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Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As in other GCC states, a large percentage of Bahrain's workforce is expatriate. We understand that the Bahraini Government employs a number of foreign nationals in its police and armed forces. Queries about their recruitment and nationality status are a matter for the Bahraini authorities.

All export licence applications are carefully considered against a wide range of criteria. Equipment has been licensed for export to all units of the Bahraini security forces, including the Bahrain Defence Force and the Bahrain National Guard, whose forces have received some training from the Ministry of Defence. We have not provided any police training in Bahrain.

Rwanda: Visit by EU Troika

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The EU Troika met President Bizimungu of Rwanda and Vice President Kagame on 2 June in Kigali. The key political messages, agreed among partners, included:

    presentation of a new EU Common Position, which sets out the EU's commitment to help build a stable, prosperous and democratic Rwanda.

    encouragement for progress towards democratisation, an end to conflict and the promotion and protection of human rights.

    The EU's desire for a transparent policy dialogue between the Government of Rwanda and donors to help secure long-term, flexible assistance from the international community.

The specific matter of mobile transmitters used by the Voix du Patriote was not raised.

Eritrea/Ethiopia Conflict

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will raise the current hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia at the United Nations Security Council, as constituting a threat to the peace of the Horn of Africa; and whether they will call in the ambassadors of both countries for urgent discussions.[HL2179]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The United Nations Security Council is following this conflict closely, and has received a detailed briefing from the US/Rwandan team who have been facilitating mediation efforts. We are concerned that this dispute threatens regional stability, and risks the lives of innocent civilians and internal development in both countries. The Foreign Secretary raised these issues directly with Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia and President Isaias of Eritrea in contacts with them on 3 June. We continue to keep both the Ethiopian and Eritrean Governments informed of our concerns, and those of our EU partners, as well as of our support for the mediation efforts being undertaken by the US, Rwanda and the OAU.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have noted the mass meeting held in Guatemala City on 6 June, the fortieth day after the murder of Bishop J. G. Conedera, to demand full investigation of this and earlier crimes; and whether they will ask the Government of Guatemala to protect the Rev. Pedro Nota and others working for human rights from death threats and other forms of violence.[HL2180]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK presidency has urged the Guatemalan Government to conduct a full investigation into the murder of Bishop Gerardi in order to bring those responsible to justice.

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We have also urged the authorities to fulfil their commitment to investigate all other cases of human rights violations. We will continue to follow the situation closely.

We have expressed concerns about the safety of all those who are working to improve human rights in Guatemala. We have called on the Guatemalan Government to ensure their protection.

Corporal Punishment in Boarding Schools

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the recommendations in Sir William Utting's report People Like Us, they intend to protect all children living away from home from corporal punishment as defined by Clause 121 of the School Standards and Framework Bill.[HL2286]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Sir William Utting's report People Like Us recommended that the right to use corporal punishment should be removed from those boarding schools which still retain it. The Government have accepted this recommendation and the School Standards and Framework Bill seeks to prohibit the use of such punishment in all education institutions.

Health Risks

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 10 June (WA 95), what is the health risk factor of:

    (a) drinking artificially fluoridated water; and

    (b) eating beef on the bone.[HL2373]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: There is no evidence of harm to general health as a result of drinking artificially fluoridated water at 1 part per million. In its advice to Ministers, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee said that bovine spongiform encephalopathy infectivity had been found in the dorsal root ganglia and bone marrow of cattle and there was a small risk of BSE-infected material entering the human food chain. Taking into account the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, the Government decided that it would be wrong knowingly to allow tissue that had been shown to transmit BSE into the human food chain.

EU Nationals: Medical Treatment in Other Member States

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 3 June (WA 36), when Ministers expect to complete their consideration of the cases of

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    Decker and Kohll in the European Court of Justice, which concern the rights of citizens of one European Union state to have medical treatment in another European Union state paid for by the authorities of the former state.[HL2371]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: All European Union member states and the European Commission are giving careful and in depth consideration to the effect of the judgments on the purchase of spectacles and access to orthodontic treatment across the European Community. It is important that the issue is dealt with properly and agreement reached across the European Union on the principles involved. We cannot say when this process will be completed, although our officials are working, with those in the Commission and other member states, towards a speedy resolution. The United Kingdom Government welcome the Court's reaffirmation of the important principle that it is for member states to determine the organisation of their own healthcare systems. Our initial assessment is that the terms of the judgment do not apply to services provided within the hospital infrastructure obtained in another member state. As my reply of 3 June at col. WA 36 stated, under existing European Community Regulations people may already obtain medical treatment in another member state subject to certain conditions.

Human Embryos Created for Research Purposes

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many human embryos are being created exclusively for research purposes.[HL2219]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Figures on the number of human embryos created exclusively for research purposes are not collected. Embryos used for research purposes, under the strict controls required by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, may be donated following one of a number of procedures. Some embryos are donated following treatment involving in-vitro fertilisation: as given in reply to the noble Lord on 14 May 1998 at column WA 132, the latest figures provided by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) show that 36,930 such embryos were donated for research between 1 August 1991 and 31 March 1996.

In addition, a number of embryos are created for diagnostic purposes in treatments involving gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT)--a procedure not governed by the 1990 Act--which, together with embryos created using supernumerary eggs produced in the course of that procedure, may be donated to research. It may also be possible to use for research embryos created using eggs donated for treatment but which are not, in the event, used for that purpose. Each year the HFEA licences about two or three research projects which may involve the creation of embryos. This will only be where such use is an essential requirement for the research project, for example in

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order to examine the viability of eggs which have been frozen, or the use of immature sperm for treatment purposes.

Research on human embryos is subject to very strict controls under the terms of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and may only be carried out if effective consent, as defined in the Act, is given by the egg and sperm providers.

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