|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making about the violation of human rights in West Papua, and in particular the arrests of Buchtar Tabuni and Sebby Sambon for supporting the recent launch of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua. [HL573]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have made no representations on the specific cases of Buchtar Tabuni and Sebby Sambom. We are aware that they are currently being detained by police in Jayapura, Papua. We are
28 Jan 2009 : Column WA56
We regularly raise human rights concerns with the Indonesian authorities and staff from our embassy in Jakarta visit Papua on a regular basis and raise issues of concern with a wide cross-section of interlocutors. The most recent visit was 13 to 16 January 2009.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in deciding how to abide by the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v United Kingdom, they will have regard to (a) the reasoning in the judgment of 8 December 2008 of Judge Andrew Cheung in the Court of First Instance of Hong Kong in Chan Kin Sum deciding that a blanket ban on prisoners' voting is unconstitutional; and (b) the Government of Hong Kong's response. [HL785]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): As with previous legal challenges in other jurisdictions on the issue of prisoners' voting rights, Her Majesty's Government are studying (a) the reasoning behind this judgment and (b) the response by the Government of Hong Kong carefully. The Government must arrive at a solution that is best for the UK, and, to that end, remains committed to carrying out a second public consultation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 15 January (WA 16874), whether they will be able to ratify the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights with appropriate reservations to meet their concerns in relation to passports and the right of abode. [HL938]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 15 January (WA 16874), which provision in Article 2 of the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights confers rights in relation to passports and a right of abode on British nationals who do not currently have that right. [HL939]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 15 January (WA 16874), whether their concerns about Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights are based on rulings of the European Court of Human Rights; and, if not, what they are based on. [HL941]
Lord Bach: The Government have no plans at this time to seek to ratify the Fourth Protocol with reservations. The Government's concerns with Article 2 relate to the particular nature of British nationality and immigration arrangements which permit a person to be lawfully within United Kingdom territory without necessarily permitting them to be lawfully within all parts of United Kingdom territory. This may particularly
28 Jan 2009 : Column WA57
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was established under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. It is referred to in the Act as the Independent Barring Board. The ISA will work with the Criminal Records Bureau to deliver the new vetting and barring scheme. Specifically, the ISA will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the children's barred list and the vulnerable adults barred list.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 28 February (WA 136), why they do not know how many interception warrants were refused when the Answer said that all the issues on applications are weighed personally by the Secretary of State. [HL280]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The number of occasions on which the Secretary of State has refused to sign a warrant is not recorded centrally. Moreover, RIPA places an obligation to keep secret all matters relating an interception warrant, the warrant application, issue and execution of it. Accordingly, it has been the policy of successive Governments neither to confirm nor deny in response to specific questions about whether a warrant has been sought or issued.
The only figures that are made public are those published in the Interception of Communications Commissioner's annual report. This makes it clear that outright and final refusal of a warrant by the Secretary of State is comparatively rare, because the requesting agencies and the senior officials within the Secretary of State's department scrutinise the applications with care before they are submitted for approval.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 12 January (WA 11112), what is the nature of the evidence they wish to obtain from the United Kingdom's experience of accepting the right of individual petition under the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; and what is its relevance to the decision as to whether to accept the right of individual petition under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL671]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the advantages and disadvantages to individuals in the United Kingdom resulting from accepting the right of individual petition under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [HL672]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are domestic remedies for breaches of the general right to equality without discrimination protected by article 26 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in areas beyond the scope of article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [HL673]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Given that only two applications, both found inadmissible, have been made during the period of nearly four years since the United Kingdom accepted the right of individual petition under the Optional Protocol to the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Government wish to see which further applications are made under this Optional Protocol, how they are handled by the relevant committee at the United Nations, and whether their outcome demonstrates substantive benefit to people in the United Kingdom from individual petition. This will assist the Government in assessing the advantages and disadvantages of other individual petition mechanisms.
As the noble Lord is aware, the structure of discrimination law in the United Kingdom developed separately from the broad principle of equality founded on human rights. However, our discrimination law specifically prohibits unjustified discrimination in the performance of public functions and the provision of goods, facilities and services, and the principle that like cases should be treated alike is also recognised by our courts in the context of judicial review of administrative action. Combined with the prohibition on discrimination in the protection of the convention rights, most of which are civil and political rights, under the Human Rights Act, there are a broad range of means by which individuals may challenge discriminatory treatment in this country.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House the document or documents specifying the five options presented for consideration to the United Kingdom and other member nations of the International Whaling Commission at the Future of the International Whaling Commission meeting in Cambridge in December 2008. [HL834]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The paper referred to is confidential. It is subject to revision and a sub-group (on which the UK is not represented) will meet later this month in Hawaii to finalise it. It will then be distributed to commissioners and contracting Governments in early February. It will be discussed at an intersessional meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in March, and then revised and reissued as the basis for discussion of the future of the IWC at the IWC's annual meeting in June. If the paper enters into the public domain, I will place it in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether persons working for internet service providers are prohibited from giving information as to the persons sending datagrams, recipients of them, and the contents of such datagrams; and whether any person disclosing any such information would be liable to dismissal or prosecution. [HL727]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): This department would expect internet service providers and any other company to ensure that their operations conform to the relevant laws on data and access to data. Disciplinary measures are a matter for the organisations concerned. We do not monitor the terms of employment in the internet service sector.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the most recent replies they received from the Government of Iran concerning persecution of and discrimination against Sunni Muslim, Bahai and Christian minorities in Iran; and whether they will continue to raise these matters bi-laterally and multi-laterally. [HL857]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We remain deeply concerned by the treatment of Bahai, Christian and other religious minorities in Iran, and we are fully committed to raising the issue both bilaterally and through the EU and UN.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) what action they are taking to prevent attacks on ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq; (b) what representations they are making to the Government of Iraq about providing restitution for land and goods illegally seized this year around Mosul; (c) whether displaced people have been helped to return home; and (d) if so, how many. [HL268]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK continues to press the Government of Iraq at official and ministerial level to protect minority communities, and to take tough action against those responsible for violence and intimidation.
We have received no specific reports of land and goods having been illegally seized this year around Mosul, though we utterly condemn the violence and intimidation that minority communities in Mosul have been subjected to. We are aware of long-standing disputes over land and properties, dating primarily back to the early 1990s. My honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Bill Rammell) hopes to discuss these issues with ministerial interlocutors from the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government at the next appropriate opportunity.
We welcome reports from UN High Commissioner for Refugees that due to the efforts of the Iraqi Security Forces many familiesup to one-third of those displaced in some districtshave returned to their homes in Mosul, though we are unable to provide any independent assessment of the numbers involved. The Iraqi Government have pledged grants of $851 per family to support those families as they return.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Achieving a peace settlement in the Middle East is one of our top priorities. We are in constant contact with all the key players to secure an immediate and durable ceasefire in the current conflict. We also continue to pursue our efforts to
28 Jan 2009 : Column WA61
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they and the Quartet will take concerning the proposed demolition of 88 dwellings, housing some 1,500 residents, in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. [HL454]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have made it clear to Israel, with very few exceptions, that house demolitions in occupied territory are in direct contravention of article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We will continue lobbying the Israeli Government for an immediate halt to demolitions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Israel has paid to the Palestinian Authority the tax revenues for 200002 which were withheld because of the intifada; and, if not, what action the quartet will take. [HL146]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): According to the International Monetary Fund all previously withheld clearance revenue has been released to the Palestinian Authority.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We already routinely refuse export licenses where we believe there is a clear risk that they will be used for external aggression or internal repression. As with all conflicts, we will take into account the recent conflict and the conduct and methods of the Israeli Defence Force in that conflict in the assessment of future export licences.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statements by Mr Robert Serry, United Nations Special Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, made on 2 and 4 December; and whether the United Nations and its agencies will take any action following the statements.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We welcome the work of Robert Serry and the whole UN system in seeking both to alleviate human suffering and bring peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1850 on 16 December 2008 restated the UN's commitment to progress on all tracks of the peace process in 2009. This was repeated in UNSCR 1860 on 8 January 2009, which also called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
Lord Patel of Bradford: The Prime Minister is considering who to appoint to the membership of the Interim National Security Forum. Invitations have been issued to a number of candidates but the final membership of the forum is yet to be determined. The forum has not yet met and so no advice has been received from it. Costs relating to the forum will be met from within Cabinet Office departmental spending. The Prime Minister will announce the membership of the forum and the date of its first meeting in due course.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|