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UNAMSIL

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There are no plans to move UNAMSIL. Its role is to maintain peace and security in Sierra Leone until Sierra Leonean armed forces and police are able to do so. Its mandate is specific to Sierra Leone and its personnel are there because they are needed. Any force for Liberia or any other part of the sub-region would require its own specific mandate.

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An external stabilisation force of some kind may well be necessary in Liberia to ensure a cease fire, and for the political process to move forward. We, and others in the international community, are considering options for such a force.

Indonesia

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are making representations to the Government of Indonesia about the recent use of 36 Scorpion armoured vehicles (supplied by the United Kingdom) for purposes of internal repression in Aceh, Indonesia.[HL3757]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave to Lord Avebury on 10 July (Official Report, WA 53).

Iraq: Looting of Archaeological Sites

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what extent they are aware of the continuing and systematic looting of archaeological sites in Southern Iraq, such as Umn al Akareb (ancient Umma); and what steps coalition forces are taking to diminish this systematic destruction of Iraq's cultural heritage.[HL3831]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We are aware that there has been looting at a number of the archaeological sites in Southern Iraq, including Umma, Isin and Umn al-Aqareb. Coalition forces have increased the number of patrols (including aerial patrols) over cultural sites. The Coalition Provisional Authority is working on how best to ensure the protection of these and other sites from looting.

Iraq: Constitution

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with Ayatollah Ali Sistani's proposal that the Iraqi constitutional assembly should be elected, and that its recommendations should be put to the Iraqi people for their approval in a referendum; and, if so, what arrangements they will seek to make for this purpose.[HL3833]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Coalition Provisional Authority is consulting widely about a process for establishing a new constitution. There is no consensus yet. Ideas include a preparatory constitutional commission and a constituent assembly elected from the governorates. The eventual draft constitution might be put forward for approval through a referendum but this will be for the Iraqi interim authority to decide.

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Iraq: Penal and Criminal Procedure Codes

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 8 July (HL Deb, col. 134), under what legal code the police and judicial system in Iraq are operating.[HL3923]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The police and justice sector is currently applying the Iraqi Penal Code of 1969 and the Criminal Procedure Code of 1971. The Coalition Provisional Authority Order No 7 amended the Iraqi penal code so as to ensure compatibility with basic international human rights obligations. Further amendments may be required in due course.

Middle East: Gaza Airport

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will use their best endeavours to secure the reopening of Gaza Airport to international flights.[HL3886]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We shall, and hope that developments in the new peace process, including a restoration of Palestinian Authority control in Gaza, will permit credible discussion of a reopening to begin soon.

Middle East Peace Process

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask all members of the Quartet to contribute financially to groups in religious, parliamentary and business life able to support the negotiations required by the road map and the wider Middle East peace process, for example the Permanent Committee for the Implementation of the Alexandria Declaration.[HL3889]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The negotiations required by the road map will be undertaken by the governments concerned and the Palestinian Authority. We recognise the importance to all these parties of support from civil society, and we are confident that all four Quartet members do so too.

Racial Discrimination: UK and EC Legislation

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is anything in preparatory work on the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) indicating an intention by the European Commission or Council to exclude discrimination based on a person's colour from the scope of the directive.[HL3691]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Her Majesty's Government is not aware of indications in preparatory work on the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) as to the

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intentions of the European Commission or Council with regards to including or excluding, colour as a grounds of discrimination under the directive.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 24 June (WA 11), what they consider to have been the reasons for the exclusion of discrimination based on colour from the scope of the Race Directive.[HL3692]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Her Majesty's Government are unable to speculate as to what have been the reasons for the exclusion of discrimination based on colour from the scope of the Race Directive.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the exclusion of discrimination based upon a person's colour from the protection of the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 is in accordance with the universal right to equality before the law and protection against discrimination for all persons recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, referred to in Recital (3) of the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC); and, if so, what are their reasons for this view.[HL3694]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Her Majesty's Government consider that not including discrimination based upon a person's colour from the protection of the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 is in accordance with the universal right to equality before the law and protection against discrimination for all persons recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, referred to in Recital (3) of the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) in as much as the directive (which the Government are obliged to implement) is in itself in accordance with that right.

Most of the requirements of the directive were, of course, already fulfilled by the existing provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 which, although not necessary for the purpose of implementation, include colour.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that it is compatible with the purpose of the Race Directive, as described in Article 1 of the Directive, to exclude discrimination based on colour from "a framework for combating discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin, with a view to putting into effect in the member states the principal of equal treatment."[HL3695]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Her Majesty's Government consider that it is compatible with the purpose of the Race Directive, as described in Article 1 of the directive, to exclude discrimination on the grounds of colour, with a view to putting into effect in the member states "the principle of equal treatment" because it does not regard the reference to "a framework" as a sufficient basis for adding the further ground of colour to the grounds of discrimination referred to in that article.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 2 July (HL3441), whether they consider that the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) was intended to give effect to the universal right to equality before the law for all persons, including persons discriminated against on the basis of their colour; and if not, why not.[HL3786]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Her Majesty's Government cannot speculate on the extent to which the Race Directive (Council Directive 2000/43/EC) was intended to give effect to the universal right to equality before the law for all persons, including persons discriminated against on the basis of their colour, referred to in recital (3) to the directive (although the directive clearly does not, and could not, deal with all the matters covered by that reference).

The legal basis for the directive is Article 13 of the EU Treaty, which does not refer to colour.


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