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17 Apr 1996 : Column WA69

Written Answers

Wednesday, 17th April 1996.

ADAS: Future Structure

Lord Lyell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the future structure of ADAS.

Lord Lucas: The Government have announced their intention to transfer the majority of ADAS functions to the private sector. My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Wales and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food are pleased with the progress that ADAS has made and, subject to its performance over the 1996-97 financial year, will be looking to take privatisation forward in the course of 1997. The Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have agreed to create a new joint agency to take on those ADAS functions that need to be retained in the public sector. The new agency will work only on behalf of government customers. In line with government policy on privatisation it will not compete for work which is capable of being contracted out to the private sector. We expect the new agency to comprise around 400 professional staff and are planning for it to come into operation on 1 April 1997.

Debates: Ministerial Replies

Lord Cochrane of Cults asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In relation to subjects pertaining to the whole of the United Kingdom, but which are subject to devolved administration in the constituent parts of the Union, what arrangements exist to enable a Minister to reply to a debate in this House on such subjects addressing the whole United Kingdom, and not only those areas with which his own department deals.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): By convention, when Ministers reply to debates in this House they do so on behalf of Her Majesty's Government as a whole and not as the spokesmen of a single department.

Negelle Borana: Visit by EC Food Aid Monitor

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they know of any reason why Mr. Pearson, the European Union Food Aid Monitor in Addis Ababa, when he visited Negelle Borana in February, accompanied by Ato Amanti, the ex-relief co-ordinator of the Oromo Relief Association, omitted to ask the local zonal officials why the ORA office has been closed.

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The visit to Negelle Borana in February by the EC food aid monitor was made to ensure that EC food stocks were accounted for and safe. No irregularities were found.

International Criminal Court: Draft Statute

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the International Law Commission's draft statute on the international criminal court, and of the amendments proposed by the United Kingdom, together with an explanatory memorandum setting out the Government's reasons for the changes they propose.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A copy of the International Law Commission's draft statute on the international criminal court will be placed in the Library of the House.

The United Kingdom has participated fully in discussions concerning the draft statute, most recently at the first session of the Preparatory Committee which has just concluded in New York. The delegation's negotiating position reflected the Government's objectives as set out in Sir Nicholas Bonsor's answer in another place on 6 February.

At that meeting the United Kingdom participated in the discussions on various aspects of the matter and circulated an informal document which suggested how the relationship between a new court and national systems might best be provided for in the draft statute.

A copy of that paper, which contains proposals for specific amendments, will also be placed in the Library of the House.

European Court of Human Rights: Powers

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

    Whether they will publish their document on the powers of the European Court of Human Rights referred to in the Guardian on 2nd April 1996.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Note on the Position of the British Government has been laid in the Libraries of both Houses.

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

    Whether it is correct, as reported in the Guardian on 2nd April 1996, that the Government are seeking to persuade the governments of other member states of the Council of Europe to limit the powers of the European Court of Human Rights and, if not, whether they will state the accurate position.

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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Government accept the powers of the European Court of Human Rights as laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights. What we are seeking is wider and more consistent application of the court's own doctrine of the margin of appreciation, as indicated in our Note on the Position of the British Government. The note has been laid in the Libraries of both Houses.

Brazil and Indian Land Protection

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking both bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure that together with the Brazilian Government the agreements made at the Rio Earth Summit on Indian land protection are honoured both in spirit and in substance.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Her Majesty's Government regularly make clear to the Brazilian authorities the need to respect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, in line with the principles and objectives of the Rio Declaration and Programme of Action. During his recent visit to the UK the Brazilian Minister of Justice gave assurances of the Brazilian Government's continuing commitment to the successful completion of the indigenous lands demarcation programme currently under way.

OSCE-US: Military Information

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What bilateral military agreements with Commonwealth of Independent States countries and west, central, south and north European countries have the United States made "transparent" to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe as required by its membership; and whether they have knowledge of other such agreements.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Vienna Document '94 stipulates that "the participating states are required to exchange information on agreements on programmes of military contacts and co-operation concluded with other participating states". The United Kingdom and all other OSCE states have been informed of a variety of such programmes by the United States, including military contacts with: Albania, Belarus, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

Juveniles in Secure Units

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total number of secure places for juveniles in (a) youth treatment centres and (b) local authority secure units in each year from 1990 to 1995

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    respectively; what is the current number of such places; and how many such places have been opened and closed respectively since 1991.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Information is collected centrally on the numbers of places approved. Figures on the total number of approved places in England are in the table. Monthly information on approved places at each secure unit is published in Table 1 of Children accommodated in secure units, year ending 31 March 1995, England

A/F 95/21 (and Table H of previous publications), a copy of which is available in the Library.

Places approved by the Secretary of State in local authority secure units at 1 April 1990-1996

YearTotal
1990288
1991283
1992292
1993295
1994289
1995266
1996274

(excluding the number of places provided by YTC).


In addition, from 1990 to 1995 there were 60 secure places in the Youth Treatment Service. The St. Charles Centre closed in September 1995. From that date and currently there are 30 secure places at the Glenthorne Centre. The Youth Treatment Centre plan to increase this to 40 during the course of 1996.

Outer Space: Control of Weaponry

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in answering questions about the weaponisation of space (14th and 26th February 1996) they quoted only Article IV of the 1967 Space Treaty, and not Article I which states that "the exploration and use of outer space . . . shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic and scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind", because they hold that Article IV is not to be interpreted in the light of Article I but rather as limiting the application of Article I, thereby allowing all military activity in space which is not cited in Article IV; and whether this interpretation is now and always has been accepted by the non superpower signatories.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The terms of a treaty have to be interpreted in their context, which includes the whole of the text of the treaty. Article I is a general provision governing the exploration and use of outer space. Article IV is a more specific provision concerning (1) nuclear weapons and (2) the use of the moon and other celestial bodies exclusively for peaceful purposes. The position remains as set out in my earlier answers (Official Report), cols. WA 48 and WA 87).

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