|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As EU Presidency, the UK issued a declaration on behalf of the European Union on 13 May expressing shock and dismay at the shooting of Mr. Akin Birdal, condemning this cowardly attack on the Chairman of the Human Rights Association, and strongly supporting statements by the Turkish authorities that every effort would be made to bring to justice those responsible.
The Foreign Secretary made clear the importance we attach to the proper protection of human rights during his visit to Ankara on 19 May. He took the opportunity to visit Mr. Birdal in hospital to emphasise our support for the work of the Human Rights Association. We urge the Turkish authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks on Mr. Birdal and other members of the Human Rights Association.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government believe a lasting solution to this tragic conflict can only be reached through a political settlement. We have said publicly that we stand ready to help in the resolution of the conflict if both sides ask us to play a role.
What presentations they are making to the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and of Republika Serbska to bring the remaining 52 persons publicly indicted for serious war crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in conformity with United Nations Security Council Resolution 827.[HL1949]
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government attach the highest priority to seeing all those who have been indicted for war crimes face trial in The Hague. The primary responsibility for bringing the remaining 32 war crimes indictees to justice lies with the parties to the Dayton Peace Agreement themselves. We shall continue to press them to fulfil this, and all other, Dayton obligations. However, the international community has also shown its willingness to act where others do not. The action in April by British SFOR troops to detain a further two indictees in Prijedor is the latest reaffirmation of this commitment.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Royal Gibraltar police recorded 194 incursions by Spanish fishing vessels over the period May 1997 to April 1998. 153 of these incursions have taken place this year. Royal Gibraltar Police policy is to request such vessels to leave Gibraltar waters, and, in particularly serious cases, to arrest offenders.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer my noble friend to the answer I gave on 12 January (Official Report, WA 124). Her Majesty's Government believe that international co-operation against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is extremely important and should be strengthened wherever possible.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Foreign Secretary, in his speech on 23 April, paid tribute to the work of the intelligence agencies in a number of areas. He also said that the results of the intelligence agencies' work cannot speak for themselves, and that we cannot proclaim their achievements if we want them to remain effective.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): The Secretary of State granted temporary release to four prisoners to attend a Sinn Fein conference to discuss the Belfast Agreement on 9 May. The release of those prisoners was a matter of concern and hurt to many members of the public and the Secretary of State has said that releases will not be granted for such purposes in the future.
Lord Dubs: For the immediate future, Government will be continuing with their extensive range of economic development measures; measures aimed at the promotion of investment and employment in County Armagh as elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
(ii) the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU) assisted some 110 new businesses in 1997-98;
(iii) through its local offices in Lurgan, Portadown and Armagh, the Training and Employment
(iv) since 1989 over £7.7 million has been provided by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board for tourism projects;
(v) since 1991 total investment of £7.225 million in community initiatives has been supported by the Department of Agriculture under the Rural Development Programme.
Lord Dubs: In his report Sir Kenneth Bloomfield records that those killed or injured in the cause of their public duty should be given special consideration. Although this does not form one of the recommendations, the report as a whole is being studied and further consultation will take place before any action is taken. In addition to any action taken on the Bloomfield Report £4.5 million has been made available to fund a Police Federation initiative under the police retraining and rehabilitation trust.
Lord Dubs: The Good Friday Agreement provides for the establishment of the independent Commission on Policing and states that it will be asked to consult widely. The Government expect that the Commission will include the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the Police Authority and the three police staff associations in its consultations. The Chief Constable, Chairman of the Police Authority and Police Federation have already indicated that they will be making submissions to the Commission. The Good Friday Agreement also provides that the Secretary of State will consult the political parties and the Irish Government on the independent Commission's proposals. She will of course also consult the RUC, the Police Authority and the three police staff associations. In addition, changes where appropriate will be subject to the normal negotiating and consultation mechanisms.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|