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To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made towards controlling illegal immigration from Haiti into the Turks and Caicos Islands; and whether they anticipate any additional impact from the recent earthquake in Haiti. [HL1295]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The figures for Haitian illegal immigrants repatriated from the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2007 and 2008 were 3,539 and 1,580 respectively. Indications are that the numbers have continued to decline in 2009, although we await a final figure. We continue to monitor the humanitarian situation in Haiti carefully.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): During 2009, 111 children were detained at Tinsley for more than 72 hours. This figure is taken from local data normally used for management information only.
Following a recent internal review, however, we have taken the decision to limit the length of stay for children to just 24 hours, after which they will be transferred to Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the governments of France and Germany about security risks of using Internet Explorer; and whether they will encourage public sector users to use another web browser. [HL1420]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): UK government officials and subject matter experts are in regular contact with their counterparts in France, Germany and other countries on both a bilateral and multilateral basis to exchange technical information and opinions on many aspects of cybersecurity, including software vulnerabilities. For example, the UK's Government Computer Emergency Response Team (GovCertUK) and Combined Security Incident Response Team (CSIRTUK) are members of the group of European government CERTS (EGC), as are their French and German equivalents.
Complex software will always have vulnerabilities and motivated adversaries will always work to discover and take advantage of them. We take internet security very seriously and we have worked with Microsoft and other suppliers over many years to understand the security of the products used by HMG, including Internet Explorer. There is no evidence that moving from the latest fully patched versions of Internet Explorer to other browsers will make users more secure. Regular software patching and updating will help defend against the latest threats.
Microsoft issued a patch to fix the recent Internet Explorer vulnerability on 21 January. Prior to this, government departments had been issued with a GovCertUK alert on how to deal with this particular incident and to mitigate vulnerabilities in relation to particular versions of IE.
A government user, operating on government systems, such as the Government Secure Intranet (GSi), will benefit from additional security measures, unlikely to be available to the average home computer user. These include tools which actively monitor for evidence of any malicious attacks.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK continues to work for a lasting peace in the Middle East. There is also no reduction in US commitment and we will continue to work closely with it, the Israelis, Palestinians and other partners to find a way into credible negotiations towards a credible peace.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): There is no internationally agreed formal definition of the word "Europe" and the scope of a definition depends on the context on which the word "Europe" is used.
Kazakhstan is a member of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and, in line with other countries in the Central Asia region, it has an institutional relationship with the EU in the form of a partnership and co-operation agreement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the government of Mauritius saying that they will not support the proposed marine protected area for the Chagos archipelago until the issues of sovereignty and resettlement are addressed, Her Majesty's Government will open discussions on those issues with Mauritius. [HL1306]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: Officials from the UK and Mauritius met in January and July 2009. The delegations discussed the latest legal and policy developments relating to the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Both delegations set out their respective positions on sovereignty and the UK also set out how the UK needed to bear in mind its treaty obligations with the US and our ongoing need of BIOT for defence purposes. There was mutual discussion of fishing rights, the environment, continental shelf and future visits to the territory by Chagossians.
We welcome the prospect of further bilateral discussions with the Mauritians on BIOT. However, Government policy remains that they have no doubt about the UK's sovereignty over BIOT but that they will cede the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer needed for defence purposes. And, following the judgment in the House of Lords in October 2008 in the Judicial Review of the 2004 BIOT Orders in Council which upheld the validity of the BIOT (Constitution) Order, the Government's policy remains that no one has a right of abode in BIOT and permission is needed for anyone visiting the territory. The Government are not, therefore, seeking to facilitate the resettlement of the Chagossians on BIOT.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect a full ban on fishing in their proposed marine protected area for the Chagos archipelago would have upon the Mauritian fishing industry; and whether they have agreed to those proposals. [HL1317]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: As set out in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office public consultation document into whether to create a marine protected area in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), the Government recognise that there will be an impact on the international fishing community following the establishment of a marine protected area and any resulting restrictions or a ban on fishing. Only one Mauritian company presently fishes in BIOT waters-on the reefs.
The purpose of the consultation which was launched on 10 November 2009 is to seek views more widely from all stakeholders and interested parties to help the Government assess the right option for the future environmental protection of the territory. The consultation period runs to 12 February 2010 and we are encouraging all with an interest to make their views known.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many empty Ministry of Defence residential properties there are in Cornwall for which there is no immediate operational requirement; and what discussions they have held with local authorities to make them available to local families. [HL1395]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There are currently 91 service family accommodation (SFA) properties in the Newquay area which have been declared surplus to requirements. These properties are to be handed back to Annington Homes Ltd (AHL), the company from which this department leases the majority of SFA in England and Wales, by 30 March 2010.
Where properties are identified as being surplus to requirements, they are handed back to AHL in blocks and AHL then sells or rents them in the commercial market place. The future sale or use of these properties is a matter for AHL. This department has no control over the sale process or to whom AHL sells the houses. However, AHL works closely with local authorities and social landlords to ensure that properties are utilised as affordable housing for local people wherever possible.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has overall responsibility for the security arrangements for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, in accordance with the guarantees given by the then Home Secretary to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2004. I am the Minister with direct responsibility for Olympic security.
This work is being carried forward by the Olympic and Paralympic Security Directorate (OSD), part of the Office for Security and Counterterrorism (OSCT) within the Home Office. The Olympic Security Directorate is accountable to the senior responsible owner (SRO) for the Olympic security programme, who is also based within OSCT. Other bodies such as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) all have major roles and responsibilities in planning and delivering security for the Games.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for the residential accommodation being built for athletes participating in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London after the Games. [HL1296]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Olympic Village has been designed from the outset to provide both accommodation for the athletes during Games time and, after the Games, homes for a new sustainable community, which will be at the heart of a vibrant economic and social hub in east London. Following the Games the Olympic Village will be transformed into 2,818 new homes, 1,379 of which have already been sold to Triathlon to provide affordable housing. The new community will benefit from 10 hectares of parks and open spaces, a new polyclinic and a 1,800-place academy for three to 19 year-olds.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many speed or traffic light cameras in England and Wales have been vandalised in the past 10 years; and how many people have been convicted for those offences. [HL1308]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Unless specified in law, the Ministry of Justice does not centrally hold information that identifies the circumstances of an offence. Therefore, from convictions for offences of criminal damage, it is not possible to separately identify those cases that involved vandalism of speed or traffic light cameras.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the state of the Kenyan judicial system, any Somali pirates in future accused of interference with British registered ships will be brought to trial in the United Kingdom. [HL1304]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK is grateful to Kenya and now also the Seychelles for their action in the prosecution and detention of pirate suspects. The UK shares the view of international partners that a regional solution, including eventually within Somalia, is most appropriate.
The UK, together with the European Commission and others, is supporting work by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime and the International Maritime Organisation to develop judicial and penal systems within the region to enhance their capacity to combat piracy, in line with their commitments under the Djibouti code of conduct.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in stabilising the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands since direct rule was imposed; and what are their forecasts for the islands' budget and balance of trade for the current and next financial years. [HL1266]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): In his first quarterly statement published on 21 November 2009 (turksandcaicosislands.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/nov-statement) the governor outlined a number of actions that the interim Government have taken to stabilise the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands. This includes completing a review of Turks and Caicos Islands' Government financial management practices; steps to implement a wide-ranging stabilisation plan; completing the 2009-10 budget; robust measures to significantly reduce expenditure and bring it closer into line with revenue; and placing high priority on monitoring and strict enforcement of the payment of dues and taxes. Since the statement, a consultation and review of the existing revenue system has been completed, and negotiations with banks near conclusion to refinance liabilities inherited from the previous Administration.
The revised budget figures for 2009-10 are US$142 million for revenues and US$163 million for expenditure. The 2010-11 budget is still in preparation, however, and this deficit is likely to increase during the next fiscal year due to the ongoing impact of the global credit crunch. This means that the Turks and Caicos Islands' economy still faces significant challenges. Work is in hand to explore solutions.
US$150,000 of funds provided by the UK Government for disaster assistance following Hurricane Ike in 2008 have been allocated by the Turks and Caicos Islands Disaster Recovery Board to two projects on the island. A further US$500,000 has been earmarked for another project. Together, these may provide some general, manual employment opportunities.
Lord Brett: Aid provided by the Department for International Development (DfID) to Uganda is conditional on progress in reducing poverty, strengthening financial management and respecting human rights and international obligations. Recent assessments of human rights in Uganda indicate mixed progress. The UK Government, alongside the EU, US, French, Canadian and Swedish Governments, have lobbied intensely against the introduction of new anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda. We are monitoring this situation closely. DfID will continue to take the human rights situation into account when making decisions on funding to Uganda.
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