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Ms Inez McCormack

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: All appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission were made on merit, and with due regard for the Secretary of State's duty under s.68(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to ensure that the commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community of Northern Ireland.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I understand that the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission wrote to the Taoiseach on the subject of the Irish Human Rights Commission, but the status of this advice is a matter for the Irish Government. I am aware that Ms Inez McCormack was invited by the Irish Government to sit, in a personal capacity, on the Whitaker Selection Committee for the Irish Human Rights Commission.

Factortame Litigation: Settlement

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Settlement has now been reached with all the applicants involved in

8 Feb 2001 : Column WA120

the Factortame litigation. Under the terms of the settlement the total sum of damages paid is £55 million, including interest of some £26 million. This includes the earlier settlement of £10 million reached in 2000 but excludes the legal costs of the applicants, liability for which was accepted as part of the settlement agreements but which have yet to be assessed. The claims submitted by the applicants totalled £285 million before interest.

Zimbabwe: UK Funding

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In light of reports suggesting that President Mugabe has deployed a further 6,000 troops to Congo in the aftermath of Laurent Kabila's death, whether the current levels of Department for International Development funding of Zimbabwe are appropriate. [HL566]

Baroness Amos: The UK Government strongly support the implementation of the Lusaka agreement and are concerned about Zimbabwean activity in the DRC. We will do all we can to persuade all the parties to implement the ceasefire and withdrawal agreements made at Lusaka.

The British development programme to Zimbabwe is focused on helping the poor, who are suffering from the double impact of economic collapse and HIV/AIDS. Forty per cent of our planned spending this year is on HIV/AIDS prevention, and we are also helping with rural livelihoods and water and sanitation. Cutting this assistance would hurt the poor and accelerate the spread of HIV but would have no effect on the scale of Zimbabwean involvement in the DRC.

Turkey: Alleged Mistreatment of Prisoners

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the Council of Europe to investigate recent events in Turkish prisons, in particular (a) the number of deaths caused by state action; (b) allegations of torture and violent force-feeding and (c) the banning of Tayad, the Prisoners' Relatives Association. [HL478]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture visited Turkey on 10-15 January in order to investigate the allegations of mistreatment of prisoners during the recent operations. We welcome the visit and the delegation's stated intention to maintain a dialogue with the Turkish authorities.

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