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Written Answers

Tuesday, 4th March 2003.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contingency plans are now being prepared in liaison with intergovernmental and non-governmental humanitarian agencies for co-ordinated humanitarian operations to feed, care for and protect the civilian population in Iraq should there be war.[HL1633]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): The Government are holding regular discussions with other governments, UN agencies, NGOs and other humanitarian actors about contingency planning for a range of eventualities in Iraq. In the event of military action, a key priority would be to minimise the suffering of the Iraqi people. This would include enabling, as quickly as possible, the provision of immediate humanitarian assistance by those best placed to do so; access for other humanitarian actors; and re-establishment of the UN Oil For Food Programme distribution network.

In addition to its ongoing humanitarian programme in Iraq and its annual support for UN agencies' global emergency preparedness activities, the Department for International Development is providing £3.5 million to support UN humanitarian contingency planning for Iraq, including the prepositioning of basic supplies, through funding to UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, OCHA and UNSECOORD. This situation is under close review.

Pakistan: Human Rights

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by Baroness Amos on 4 November 2002 (WA75), 6 November 2002 (WA103) and 25 November 2002 (WA17) about human rights in Pakistan and the situation of Asif Ali Zardari, why they have not raised this case with the Pakistani Government in view of the court case registered by the Sindh High Court in early 2002 against certain police officers with respect to Mr Zardari's ill treatment;[HL1617]

    Further to the Written Answers by Baroness Amos on 4 November 2002 (WA75), 6 November 2002 (WA103) and 25 November 2002 (WA17) about human rights in Pakistan and the situation of Asif Ali Zardari, why they have not raised this case with the Pakistani Government in light of the length of the proceedings against Mr Zardari and the failure of the Pakistani authorities to comply with the Supreme Court order for a timetable for the completion of all proceedings against Mr Zardari.[HL1618]

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Baroness Amos: We regulary engage with the Pakistani authorities on a wide range of human rights issues. Where appropriate, we make bilateral representations in specific cases on behalf of British nationals. Mr Zardari is not a British national. The UK may on occasion raise specific cases of non-British nationals. However, we are not entitled to provide the formal consular or diplomatic protection that we can offer to British nationals. We have not concluded that there are reasons for the UK to raise Mr Zardari's case.

Angola: Publish What You Pay Initiative

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with the Publish What You Pay initiative in Angola; and whether they will propose to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development that a web page be established where members of the public in Angola and other countries would be able to see which multinational companies were complying with the initiative and how much they had paid to the host governments.[HL1710]

Baroness Amos: The Publish What You Pay initiative is an NGO campaign to disclose payments made by extractive companies to each host country. Further information on the Publish What You Pay campaign may be obtained from their website;

The Prime Minister launched the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in September 2002. The EITI is separate from but complementary to Publish What You Pay. The EITI aims to make transparent both payments from companies to government and revenues received by governments (as company payments can make up less then 50 per cent of government revenues from the sector). The data disclosed will be made publicly available.

An international multi-stakeholder workshop on the EITI was hosted by DfID in London on 11 and 12 February and was attended by some 70 participants. Representatives from the Government of Angola and from the state-owned oil company Sonangol were present and we envisage their further involvement in moving the initiative forward.

Further information about the EITI is available from DfID's website

Congo: UN Expert Panel

Baroness Williams of Crosby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1457, they are now investigating those United Kingdom companies and individuals listed in Annex III to the report of the Panel of Experts on Congo and reminding them of their

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    obligations under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.[HL1742]

Baroness Amos: SCR 1457 (2003) extended the mandate of the UN Expert Panel for a further six months. In the light of the panel's findings, Her Majesty's Government will consider taking appropriate action where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing.

Capita: FCO Contracts

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contracts have been awarded to the Capita Group by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[HL1811]

Baroness Amos: The FCO has two contracts with Capita. One is for the recruitment of administrative assistants and the other for the recruitment of specialist staff. The value of the contracts over their lifetime is estimated at £917k and £1.06 million respectively, £861k of which is taken up by expenditure on advertising.

Reproductive Healthcare

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Amos on 13 February (WA132), whether their statement that they "do not provide assistance to stabilise population growth" is consistent with their funding by unrestricted grants of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), whose September 2000 audit report states that 72 per cent of its 1998–99 programme expenditure was spent on "population management".[HL1839]

Baroness Amos: The United Nations Population Fund's programme expenditure is focused on improving reproductive health services in the developing world and not on "stabilising population growth".

Zimbabwe: EU Aid

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much bilateral aid is paid to Zimbabwe by each European Union member state; and how much was given to Zimbabweans through the European Commission's Conflict and Humanitarian Office by (a) the United Kingdom and (b) other European Union member states.[HL1935]

Baroness Amos: European Union member states provided E67 million (£46 million) for humanitarian assistance through bilateral channels and E88.8 million (£60 million) through the European Commission to Zimbabwe in 2002. In each case the UK provided E51.2m (£34.8 million) and E17.4m (£11.6 million) respectively.

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The table below sets out the position by country. Figures in the left-hand column include contributions to UN appeals. Figures in the right-hand column represent EC Humanitarian Office (ECHO) support in full and attributed to each member state according to budget share.

Bilateral (E millions)ECHO (E millions)
GreeceNo Data1.3
LuxembourgNo Data0.2
PortugalNo Data1.2
SpainNo Data6.2


ECHO figures to 19 December 2002.

All figures provisional.

Occupied Territories: Use of UK-supplied Equipment by Israel

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there have been any breaches of the Israeli assurances about the use of United Kingdom-supplied equipment in the Occupied Territories exported under previous administrations.[HL1948]

Baroness Amos: In the written reply of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary to Menzies Campbell on 15 April 2002, (Official Report, column 723W), he informed Parliament that we had questions about other possible breaches of the Israeli assurances about the use of UK-supplied equipment in the Occupied Territories exported under previous administrations. The Government have looked into the issue further and I am now able to inform Parliament of the outcome of our inquiries.

The only equipment that has been identified as being used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in the Occupied Territories, and that can justifiably be regarded as constituting a breach of the assurances, is a combination of Puma and Nachpadon armoured personnel carriers (APCs). These are derivative APCs on a Centurion chassis, and which therefore have a significant and recognisable UK content. Parliament was informed of this in the reply of my honourable friend Mr Bradshaw to a Parliamentary Question from Mr Galloway on 11 March 2002.

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In our view, the Israeli assurances did not cover equipment of components exported by the UK to a third country, which components were then incorporated in that country into products for onward export. The announcement of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary of 8 July 2002 set out how the Government will approach licence applications for goods where it is understood that the goods are to be incorporated into products for onward export.

We intend to inform the Israelis of the results of our inquiries. We shall re-emphasise our current concerns about exporting arms to Israel that might be used against Palestinian targets, and that our policy on assessing Israeli export applications has not changed; we shall continue to assess export licence applications for the proposed export of controlled goods to Israel on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.

Our staff will continue to monitor the deployment and the use of equipment by the IDF in the Occupied Territories during their regular tours of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; and will report to me any sightings of British-supplied equipment.

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