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Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have taken place with the Nigerian Government regarding the issue of people trafficking. 
Mr. MacShane: The British High Commission in Abuja is in regular contact with the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons to identify ways to intensify co-operation to prevent trafficking in human beings. President Obasanjo has recently appointed a Special Assistant on Trafficking who is charged with establishing a National Strategy.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with EU partners on the situation in Darfur; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 12 May 2004]: The situation in Darfur was discussed at the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 26 April. Since then it has also been discussed by the Political and Security Committee, the Africa Working Group and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Working Group. Our Ambassador in Khartoum, as a member of the local EU Troika, took part in a demarche on the acting Foreign Minister on the subject of Darfur on 8 May.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the relationship between the Janjaweed militias and the Sudanese Government in Darfur. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 12 May 2004]: According to reports from the UN and non-governmental organisations, the Janjaweed militias have been operating in close coordination with the forces of the Government of Sudan. The Secretary of State for International Development and I made clear to the Sudanese Foreign Minister, during his visit on 11 May, that the Sudanese Government has an obligation to protect its civilians and must act now to rein in the Janjaweed militias.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent report commissioned by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Darfur. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 12 May 2004]: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recently issued a report on its visit to Darfur, western Sudan. The Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights briefed the Security Council on the content of this report on 7 May, highlighting the seriousness of the humanitarian and human rights situation in Darfur. We are studying the recommendations in the report and considering the best way in which to take these forward.
We have called on all parties to abide by the cease-fire and stop targeting civilians. I met the Sudanese Foreign Minister on 11 May and made clear that the human rights abuses and breaches of international humanitarian law are unacceptable and must stop, and
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that the Sudanese Government has a responsibility to rein in the Janjaweed militias which are responsible for many of the worst atrocities.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent vote in the UN Human Rights Commission concerning the human rights situation in Western Sudan, with particular reference to the Government's position on the two defeated amendments to the Human Rights Commission's decision on the Sudan moved by the United States. 
Mr. Straw [holding answer 12 May 2004]: The language of the Commission on Human Rights decision on Sudan was disappointingly weak. But it was a better outcome than last year, as the decision mandates an independent expert to provide formal international scrutiny of the human rights situation in Sudan. The EU insisted on the establishment of an independent expert to carry out this work. Such international scrutiny has been lacking since the end of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur when the EU-sponsored Sudan Resolution was defeated at last year's Commission on Human Rights.
We fully supported the draft EU Item 9 Resolution on Sudan, but Commission on Human Rights procedure meant that an alternative draft decision on Sudan, tabled by the African Group under a different agenda item, took precedence. We also supported the two amendments to the decision proposed by the US, but these were defeated in a vote.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Department has had with the Syrian government regarding the recent arrest of the lawyer and human rights activist Aktham Naisse. 
Mr. Rammell: We regularly raise our concerns about Syria's human rights record, bilaterally and in conjunction with EU partners. Our Ambassador to Damascus was a member of the EU Troika which demarched the Syrian government on the arrest of Aktham Naisse on 26 April 2004.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions the Department has had with the Vietnamese Government regarding human rights abuses against the Central Highlands minority Christian population. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
I raised human rights and the situation in the Central Highlands with the Vietnamese government during my visit to Vietnam in March. We are very concerned about the recent violence in the region, and the reported deaths of several protesters. Our Ambassador in Hanoi expressed our concern to the Vietnamese government on 16 April and I subsequently discussed the issue with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister on 4 May, and with Deputy Foreign Minister Le Van Bang, whom I met in London on 5 May. The EU has also made representations, calling on the
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Vietnamese authorities to respect fully international human rights standards in their response to demonstrations; to allow the international community access to the area; and to address the grievances of the ethnic minority people in the Central Highlands.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding will be made available for the establishment of (a) Young Apprenticeships, (b) Pre-Apprenticeships, (c) Apprenticeships and (d) Advanced-Apprenticeships in the next financial year. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: For Young Apprenticeships £3.5 million is available in the programme's first academic year 2004/05. Funding of Apprenticeship programmes post 16 are a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not available at parliamentary constituency level. However, figures are available for Learning and Skills Council (LSC) areas and, prior to the creation of the LSC, Training and Enterprise Council (TEC) areas. The following table shows the number of starts on modern apprenticeships in Tees Valley LSC area between April 2001 and the end of July 2003, as well as the number of starts from April 1998 to March 2001 in Tees Valley TEC area.
|Time period 1||TEC/LSC||Advanced MA||Foundation MA|
|April 1998 to March 1999||Tees Valley TEC||1,700||400|
|April 1999 to March 2000||Tees Valley TEC||1,900||3,100|
|April 2000 to March 2001||Tees Valley TEC||2,100||3,300|
|April 2001 to July 2002||Tees Valley LSC||1,000||3,200|
|August 2002 to July 2003||Tees Valley LSC||900||2,600|
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