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British Citizens in Prison in EU

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Consular staff in European Union countries provide a consistent level of consular assistance to all British nationals who have been detained and have requested consular assistance, irrespective of the reason for their detention.

Specifically, consular staff can give information on the local legal system and help detainees obtain a lawyer and receive money from family and friends. Our primary concern is to ensure the welfare of all British nationals detained abroad and our consular staff will take up any appropriate complaints or other serious difficulties with the local prison authorities.

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I am writing to the noble Lord to explain that we do not maintain real time statistics on British prisoners held overseas, and that to update the Answer I gave on 6 June would be a significant burden on consular resources.

Mr Pierre Falcone

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government have received no information from the Angolan Government about the diplomatic status of Mr Pierre Falcone, nor have we received any request for information about his business activities by the French investigating magistrate. We take seriously any

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allegations of illegal arms trading by companies registered in the UK. Investigations of such activities are a matter for HM Customs and Excise. Should evidence arise that offences were committed by any UK company, HM Customs and Excise will look into the matter.

Iraq: Governing Council

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will promote changes in the membership of the Iraqi Governing Council, in consultation with representatives of leaders of the various communities, with a view to enhancing the confidence of the people of Iraq in the council.[HL5017]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The political process in Iraq, including membership of the governing council is a matter for the council. The governing council is committed to reporting the recommendations for a future constitution by 15 December 2003 under the terms of UNSCR 1511. Joan

Iraq: Constitution

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that a permanent constitutional settlement in Iraq must include confirmation of the autonomy of the four northern governorates, including Kirkuk.[HL5018]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Iraqi Governing Council (GC) appointed a Constitutional Preparatory Committee (CPC) in August to start the process of deciding a new Iraqi constitution. Following the CPC's report to the GC in early October and the adoption of UN resolution 1511, the GC has been tasked by the United Nations Security Council to report on the way forward and set a timetable by 15 December for adoption of a new constitution and elections. The relationship between Iraq's central authorities and its governorates will be addressed during this process, which is managed entirely by Iraqis for Iraq.

ECHR: Ratification of Protocol 4

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

    How many member states of the Council of Europe have ratified the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights; and which member states have not ratified the protocol.[HL5019]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Thirty-seven member states of the Council of Europe have ratified Protocol 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They are as follows:


    Albania


    Armenia


    Austria


    Azerbaijan

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    Belgium


    Bosnia and Herzegovina


    Bulgaria


    Croatia


    Cyprus


    Czech Republic


    Denmark


    Estonia


    Finland


    France


    Georgia


    Germany


    Hungary


    Iceland


    Ireland


    Italy


    Latvia


    Lithuania


    Luxembourg


    Malta


    Moldova


    Netherlands


    Norway


    Poland


    Portugal


    Romania


    Russia


    San Marino


    Slovakia


    Slovenia


    Sweden


    FYR Macedonia


    Ukraine

The following four countries have not ratified Protocol 4:


    Serbia and Montenegro


    Spain


    Turkey


    United Kingdom and the following four countries have yet to sign this protocol:


    Andorra


    Greece


    Liechtenstein


    Switzerland

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

    Whether the explanation by the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey in a Written Answer on 12 November 1996 (WA 92) for the Government's decision not to ratify the Fourth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, namely that "Her

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    Majesty's Government believes that Article 3(2) of the Protocol could conflict with the United Kingdom immigration and nationality legislation by giving British Dependent Territories Citizens, British Overseas Citizens, British Subjects and British Nationals Overseas a right of entry to the United Kingdom that they no longer possess", no longer applies given that the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 has given these categories of British citizens a right of entry into the United Kingdom.[HL5020]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There is still conflict. The Immigration Act 1971 restricts the right of abode in the United Kingdom to British citizens and to a residual class of other Commonwealth citizens who had that right before 1983. The right to registration as a British citizen under Section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981, as inserted by Section 12 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, is a conditional one. The individual must make an application to the Secretary of State and demonstrate that he possesses certain qualifications as specified in the Act. The requirements are that the applicant is either a British Overseas citizen, a British subject under the 1981 Act or a British protected person, and has no nationality or citizenship apart from the qualifying British status, and has not, since 4 July 2002, "renounced, voluntarily relinquished or lost through action or inaction any citizenship or nationality".

British Nationals (Overseas) are entirely outside the scope of the provision.

British overseas territories citizens—as British Dependent Territories citizens are now known—are also not covered by Section 4B. However, most of these were given British citizenship by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002.

I should also mention, for the sake of completeness, that certain other provisions of the protocol may be incompatible with our arrangements for issuing passports and with Armed Forces discipline.

Zimbabwe: British Nationals

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 16 October (WA 132), whether the diplomatic protection they have given to United Kingdom nationals whose farms and other properties in Zimbabwe have been unlawfully seized, occupied or damaged is of the same level as that given by the Governments of Germany and the Netherlands to their nationals in Zimbabwe.[HL5021]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The British High Commission in Harare will provide assistance to any British national requesting it. The German and Dutch Governments have ratified a bilateral investment protection agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe. This gives them an

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additional basis on which to discuss issues on behalf of their nationals. The UK and Zimbabwe signed such an agreement in 1995, but this was not ratified by either side. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials would be happy to discuss this issue further with the noble Lord, should he request a meeting.

EU Draft Constitutional Treaty

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which current treaties of the European Union relate to the proposals in the draft constitutional treaty for (a) a full-time President of the European Council; and (b) the appointment of a Minister for Foreign Affairs.[HL5032]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: None. Both are new appointments, but their function will correspond to existing functions of (a) the rotating President of the European Council, and (b) the Commissioner for External Relations and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.


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