|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries have informed him of their support for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we fully endorse the EUs calls for an independent inquiry into allegations of violations of international law in the recent conflict in Sri Lanka. It could play an important role in the post-conflict reconciliation process. As such, we welcome the joint statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and President Rajapakse of Sri Lanka underlining the importance of an accountability process for addressing possible violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. We will continue to press for progress on this with international partners, above all the EU and UN.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to (a) the government of Sri Lanka and (b) others on (i) the physical protection and (ii) provision of food, water, clothing and shelter for those held in camps for internally displaced people in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement. 
The Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, the high commissioner in Colombo and I have all urged the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that internally displaced persons (IDPs) be treated in accordance with accepted international standards and guidelines. This includes ensuring the physical protection of IDPs, as well as the adequate provision of food, water and sanitation and shelter. Most recently, the Foreign Secretary raised the issue of humanitarian access with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Bogollogama on 5 June. The Prime Minister also raised the humanitarian situation in a telephone call with President Rajapakse on 18 May.
UK representatives regularly discuss the situation in Sri Lanka with the Indian Government, UN and humanitarian agencies. The Foreign Secretary also discussed the civilian crisis in Sri Lanka at the UN on his visit on 11 May.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking in collaboration with (a) commonwealth governments and (b) the UN to facilitate a political settlement between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil community; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We remain of the view that lasting peace in Sri Lanka can only be achieved through an inclusive political solution based on equality, consent and rule of law, which satisfies the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankan communities. We will continue to press for progress on this, both bilaterally, and with international partners and at the UN.
We fully endorse the UN Secretary-Generals engagement in relation to Sri Lanka and we welcome his joint statement with President Rajapakse of 23 May 2009, in which they agreed the need to address the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding the Government has contributed to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to meet the requirements of Iraqi nationals in Syria for 2009. 
The UK Government have contributed £2 million in 2008-09 to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to meet the requirements of Iraqi refugees living outside Iraq in the Middle East region. This funding is not earmarked for specific countries, although official estimates show that the large majority of Iraqi refugees live in Syria.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of violent farm seizures in Zimbabwe which have occurred since the formation of the unity government; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Since the Global Political Agreement was signed on 15 September 2008 there have been a number of violent incidents on farms. Farming organisations estimate that there have been 36 cases of assault against farmers and farm workers; five shootings; 62 cases of theft or destruction of crops, property or livestock; seven cases of farmers being barricaded in their property and 32 threats of evictions against farmers. 165 farmers have appeared in court and 35 farmers and workers have been evicted.
We condemn these attacks and urge the Inclusive Government to act on the commitments to reform that it has made, including respect for the rule of law and an end to violence. The judicial authorities in Zimbabwe must take action to end these seizures, which contravene the Southern African Development Community agreement of 15 September 2008.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the treatment of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe since the formation of the unity government; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We remain in regular contact with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and human rights groups in Zimbabwe. At present we are monitoring the trials of the MDC supporters who were abducted in late 2008. We are also investigating reports that three other MDC supporters were recently abducted in order to persuade them to testify on behalf of the prosecution.
At the formation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009, approximately seventy political prisoners were in custody. Although all have now been released on bail, they are under extremely strict bail conditions, living in fear of re-arrest and suffering continued harassment
by state authorities. We remain deeply concerned about the fate of seven missing MDC activists, abducted in late 2008. The state have always denied knowledge of their whereabouts.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has stated that human rights and the rule of law are among the key areas where progress is needed before there can be full international re-engagement with Zimbabwe. Together with our international partners, we continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground and urge the Inclusive Government to respect the commitments they made in their Global Political Agreement.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 942W, on 10 Downing Street, (1) if she will place in the Library a copy of the list of retail prices of each item of merchandise available in the Downing Street gift shop; 
|Abortion rates( 1) for women age under 16 and under 18 by region of residence, 2008|
|Rate per 1,000 women|
|Strategic health authority||Age under 16( 2)||Age under 18( 3)|
|(1) Rates are based on 2007 mid year population estimates.|
(2) Rates for under 16 are based on populations 13-15.
(3) Rates for under 18 are based on populations 15-17.
The Government are committed to adoption for looked after children where this is in their best interests. We are also committed to ending discrimination against prospective adopters who are same sex couples.
The Adoption and Children Act (2002) focused strongly on the needs of children awaiting adoption, and widened the pool of prospective adopters to include same sex and unmarried heterosexual couples. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 introduced the right for same sex couples to be treated the same as other prospective adopters.
The new Equality Bill maintains this right. It also introduces a new public sector Equality Duty which means that local authorities will have to consider the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual people when they are planning their policies and services, including adoption services.
As the National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question about the dates on which the five most recent annual reports on the numbers of (a) live births and (b) stillbirths in England were published. (281119)
The Office for National Statistics is responsible for publishing statistics on the numbers of births registered in England and Wales. The reference volume, Birth Statistics, Series FM1 is published annually and includes the number of live births and stillbirths in England. The five most recent publication dates for Birth Statistics, Series FM1 are shown in the table below.
|Year of birth||Date of publication of Annual Reference Volume: Birth Statistics, Series FM1|
Figures for live births and stillbirths in England are usually published several months before the annual reference volume. The latest year for which figures are available is 2008 for live births (provisional data were released on 21 May 2009) and 2007 for stillbirths.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate she has made of the volume of carbon dioxide emissions arising from air travel by staff in her Department in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 (i) in total and (ii) per full-time equivalent member of staff. 
Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the Cabinet Office autumn performance report 2008 which contains information on the carbon emissions arising as a result of the Departments business air travel. The information is not available per full-time member of staff.
Angela E. Smith: The Cabinet Office arranges placements to help young people better understand the workplace, promote itself as an employer of choice, enhance the image of the civil service and increase diversity.
As internships and work placements are arranged by individual management units records of how many (a) paid and (b) unpaid internships are offered to graduates in each of the last six months could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Angela E. Smith: As the Cabinet Office Minister with responsibility for euro preparedness I would represent the Department at the Treasury-led Euro Ministers Steering Group. The group has not met since June 2007.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|