Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Memoranda

Letter from the Head of PRDD, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to the Clerk of the Committee


  In your letter of 23 July you highlighted a number of areas where the Committee had requested additional information or updates.

  1.   Torture: While in recent years, the Foreign Office has not worked directly with Amnesty International's International Secretariat in developing human rights projects for Turkey, we have nonetheless consulted local NGOs, who have first hand experience of the human rights situation there, including the local Amnesty International representative. In addition, some of the officers within the Foreign Office involved in designing and evaluating human rights projects for Turkey have experience of working in the NGO sector for human rights organisations, including for Amnesty International. We consult Amnesty International regularly on a range of human rights issues. We intend to assure Amnesty's International Secretariat that their suggestions regarding FCO project development in Turkey would be most welcome. All NGOs are welcome to submit proposals for projects in Turkey to the Human Rights Project Fund.

  2.   Assistance from the UK and EU: The extension of PHARE funding to Turkey is under consideration in the Commission. We expect to see their proposals in mid-October, and will keep the Committee informed.

  3.   Assitance from the UK and EU: Decisions on the allocation of funding from Spending Round 2002 will be taken at the end of September. We will write again to the Committee once the allocations have been agreed.

  4.   Cyprus: As the Committee are aware, our goal, and that of all Member States is for a reunited island to be accepted for EU membership at Copenhagen. However, in the event that the efforts for a settlement are unsuccessful and as we approach the Copenhagen deadline, we are aware that contingency plans on the handling of accession by a divided island will be necessary. Once these plans are complete, and in the event that it becomes clear that a divided island will be accepted at Copenhagen, we will want to share our thinking with the Committee.

  5.   Bilateral relations: Allocations for Chevening Scholarships for Wider Europe Command following the increase in funds from Spending Round 2002 have yet to be considered. We shall provide the Committee with an updated table as soon as the new allocations have been made.

  We will respond to the other issues raised in the letter in due course and, in any event, not later than 30 November.

Parliamentary Relations and Devolution Department

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

17 September 2002

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