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Turkey: OSCE Summit

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government are ready to join consensus within the OSCE in favour of Istanbul as the venue for the organisation's next summit. The Government believe that holding the summit there would draw attention to Turkey's human rights record and help advance the OSCE's dialogue with Turkey on human rights.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have not seen the letter referred to by the noble Lord, but are aware of the Commission's concerns about Turkey's human rights record and doubts about her suitability to host the next summit of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. I refer the noble Lord to my Answer to his question HL1376.

Habitual Residence Test

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): We are currently reviewing all aspects of the habitual residence test. We hope to bring forward our recommendations in the summer.

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Criminal Appeal Act 1995: Insanity Verdicts

Lord Bruce of Donington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the provisions of the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 can apply in a case where a person is found guilty but insane and whether the Criminal Cases Review Commission would be acting ultra vires were they to mount an investigation into such a case simply by reason of the verdict passed having been one of guilty but insane rather than not guilty on the ground of insanity; whether, if the guilty but insane verdict is within the remit of the commission, they will so advise the commission without delay; and, if it is not within the commission's remit, what steps they will take, and when, so to amend the 1995 Act to ensure that a person found guilty but insane is treated by the commission in the exercise of its powers in the same way as a person found not guilty by reason of insanity.[HL1398]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): I understand that the Criminal Cases Review Commission has decided to refer to the Court of Appeal for Northern Ireland the question of whether the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 allows the commission to refer a verdict of "guilty but insane" to the court. Until the court furnishes the commission with its opinion on the point, the Government cannot take a view on whether they need to take any action.

Campsfield House: Report

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the completed draft of the report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons containing his recommendations for Campsfield House Detention Centre was first submitted to the Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office.[HL1415]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The first draft of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons' Report on Campsfield House was received by the Home Office at the end of November 1997.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Immigration and Nationality Department's proposed amendments to the draft report by Her Majesty's Inspector of Prisons containing his recommendations for Campsfield House Detention Centre were completed.[HL1416]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Since the first draft of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prison's Report on Campsfield House was received at the end of November 1997, discussions have taken place between the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) and the Chief Inspector of Prisons to correct matters of fact. This work was completed on 5 March, although discussions continued until the date of publication in order to clarify the text.

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Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether agreement between the Immigration and Nationality Department and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons on amendments to their Report on Campsfield House Detention Centre has been reached; and, if so, when.[HL1417]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The final draft from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons was received by the Immigration Service on 16 March. The report was not a matter of agreement between the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, other than on issues of factual accuracy.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Report on Campsfield House Detention Centre has yet been seen by Ministers; and, if so, which Ministers and on what dates.[HL1418]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The report was forwarded by the Immigration Service to my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr. O'Brien) on 26 March and was read by him on the weekend beginning 27 March. It was published on 16 April.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a draft of the Report on Campsfield House Detention Centre has been agreed between Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons and Ministers; and, if so, which Ministers and when.[HL1419]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Detailed responses to the report recommendations have been prepared by the Immigration Service and the Under-Secretary of State made a statement in response to the report at the time of publication on March 16.

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are yet able to announce a date for the publication of the Report on Campsfield House Detention Centre; and, if not, why not.[HL1420]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The report on Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons' visit to Campsfield House was published on 16 April.

Positional Asphyxia

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

    Whether they are aware of evidence supporting the statement by the Director General of the Prison Service, broadcast on "Newsnight" on 25 March, that persons of Afro-Caribbean origins are more likely to suffer from positional asphyxia than persons of other ethnic origins; and, if so, whether they will publish this evidence.[HL1265]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: An internal Prison Service report dated February 1996 identified a range of medical factors that would be likely to place an individual at greater risk of sudden death when being

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physically restrained and therefore liable to suffer from positional asphyxia. These include sickle cell disorders, which more frequently occur in persons originating from regions of Africa or the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and India. This is a difficult area, with differing expert views. The Prison Service will be commissioning further research into these important issues.

I am placing a copy of the report in the Library. Since this report had not originally been intended for publication, sections which identify personal information about specific individuals have been removed.

Isle of Man: European Convention on Human Rights

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

    Further to the statement of the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 19 January (H.L. Deb., col. 1308), when the Isle of Man Government will introduce measures to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into Isle of Man law.[HL1424]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In December last year, the Isle of Man Government announced its intention to introduce legislation to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into the law of the Isle of Man. A Bill will be introduced in the House of Keys, when the legislative timetable permits, based upon the equivalent United Kingdom legislation when enacted.

Cannabis-based Medicine

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

    Whether they will introduce an amendment to the criminal law to permit the use of cannabis for palliative care of the terminally ill as part of a prescribed course of medical treatment.[HL1427]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: If and when the benefits of a cannabis-based medicine are scientifically demonstrated and a marketing authorisation issued by the Medicines Control Agency (MCA), the Government would be willing to propose amendment of the misuse of drugs legislation to allow the prescription of such a medicine. It would not be right to amend the misuse of drugs legislation to allow the prescription of a cannabis-based medicine, or any other potential medicine, unless or until its quality, efficacy and safety have been established.

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