|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Although the House paid for the initial cost of the works in Old Palace Yard, the upkeep of the paving and associated ironworks is the responsibility of Westminster City Council.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Reconstruction and reform of the judicial sector falls within the Afghan Transitional Administration's National Development Framework. The Judicial Reform Commission, established by the Transitional Administration, leads on Judicial Reform in Afghanistan. It is supported in this by Italy as the lead nation for international assistance on Judicial Reform, together with a number of international agencies and non-governmental organisations including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO).
The Afghan National Development Framework sought 27.02 million US dollars from donors for work on the judicial sector in 200304. There remains a significant shortfall to date. The Transitional Administration hopes to remedy this via a needs assessment to be presented to the international community in early 2004.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Several UK personnel have been seconded to the Coalition Provisional Authority to assist with the reconstruction of the judicial sector and the development of human rights in Iraq. The UN and World Bank needs assessment for Iraq, announced at the Madrid Donors' Conference in October, estimated that the judicial sector would require 66.5 million US dollars from 2004 to 2007. At the Conference, pledges of over 33 billion US dollars in grants and concessional loans were received in total for reconstruction in Iraq. There is as yet no detail on how much of this sum will be allocated to the judicial sector.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Under the EU Accession Treaty, citizens of all 10 new member states will enjoy the same right to travel freely across the EU as is enjoyed by citizens of the current member states, for all but one of the purposes envisaged by the EC Treaty. The Accession Treaty allows the 15 current member states to impose temporary restrictions on the right of citizens of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia to travel freely across the EU for the purpose of work. These restrictions may last, at the most, until 30 April 2011. Cypriot and Maltese citizens will enjoy free movement for work across the EU automatically on accession.
In line with their announcement of December 2002, the Government intend to grant citizens of the eight states affected by temporary restrictions the right to work freely in the UK labour market from 1 May 2004. Section 2 of the European Union (Accessions) Act 2003, which received Royal Assent on 17 November, gives Ministers the power to make regulations to that effect. Draft regulations will be laid before Parliament in March to come into force on 1 May.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The criminal justice system in Iraq is based on the Iraqi penal code and is enforced by the relevant Iraqi authorities. Where Coalition forces arrest persons suspected of criminal offences, these are transferred to the Iraqi authorities as quickly as possible. Any persons interned on security grounds are provided for under the Geneva Conventions. Members of the Coalition forces in Iraq remain subject to their own military discipline and national legal systems.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office follows developments in Saudi Arabia closely. We have deep concerns about human rights including in relation to aspects of the judicial system; capital and corporal punishment; torture; discrimination against women and non-Muslims; and restrictions on freedom of movement, expression, assembly and worship. We raise these concerns with the Saudi authorities at all levels. We have a wide-ranging dialogue on issues in Saudi Arabia and encourage the process of reform on which Saudi Arabia has embarked.
Export licence applications for Saudi Arabia, as for all countries, are assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Exports Criteria, taking account of the circumstances at the time and other announced government policies. In assessing export licence applications, the Government take account of all available and relevant information.
We most recently raised this with the Russian authorities in the context of the Chechen presidential elections, when my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Bill Rammell) called upon the new President, Kadyrov, to work for reconciliation and promote a genuinely open political process.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government recognises Israel's legitimate security concerns, and deplores the terrorist suicide bombings of Israeli civilians. But, we consider Israel's building of a wall on occupied land to be unlawful, and remain concerned by the route of the barrier. We regret that Israel has not complied with the General Assembly's demand in Resolution ES-10/13 to halt and reverse the construction of the fence, and we continue to urge the Israeli authorities to take action to this effect.
Nevertheless, the British Government, like our EU partners, abstained on Resolution ES-10/14, which called for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legality of the fence. We believe it inappropriate to take such action without the consent of both parties. Moreover, we do not see that an advisory opinion will change the actual situation on ground. Our priority should be to ensure continued dialogue, implementation of roadmap obligations and immediate action on the ground.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We share the concerns of the declaration's authors that the route of the fence in and around Jerusalem worsens the humanitarian situation there. In addition we have said repeatedly that neither side should take unilateral action that could prejudge the status of Jerusalem. We regard the status of Jerusalem as still to be determined in permanent status negotiations between the parties. Pending agreement, we recognise de facto Israeli authority over West Jerusalem, but consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory. We recognise no sovereignty over the city.
While we recognise Israel's right to take security measures against the threat of terrorism, any fence built should be on the Green Line or in Israeli territory. We regard the building of the fence on Palestinian land as unlawful. We have urged the Israeli Government to reconsider the route of the fence and to take measures to relieve the economic and humanitarian hardships caused by the fence and restrictions on freedom of movement.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|