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Written Answers

Tuesday, 9th January 1996.

OSCE Assistance Group, Grozny

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to return to his post or replace the British member of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Assistance Group in Grozny who was withdrawn earlier this year, and if so, when.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The British member of the group was withdrawn in the light of advice from the head of the group at a time when the security situation had deteriorated. He has now returned to his unit.

We will keep the question of British participation in the Assistance Group under review and will keep in touch with the Swiss incoming chairman in office on this issue. We continue to attach great importance to the activities and mandate of the Assistance Group.

UN World Conference on Women, Beijing: Interpretation Facilities

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the United Nations why delegates from non-English speaking countries at the United Nations' World Conference on Women in Beijing had no translation services available at informal consultations where the key negotiations were carried out, and what information was made available to them about the decisions reached.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Substantive negotiation of key texts was conducted in the Drafting Committees, on which all official delegations were represented and for which interpretation facilities were available. Although non-English speaking delegates were at a disadvantage during discussions which took place outside the formal sessions, these exchanges were subsequently considered in the Drafting Committees. Decisions were thereafter taken in the Main Committees and endorsed in Plenary, all of which had interpretation and documentation facilities in all UN languages.

Rwanda: Prison Conditions

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action has been taken, or is planned, by the United Nations General Assembly, on each of the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Rene Dengi-Segui, in his report S/1995/916 of 2 November 1995, and, in particular, what is now the number of

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    detainees in each of the three prisons mentioned in paragraph 71 of Annex III, where the Special Rapporteur described the conditions observed during his June visit as "unspeakable".

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: On 22 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus a resolution on the human rights situation in Rwanda which addressed many of the recommendations in Mr. Dengi-Segui's report. Inter alia, the resolution calls on the international community to continue its assistance with alleviating the intolerable conditions in Rwandan prisons and encourages the Rwandan government to continue its efforts to improve the situation in the prisons.

The efforts of the international community have resulted in improvements to a number of Rwandan prison facilities. The building of new facilities has enabled the transfer of some prisoners, thus relieving some of the worst overcrowding. Despite this, the International Red Cross report that in mid-December the numbers of detainees in the prisons referred to were: Butare 6,743; Kigali 10,401; Gitarama 6,447. Britain has contributed to the multilateral effort and has also made bilateral contributions to help ease the conditions for prisoners.

Former Yugoslavia: Psychological Rehabilitation

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are giving the same priority to psychosocial reconstruction as to material reconstruction in areas affected by ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia; and whether they will give examples of such longer-term rehabilitation.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Projects to alleviate mental illness due to war trauma have been supported by the ODA since the beginning of the conflict through various international and national non-governmental organisations (NGO's)--including Marie Stopes International (MSI) and their local partner Stope Nada--at a cost of over £1.35 million. We have also provided general medical support, including psychosocial services, through the World Health Organisation throughout the period of the conflict, at a cost of £15.9 million. Psychological rehabilitation for war victims is recognised as one of the health sector needs in the World Bank's three-year reconstruction plan for Bosnia, and the UK will be considering what contribution it may make in this sector in the coming months.

Overseas Aid

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of the effect which the United States' figure for overseas aid (0.15 per cent of gross national

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    product) has on the Development Assistance Committee's average figure (0.29 per cent., inclusive of the United States figure), whether the United Kingdom's figure of 0.31 per cent. can be justified by means of comparison with the committee's average figure.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The comparison is fully justified; there are no good reasons for removing the USA from a calculation of relative effort by Western donors. In 1994, of the 21 DAC donor countries, 11 spent a higher proportion of GNP than the UK on aid, while nine countries spent a smaller proportion. This places the UK near the mid-point of the table. Three of our G7 partners--the world's biggest economies--spent a higher proportion than we did, three less.

Treaties: Parliamentary Approval

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Chesham on 19 December 1995 (HL Deb., col. WA 136), whether they are aware of any member state of the Council of Europe which does not require parliamentary approval to be given for the ratification of treaties.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: To the best of our knowledge, only the Republic of Ireland has similar ratification procedures to those of the United Kingdom.

European Communities Act 1972: Section 2(2) Orders

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many designation orders have been made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Fifty-one.

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many orders made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 have been revoked.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Five designation orders made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 have been revoked in part by subsequent orders.

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many orders made under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 supersede or partially supersede earlier orders so made.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: In four designation orders made between 1992 and 1994 under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972, various designations contained in previous orders were declared to have been superseded. However, in its fourth Report (Session 1993-94), the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments concluded that the correct approach was to

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revoke designations which were no longer necessary, rather than declaring them to be superseded, and pointed out that until a designation is revoked it must necessarily continue in force. This approach is now being followed, and the four designation orders made in 1995 revoked in part five earlier orders.

Bulgaria: Diplomatic and Consular Representation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their diplomatic and consular representation in Bulgaria, and what it was in 1985.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The diplomatic and consular representation in Bulgaria is 21 staff. The comparable figure for 1985 was 17.

Cyprus: Diplomatic and Consular Representation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their diplomatic and consular representation in Cyprus, and what it was in 1985.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The diplomatic and consular representation in Cyprus is 20 staff. The comparable figure for 1985 was 25.

Ghana: Diplomatic and Consular Representation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their diplomatic and consular representation in Ghana, and what it was in 1985.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The diplomatic and consular representation in Ghana is 18 staff. The comparable figure for 1985 was 19.

India: Diplomatic and Consular Representation

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their diplomatic and consular representation in India, and what it was in 1985.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The diplomatic and consular representation in India for 1985 and 1995 is shown below:

Post19851995
New Delhi6157
Bombay1320
Calcutta43
Madras24


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