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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The members of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on the Harare Declaration for the next two years are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Jamaica and the United Kingdom. The group has not yet decided on the date for its first meeting. In New Zealand, Heads of Government agreed to establish the group to deal with serious or persistent violations of the principles of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. It will be the group's task to assess the nature of the infringement and recommend measures for collective Commonwealth action aimed at the speedy restoration of democracy and constitutional rule.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We support continued UN monitoring of the human rights situation in Sudan, which remains of grave concern. Dr. Biro's interim report will be considered shortly in the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are concerned at allegations of Sudanese support for extremist groups based in Sudan which present a threat to neighbouring states. We understand that the Organisation of African Unity is taking this matter forward.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The President of the UN Security Council sent a reply dated 12 October 1995 to the UN Secretary-General. This noted the efforts of the Organisation of African Unity to resolve the issue of alleged Sudanese complicity in the assassination attempt on President Mubarak and asked the Secretary General to keep the UN Security Council informed of developments.
Lord Chesham: The Gambia should benefit from the Millbrook Programme agreed by Commonwealth Heads of Government, which is intended to advance Commonwealth fundamental political values and to support the practice of Harare principles. We are considering with our Commonwealth partners how to take this forward.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We are prepared to support activities directed at the elimination of female genital mutilation wherever these are likely to be effective. Apart from supporting the work of women's organisations which seek to educate communities and strengthen laws against female genital mutilation, we are expressing our view in wider dialogue with relevant governments.
Opportunities for substantial spending in developing countries have not yet emerged, and the most influential activities may not require large expenditure. The sum of £37,000 has been provided to support conferences and research and we are currently considering another proposal. Our general support to projects for women's empowerment contributes indirectly to reducing the prevalence of female genital mutilation.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: ODA has written off £17,000 for the safe and effective destruction of 24 million substandard condoms. These were part of a project to supply 66 million condoms to Zimbabwe in 1993 at a total cost of £1.535 million. The defective batch was identified during the post-shipment inspection in Zimbabwe and was burnt, in line with standard and appropriate practice for defective prophylactics. The defective batch of condoms was supplied by DongKuk, a Malaysian manufacturer who had previously supplied the World Health Organisation with condoms of a satisfactory standard. DongKuk replaced the defective condoms at no additional cost. The balance of 44 million condoms was supplied quickly by alternative manufacturers. This project has contributed in a timely way to the prevention of HIV infection in Zimbabwe.
The difficulties of quality control in the manufacture of condoms worldwide has led ODA to implement an independent testing system for the condoms it supplies under the British aid programmes. ODA has also contributed to efforts by the World Health Organisation to promote better quality condom production worldwide.