will make representations about it. [HL4943]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): As far as we are aware, there are no plans for such a conference. However, the noble Lord may be referring to a gathering in Kampala on 16 July at which the president of the African National Congress delivered a memorial lecture in
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 17 July (WA 180-81), from which airlines the 177 flights given waivers to land at Heathrow Airport before 6 am that related to delays during the period January to June 2008 came from; and how many of these flights were from each airline. [HL5176]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: During the period January to June 2008, airlines were granted the following dispensations to operate during the night quota period at Heathrow: British Airways (69); bmi (30); Qantas (7); Virgin Atlantic airways (7); Olympic (5); Gulf Air (5); United Airlines (3); GB (3); Aer Lingus (3); Sri Lankan (3); Iberia (3); Cyprus Airways (3); Air Canada (2); Lot Polish Airlines (2); Alitalia (2); SAS (2); Thai International (2); Singapore Airlines (2); El Al (2); Malaysia Airlines (2); Cathay Pacific (2); Lufthansa (2); Air India (2); Emirates (2); Jet Airways (2). A number of airlines (American Airlines, Air Malta, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, TAM, Aeroflot, Air France, TAP, EVA and Korean Air) were granted a single dispensation.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 17 July (WA180-81), what constitutes a VIP in relation to waivers to land at Heathrow Airport before 6 am; who was the senior VIP in each of the seven VIP flights that were given such a waiver in the period January to June 2008; and whether the flights were in transit or whether Heathrow was the final airport destination. [HL5177]
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