Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Kosovo: UN Reports

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: There have been two UN reports produced in response to the March 2004 violence in Kosovo. The UN Secretary General gave his quarterly report on the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) on 30 July 2004 available at http://ods-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/446/69/IMG/N0444669.pdf?OpenElement. The UN Secretary General also commissioned the Norwegian Ambassador to NATO, Kai Eide, to produce a report on the situation in Kosovo. This report is not yet in the public domain, although its key recommendations are well known. These include the acceleration of the transfer of competencies to Kosovo institutions in conjunction with elaborating a programme of Kosovo-wide decentralisation, which we support.
 
16 Sept 2004 : Column WA199
 

Bosnia: EU Mission

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Preparations for the EU military mission to Bosnia, underpinned by close and regular contacts between the EU and NATO, are proceeding well. The EU's General Affairs and External Relations Council approved the Concept of Operations for the mission on 13 September. Work is now being taken forward on the Operation Plan; and a Force Generation Conference took place on 15 September, which all troop contributing nations—including non-EU countries—were invited to attend. The EU mission will take over in December. It will be a robust military force with some 7,000 troops and will operate under a chapter VII mandate.

Northern Iraq: British Embassy

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The decision to locate the office of the British Embassy of Northern Iraq in Kirkuk was taken, among other considerations, on the basis of security advice provided by Foreign and Commonwealth Office security advisers and the British Office, Baghdad. A major factor was the opportunity to house the office within the US mission in Kirkuk. The decision involved discussions with our officials in Iraq, the Iraqi authorities and the US.

Middle East

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK, bilaterally and in co-operation with international partners, continues to engage with Israel to ensure withdrawals from Gaza and the West Bank take place as soon as possible and are as complete as possible.

We are continuing to work with the Palestinian Authority in areas where it needs to deliver a visible improvement in the security situation, and we are also
 
16 Sept 2004 : Column WA200
 
encouraging the parties to work together and with the World Bank to ensure the economic viability of Gaza post-withdrawal. We have also made it clear that it is essential these withdrawals be a first step rather than an end in themselves. The UK believes the road map remains the best means to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement to the conflict.

Houseboats

Baroness Hanham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): In the view of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, houseboat dwellers are already protected by this legislation. However, we cannot give categorical assurances that this is the case, because only the courts can interpret legislation.

Regional Referendum Campaigns:Cost of Ministerial Visits

Baroness Hanham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The information requested in respect of a breakdown of the costs incurred for each ministerial visit connected with regional referendum campaigns in the north-west, Yorkshire and, the Humber and the north-east is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Criminal Case Transcripts:Barbara Salisbury Trial

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): It is not departmental policy to place transcripts of criminal cases in the Library of the House. A transcript of the trial of Barbara Salisbury can be obtained via Chester Crown Court.
 
16 Sept 2004 : Column WA201
 

Human Rights: International Instruments

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

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: In its recent Interdepartmental Review of International Human Rights Instruments, the Government concluded that the practical value to individual citizens of individual petition to the United Nations is unclear. They also have concerns about the levels of cost to public funds that governments might incur if individual petition were used extensively to explore the meaning of the provisions of a treaty. Therefore they have decided to accede only to one right of individual petition, under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, to enable them to consider the merits of individual petition on a more empirical basis.

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

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The Government published their evaluation of the merits of the right of petition under United Nations human rights treaties as Appendix 5 of their Report on the Interdepartmental Review of International Human Rights Instruments, which was laid in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament on 22 July 2004.

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

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Yes. The review did include an evaluation of the case law of the United Nations Human Rights Committee and of the experience of states which have accepted the First Optional Protocol. The results are set out at Appendix 5 of the report on the review, which was laid in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament on 22 July 2004. Ministers concluded that the practical value to
 
16 Sept 2004 : Column WA202
 
individual citizens of individual petition to the United Nations was unclear. They also had concerns about the levels of cost to public funds that governments might incur if individual petition were used extensively to explore the meaning of the provisions of a treaty. Therefore, they have decided to accede only to one right of individual petition, under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, to enable consideration of the merits of individual petition on a more empirical basis.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page