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19 Oct 1999 : Column WA105

Written Answers

Tuesday, 19th October 1999.

China and Tibet

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether during the visit by President Jiang Zemin of China they will ask him why the Chinese authorities still refuse to enter into discussions with the Dalai Lama, notwithstanding the Dalai Lama's acceptance that Tibet should not seek more than autonomy within the Chinese People's Republic.[HL4147]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government raised the situation in Tibet during the most recent round of its regular human rights dialogue with China in September. We continue to urge the Chinese to enter into discussions with the Dalai Lama as the only realistic solution to the Tibetan issue. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister will indeed raise the question of human rights in China, including Tibet, with President Jiang Zemin at his meeting on 21 October.

Arms Exports

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether for each of the licences issued for the export of arms to Bahrain, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Zimbabwe, and for government-to-government exports of arms to Saudi Arabia, from the beginning of 1999 to the latest convenient date, they will give the number and types of arms or equipment involved, the identity of the consignee, information on intended use, and any other relevant information taken into account in awarding the licence.[HL4149]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Details of the UK's exports of strategic goods to all countries in 1999 will appear in the Annual Report on Strategic Exports for 1999 which we will issue next year.

The 1998 edition of the Government's Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls will be published as soon as possible and will set out information on all licensing decisions, including details of military equipment licensed for export. We will consider the format and content of the 1999 annual report in the light of responses to the 1998 edition, in particular the final report of the joint inquiry currently being conducted by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs, Defence, International Development and Trade and Industry Committees.

19 Oct 1999 : Column WA106

Indonesia: UK Arms Exports

Lord Avebury asked her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the weapons and ammunition acquired by the Indonesian army from the United Kingdom in recent years were intended for the purpose of defending Indonesia from external aggression; and whether they were needed for that purpose.[HL4150]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Bearing in mind the right of all sovereign states to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter, when this Government came into office we introduced new and stricter criteria for all arms exports. We will not issue an export licence if there is a clearly identifiable risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression or external aggression. We have taken great care to apply the criteria scrupulously in the case of Indonesia, as elsewhere. We have seen no evidence that arms approved for export by this Government have been used in East Timor.

East Timor

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United Nations transitional administration in East Timor will have jurisdiction over crimes committed within the territory during the Indonesian occupation; and whether the international commission of inquiry called for by the Commission of Human Rights at its special session on 27 September will be given the power and resources to safeguard forensic evidence to collect statements from witnesses and to establish a permanent office in Dili to keep this evidence and these statements in safe custody until they are required for the purpose of criminal proceedings.[HL4151]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The details of the UN transitional authority and the international commission of inquiry are still being worked out. The Secretary-General has said that one of the authority's objectives should be to create non-discriminatory and impartial institutions to ensure the establishment and maintenance of the rule of law and to promote and protect human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in preparing for the inquiry, has told us that the preservation of evidence is at the top of its agenda.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they seek a ruling from the Security Council that the Fourth Geneva Convention applied in East Timor throughout the period of Indonesian occupation.[HL4152]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no procedure for seeking a ruling from the Security Council on the application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in East Timor.

19 Oct 1999 : Column WA107

EU: Common Foreign and Defence Policy

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are plans for a European Union or European security and defence identity-wide official think-tank to underpin the Common Foreign and Defence Policy with appropriate research; and, if so, what would be its scope and remit.[HL4156]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Declaration on the Establishment of a Policy Planning and Early Warning Unit, annexed to the Amsterdam Treaty, provided for a unit to be established in the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union to monitor and analyse developments in areas relevant to the Common Foreign and Security Policy; provide assessments of the Union's foreign and security policy interests and identify areas where the Common Foreign and Security Policy could focus in future; provide timely assessments and early warnings of events or situations which may have significant repercussions for the Union's foreign and security policy; and produce argued options papers to be presented under the responsibility of the Presidency as a contribution to policy formulation in the Council which may contain analyses, recommendations and strategies for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The establishment of the unit has been timed to coincide with the assumption of functions of the Secretary General of the Council and High Representative. It is expected to become operational in the coming weeks.

UK-US Bilateral Treaties

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have recently examined “over 500 bilateral treaties [between the United Kingdom and] the United States" (HC Deb., WA501) to ensure that since the end of the Cold War they are still in British interests.[HL4157]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The 500-plus bilateral treaties which exist between the UK and the US have not been reviewed since the end of the Cold War to establish whether they are still in British interests. To carry out such a review would not be practical both in terms of financial and physical resources and would involve disproportionate costs. Individual treaties will be reviewed when circumstances merit.

Electoral Procedures: Working Party Report

Baroness Serota asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will be publishing the final report of the Working Party on Electoral Procedures.[HL4274]

19 Oct 1999 : Column WA108

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today placed a copy of the working party's report in the Library, and it will also be published on the Home Office's Internet web site.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary congratulates his honourable friend the Member for Knowsley North and Sefton East, now Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office, and all the members of his working party on a report that will be a major landmark in this country's electoral history. The existing procedures have served us well but are now well over a hundred years old and do not fully reflect modern conditions of life and work. The working party has gone out of its way to ensure that the integrity and openness of our electoral system will still be maintained into the next century.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is very pleased to see the cross-party consensus that was achieved within the working party, as this is essential to any aspect of electoral legislation.

My right honourable friend commends the working party's report to the House. The majority of its recommendations will require primary legislation, and my right honourable friend will be seeking the earliest practical opportunity for a Bill. He looks forward to cross-party co-operation that will ensure a swift and smooth passage for this excellent set of proposals.

Foreign Nationals in Prison

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish, for the end of September, a list of foreign nationals in the prisons of England and Wales, identified by nationality and sex.[HL4148]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Provisional information for 30 September 1999 is given in the table.

Population of foreign nationals in prisons in England and Wales on 30 September 19991 by nationality and sex

MalesFemalesTotal
All Nationalities62,2703,34465,614
British57,2722,82860,100
Foreign Nationals4,8045075,311
Total Europe1,8801532,033
Albania26026
Andorra101
Armenia404
Austria718
Azerbaijan303
Belgium44650
Bosnia-Hercegovina336
Bulgaria808
Croatia404
Cyprus84286
Czechozlovakia20121
Denmark23326
Estonia202
Finland303
France66369
Georgia202
Germany10316119
Gibraltar101
Greece15015
Hungary808
Iceland101
Irish Republic66242704
Italy1034107
Kazakhstan101
Latvia415
Lithuania27027
Malta14014
Moldavia404
Netherlands17336209
Norway011
Poland30332
Portugal69877
Romania32133
San Marino101
Serbia202
Sweden112
Slovakia415
Spain741791
Switzerland606
Turkey1742176
Turkmenistan808
USSR21122
Yugoslavia42143
Total Asia83133864
Bangladesh1200120
Burma101
Cambodia101
China68169
Hong Kong10111
India20912221
Indonesia314
Japan303
Korea (Sth)404
Malaysia819
Mongolia101
Nepal404
Pakistan3199328
Philippines516
Singapore202
Sri Lanka35035
Surinam415
Thailand303
Vietnam31637
Total Middle East1173120
Afghanistan15015
Bahrain101
Iran37138
Iraq19019
Israel10111
Jordan606
Kuwait404
Lebanon11112
Oman202
Qatar101
Saudi Arabia303
Syrian Arab Republic303
United Arab Emirates303
Yemen202
Total North America10127128
Canada29635
United States of America722193
Total Central or South America 17133204
Argentina303
Bolivia112
Brazil16824
Chile808
Colombia10321124
Ecuador505
French Guyana101
Guatemala404
Mexico202
Nicaragua101
Panama202
Peru718
Uruguay101
Venezuela17219
Total West Indies8211841,005
Anguilla202
Antigua909
Aruba101
Bahamas101
Barbados19019
Cayman Islands202
Cuba303
Dominica404
Dominican Republic101
Grenada13316
Guyana26228
Jamaica680174854
Montserrat404
Netherland Antilles404
St Kitts and Nevis415
St Lucia14216
St Vincent & The Grenadines303
Trinidad and Tobago31233
Total Africa83668904
Algeria69069
Angola24024
Botswana101
Burundi202
Cameroon, United Republic of202
Central African Republic606
Chad101
Congo505
Egypt13013
Ethiopia17017
Gabon202
Gambia819
Ghana791695
Guinea202
Ivory Coast8210
Kenya35540
Liberia404
Libya12012
Malawi707
Mali101
Mauritania202
Mauritius808
Morocco39039
Namibia101
Niger101
Nigeria17320193
Rwanda404
Senegal101
Seychelles314
Sierre Leone22224
Somalia1000100
South Africa711485
St Helena202
Sudan505
Swaziland213
Tanzania909
Togo415
Tunisia11011
Uganda24024
Zaire38240
Zambia819
Zimbabwe10212
Total Oceania32638
Australia22527
French Southern Territories202
Herd and McDonald Island101
New Zealand718
Total Other15015
Antartica11011
Ascension Island202
Greenland202
Not Recorded1949203

1 Provisional figures.


19 Oct 1999 : Column WA117

19 Oct 1999 : Column WA119


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