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Standards Fund Allocation

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: The following table shows the number of local education authorities that submitted bids and the number that received grant for each of the Standards Fund grants allocated by a bidding process in 1999-2000. For 2001-02 we have developed a simplified Standards Fund with much less bidding.

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Standards Fund 1999-2000: Grants Allocated by Bid

GrantNumber of Local Education Authorities Submitting BidsNumber of Local Education Authorities Receiving Grant
Local Recruitment Measures 7970
Summer Literacy Schools144144
Summer Numeracy Schools134134
Literacy at Key Stage 32626
Numeracy at Key Stage 39416
Family Numeracy13051
Special Educational Needs9762
Work Related Learning14897
Social Inclusion Pupil Support148134
National Grid for Learning150150
Education of Travellers and Displaced Persons9191
Expanding Local Authority Music Services12780
Study Support Summer School Pilots55
Best Practice Research Scholarships2514
Reduction of Infant Class Sizes144144

Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will offer technical help to the Government of Bangladesh to get the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission operational and effective. [HL4403]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Her Majesty's Government would be willing to consider support to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Commission if the Government of Bangladesh requested such support. No such request has been received.

Israel: Defence Equipment Sales

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to investigate whether British equipment has been used in Israeli helicopter attacks on Palestinians; and whether the future of arms sales to Israel is also under consideration, as reported in the Guardian on 25 October [HL4453]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are closely monitoring the current violence in the Middle East, including the equipment used by the Israeli Defence Forces in the Occupied Territories. We continue to look at all applications for licences to export defence equipment to Israel on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.

UN Disarmament and International Security Committee: Chairmanship

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they did not oppose the appointment of Ambassador Tan, Burma's permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva, as chairman of the United Nations General Assembly's first Committee on Disarmament and International Security.[HL4454]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The chairmanship of each UN General Assembly committee rotates annually between the five UN electoral groups. By convention, the candidate endorsed by the electoral group is elected to the chair without a vote being taken.

This year, the chairmanship of the first committee fell to the Asian group, who chose the Burmese representative as their candidate. His role is a functional one, bound by the General Assembly rules of procedure and under the authority of the committee. He chairs meetings in a personal capacity, does not represent Burmese policy and does not vote.

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in view of their ethical dimension to foreign policy and Baroness Scotland of Asthal's statement that Burma is a "country bled white by misdirections of resources into arms" (H.L. Deb., 2 October, col. 1222), the appointment of Ambassador Tan, Burma's permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva, as chairman of the United Nations General Assembly's first Committee on Disarmament and International Security carries their support. [HL4455]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The chairmanship of each UN General Assembly committee rotates annually between the five UN electoral groups. By convention, the candidate endorsed by the electoral group is elected to the chair without a vote being taken.

This year, the chairmanship of the first committee fell to the Asian group, who chose the Burmese representative as their candidate. His role is a functional one, bound by the General Assembly rules of procedure and under the authority of the committee. He chairs meetings in a personal capacity, does not represent Burmese policy and does not vote.

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The Government support the procedural convention by which the chairs of the General Assembly committees are selected. This in no way implies approval of the policies of the chair's home state. As is well known, the UK is one of Burma's fiercest critics in the UN.

OHCHR: Communications and Complaints

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to publish model questionnaires for communications and complaints, similar to those already provided for some of the commission's mandates, for the rest of its thematic and country mechanisms, and to make these documents available on its website. [HL4508]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) includes general guidance on how to submit communications and complaints, both under the relevant human rights treaties and under extra-conventional mechanisms.

We will encourage the OHCHR to make complaints forms available on-line. However, it is for the OHCHR to decide whether a single form is appropriate for all the mechanisms.

Zanzibar: Elections

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received a report from the Commonwealth Observer Group on the Zanzibar Electoral Commission's handling of the poll on 29 October; and what steps they intend taking, with other Commonwealth member states, to persuade the Zanzibar authorities to re-run the elections, as recommended by the chairman of the Observer Group, Dr Gaositewe Chiepe. [HL4509]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Commonwealth and other international and local observers were unanimous in their condemnation of the organisation of the elections on 29 October, the contempt for democracy that this represented and the need to re-run the vote in all constituencies under a reformed Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC). We, with EU colleagues, criticised the decision to re-run the elections in only 16 constituencies and under the supervision of the current electoral commission in a statement issued on 3 November.

My honourable friend Peter Hain, the Foreign Office Minister repsonsible for Africa, has since spoken to the Tanzanian Foreign Minister to express

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our grave concerns about the situation. We will continue to press the Tanzanian authorities to find a solution to the political crisis that respects the democractic and human rights of all Zanzibaris.

UNAMSIL: Illicit Diamond Mining

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about investigations by the United Nations into allegations by the former UNAMSIL commander, General Jetley, of illicit diamond mining operations by UNAMSIL personnel; and whether the report will be published. [HL4511]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have asked the UN Secretariat to provide information on any investigations undertaken following General Jetley's allegations. A reply has not yet been received.

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Sierra Leone: Elections

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Government of Sierra Leone have informed them of plans to to hold a general election in April 2001; and, if this appears to be unfeasible because rebels are still in control of most of the territory, what arrangements that government intend to make for the lawful administration of the country following the expiry of their term of office. [HL4512]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: A number of elections, including presidential and parliamentary, are due to take place in Sierra Leone in early 2001 in accordance with the constitution.

A decision on whether to proceed on this timing is a matter for the Government of Sierra Leone. There is provision for the extension of the government's mandate under emergency powers.



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