Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Jun 2006 : Column 344W—continued

Uganda

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what international aid is being used to fund the cost of the treason trial of the opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye in Uganda; and if she will make a statement. [73075]


5 Jun 2006 : Column 345W

Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) on 24 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1787-88W.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the independence of the judiciary in Uganda; and if she will make a statement. [74771]

Mr. McCartney: In recent months the Ugandan judiciary has demonstrated a high level of independence in a number of important rulings.

Most recently, on 7 March 2006 High Court Judge Katutsi dismissed the rape charges against opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, saying that the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the fairness of the February 2006 presidential election in Uganda, with particular regard to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court; and if she will make a statement. [74773]

Mr. McCartney: Independent election observers monitoring the February 2006 elections in Uganda raised concerns that a level playing field was not established before the elections took place. However, there was consensus that despite some shortcomings on election day there was a high degree of transparency and voters were overall free to vote as they pleased. This is in line with the EU election observers interim statement. They have yet to issue their final report.

On 6 April the Ugandan Supreme Court’s judgment highlighted many of the concerns raised by election monitors. But in a majority verdict they also concluded these problems did not substantially affect the result. The detailed opinions underlying their judgment have not been released.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what date the Movement Act was repealed by the Ugandan Government; and if she will make a statement. [74786]

Mr. McCartney: Under the 1995 Ugandan Constitution, the Ugandan people have the right to choose between three political systems: the movement system; the multiparty system; and any other democratic and representative system. In July 2005, the Ugandan people voted in a referendum to move from the movement system to a multiparty system. The February 2006 elections were held under a multiparty dispensation.

The Movement Act, governing the movement system, has not been repealed. However, we understand that the movement organs have been disbanded and funding from state has stopped.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the security situation in Uganda on the 2007 Commonwealth meeting; and if she will make a statement. [74788]


5 Jun 2006 : Column 346W

Mr. McCartney: As set out in our travel advice, Uganda shares with neighbouring countries a threat from terrorism and we advise against travel to north and north eastern Uganda because of a rebel insurgency and tribal clashes. Some border areas with the Democratic Republic of Congo are unstable but most visits to Uganda are trouble free and Kampala is a relatively safe city. The travel advice for Uganda can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front? pagename=OpenMarket%2FXcelerate%2FShowPage &c=Page&cid=1007029390590&a=KCountryAdvice &aid=1013618386550.

The Commonwealth Secretariat are responsible for making assessments of the security situation with regard to Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda in 2007. They visited Uganda most recently in April 2006.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the likelihood that Dr. Besigye will receive a fair trial in Uganda; and if she will make a statement. [74823]

Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him today (UIN 74771). On 16 May my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development raised Dr. Besigye’s on-going court case with President Museveni. The President gave an assurance that due process would be followed.

Costa Rica

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will make a statement on UK-Costa Rican relations. [73562]

Mr. Hoon: Relations between the UK and Costa Rica were established over 150 years ago and remain strong. Our ambassador in San José attended the inauguration of President Oscar Arias in May 2006. The Government looks forward to working with the President and his new Government.

Venezuela

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings have been arranged by her Department between representatives of the Venezuelan Government and the Mayor of London on the President of Venezuela’s offer to supply subsidised oil to London, mediated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [73601]

Mr. Hoon: We have arranged no such meetings. We would encourage the Venezuelan Government to use the considerable resources available to them from hydrocarbons production responsibly, for the long-term benefit of all Venezuelans and their country’s economic development.


5 Jun 2006 : Column 347W

Visas

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what records are kept in UK posts in India of the (a) ethnicity and (b) caste of those applying for (i) visas and (ii) entry clearance. [73903]

Dr. Howells: Our visa sections in India do not collect or hold information on the caste or ethnicity of visa applicants. All entry clearance applications are considered on their individual merits, regardless of religion, ethnicity or caste.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the target time is for the issuing of (a) a family visit visa and (b) a settlement visa following a successful appeal in the UK. [74112]

Dr. Howells: Once our visa sections receive determinations from the Home Office indicating that the appeal has been allowed, they aim to contact the appellant and bring the application for entry clearance to a conclusion as soon as practicably possible. Entry clearance will be issued unless there has been a significant and material change of circumstances, or material deception has come to light of which the immigration judge would be unaware.

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many student visas have been issued to people from (a) Nigeria, (b) Pakistan, (c) India, (d) Turkey and (e) Ghana in each of the last five years. [74125]

Dr. Howells: The number of student visas issued in Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Turkey and Ghana over the last five years are as follows:

2000( 1) 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

Nigeria

1,516

2,921

3,905

4,154

8,045

Pakistan

2,421

3,744

2,781

10,361

10,859

India

4,790

8,280

12,174

14,641

15,283

Turkey

7,208

5,598

5,468

3,746

4,234

Ghana

1,788

2,315

3,103

2,804

1,749

(1 )Prior to 2001-02, entry clearance statistics were published by calendar year.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many complaints have been received relating to UK embassy visa sections in each of the last five years; and how many of them were investigated. [73626]

Dr. Howells: All visa sections are required to keep records of all complaints and the resulting action taken. Data for the number of complaints and action taken are not held centrally by UKvisas. In order to obtain this information, officials would need to contact every post worldwide and this would currently incur disproportionate cost. UKvisas is, however, currently developing a system for doing this in the future.

Weapons Sales (Inspectors)

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many personnel the
5 Jun 2006 : Column 348W
Government employs to inspect the sale of weapons in the UK. [74174]

Dr. Howells: The practice and policy of the licensing of strategic exports from the UK, including conventional arms, weapons of mass destruction related materials and other dual-use items, is co-ordinated between four Government Departments: the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is also responsible in the enforcement of relevant export control legislation. The Export Control Organisation of the Department of Trade and Industry acts as licensing body for all strategic exports from the UK and currently has a dedicated staff complement of 110. Other interested departments each have personnel tasked with assessing and monitoring the UK's strategic exports, as well as advising on related policy issues.

Western Sahara

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice she offered British MEPs on how to vote on the recent EU-Morocco fishing deal in the waters of the western Sahara; and what action the British Government proposes to take to protect the rights of the Saharian people. [74330]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary did not advise UK Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) how to vote on the EU/Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided UK MEPs with briefing on the Agreement and on the UK's position.

The United Nations defines Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory. As the de facto administering power, Morocco is obliged under international law to ensure that economic activities under its administration do not adversely affect the interests of the people of the territory. The Fisheries Agreement, under Article 10, envisages the establishment of a Joint Committee to monitor the implementation of the terms of the Agreement, including the impact it has on the local population. The UK will follow its work and conclusions closely.

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will press for a resolution of Western Sahara's disputed independence at the United Nations. [74754]

Dr. Howells: The UK fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary-General, and his Personal Envoy to Western Sahara, to find a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the Western Sahara dispute. The UK supported UN Security Council Resolution 1675, adopted on 28 April, which extends the mandate of the UN Mission for a Referendum in Western Sahara until 31 October 2006.

We will continue, at both ministerial and official level, to urge all parties to the dispute to engage constructively with the UN.

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 5 June 2006

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the NHS hospitals in
5 Jun 2006 : Column 350W
Lancashire with accident and emergency departments; and whether in each case they are type (a) one, (b) two and (c) three. [70317]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on the number of accident and emergency services provided by national health service trusts is reported at trust level on the number of services they provide, according to definitions set by the Department. It is not possible to assign these services to individual hospitals. The available information is therefore shown in the following table and is for the end of March 2006.

Organisation name Type 1 (major department) Type 2 (single-specialty department) Type 3 (minor injuries and illness service, including minor injury units and walk-in centres All types

Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority

9

0

11

20

Blackpool Primary Care Trust

0

0

1

1

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust

1

0

0

1

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

2

0

0

2

Eden Valley PCT

0

0

4

4

Hyndburn and Ribble Valley PCT

0

0

1

1

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

2

0

0

2

North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

2

0

0

2

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust

2

0

1

3

West Cumbria PCT

0

0

3

3

West Lancashire PCT

0

0

1

1

Note: Type 3 includes walk-in centres Source: Department of Health dataset QMAE

Next Section Index Home Page