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Minority Languages

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what level of scrutiny was conducted in relation to the assessment of (a) Ulster Scots, (b) Lallands, (c) Northern Irish Gaelic and (d) Cornish before considering whether each should be specified by the Government under the provisions of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. [44242]

Mr. MacShane: The Charter does not set out what, if any, kind of scrutiny should be undertaken before specifying a language under its provisions. In the case of the UK, HMG has taken advice from the relevant Administrations of the UK on which languages to specify.

(a) Scots has had a presence in the island of Ireland for approximately four centuries. Ulster Scots ("Ullans") is defined in the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) Northern Ireland Order 1999 as

(b) The Scots language has a long history and many points of difference from standard English. In the light of these considerations, Ministers decided that it should be considered a language and thus be covered by Part II of the Charter.

(c) Irish (Gaeilge) has been spoken throughout the island of Ireland for at least two millennia. The 1991 Census identified 142,003 people in Northern Ireland (9.4 per cent. of the population) who claimed competence in the language. Ministers decided that this qualified it for specification under the terms of the Charter.

(d) The Government office for the south-west commissioned an independent study in order to provide a sound factual basis for informing HMG's on-going assessment of its position on Cornish in relation to the Charter.

Convention on the Future of Europe

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money and what other resources the Government have allocated for debate and information about the convention on the future of Europe; what assessment he has made of the money and resources made available by other member states; and if he will make a statement. [43020]

Peter Hain: The Government support a national debate on the future of Europe. This will be one of the calls on the FCO European Union Command's public diplomacy budget.

The resources made available in other member states are a matter for them.

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EU Information Campaign

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost is of his Department's EU information campaign; and if he will make a statement on its purpose. [43610]

Peter Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's EU information campaign has cost a total of £236,038 to date for the financial year 2001–02. The campaign aims to help to raise awareness and understanding of the European Union and Britain's role within it.

UK Citizens (France)

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has received on the treatment of UK citizens held in prison in France, with particular reference to (a) access to legal representation, (b) access to an interpreter and (c) time taken in proceeding to trial. [42715]

Mr. Bradshaw: We often receive representations on behalf of UK citizens held in prison in France. We look into each case on an individual basis and discuss the details of the case with the detainee. We do not record statistics on the points raised by my hon. Friend. It would involve disproportionate cost to provide the information requested.

Former Yugoslavia

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy on the future of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. [43549]

Mr. MacShane: The United Kingdom fully supports the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in fulfilling its mandate to bring to justice persons allegedly responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, to render justice to the victims, and to contribute to the restoration of peace by promoting reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.

The Tribunal's Chief Prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, held discussions with the Foreign Secretary on 14 March about the Tribunal's future. Her stated aim is to complete the Tribunal's work by 2008. The UK supports her in this aim. However, this timetable is conditional upon states in the former Yugoslavia co-operating with the Tribunal and beginning to take responsibility for trying lower level war criminals in their jurisdiction. We continue to encourage the states in former Yugoslavia to take these necessary steps.

International Criminal Court

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress towards the establishment of the International Criminal Court. [43550]

Mr. MacShane: Good progress is being made towards the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The UK ratified in October 2001. 55 states have ratified to date.

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The court will enter into force upon the 60th ratification of the Rome Statute. We expect the deposit of the 60th ratification this summer with the court entering into force by the end of this year. The United Kingdom is urging other states, in our bilateral contacts and with EU partners and associated states (in pursuance of the EU common position on the ICC) to ratify the Rome Statute.

Private Simon Jeans

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions since 1997 he has made representations to his Croatian counterpart regarding the killing of Private Simon Jeans in Split, Croatia, in September 1996. [43303]

Mr. Bradshaw: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence raised Private Jean's case with the Croatian Defence Minister when he visited the UK in 2000. The then Minister for Europe, my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz), also raised the case on several occasions. The case has been officially raised at various levels on numerous other occasions. Our consular staff in London and Zagreb continue to offer full support and assistance to Private Jean's family.

Holocaust Denial

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Italian Government concerning the conference on Holocaust denial to be held in Trieste at the end of March; and if he will make a statement. [43479]

Peter Hain: None. We have not been informed of the Trieste meeting. The Government deplore Holocaust denial—as do all our EU partners. The Government are working at many levels to promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research, both at home, through for example the national curriculum and the annual Holocaust Memorial Day; and overseas through its membership of the International Task Force on post-Holocaust issues.

Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress of the UN Security Council Counter- Terrorism Committee. [43548]

Mr. MacShane: The Counter-Terrorism Committee was established to monitor implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1373 (2001), which imposed mandatory obligations on all states to prevent and suppress terrorist financing and deny terrorists safe havens. The British Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, is its chairman.

As of 11 March 2002, the Counter Terrorism Committee had received reports from 135 of the UN's 189 member states. This is an unprecedented response rate, demonstrating the importance the entire international community attaches to fighting terrorism.

The Counter-Terrorism Committee is now in the process of analysing these reports, and seeking further information from states where necessary. The picture

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being built up should help the committee and states concerned to identify and address areas in which existing counter-terrorism structures need to be improved.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his efforts to encourage the Governments of India and Pakistan to sign up to the (a) non-proliferation and (b) test ban treaties. [43808]

Mr. Bradshaw: We have regular contacts with both India and Pakistan on the full range of disarmament and non-proliferation issues. We are currently encouraging both countries to reduce nuclear tension in the region by engaging in a dialogue on confidence building measures. We also emphasise that our long-term goal is for India and Pakistan to abide by their obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1172, including accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapons states and signature and ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

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