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The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Section 69(3)(b) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 states that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission shall advise the Secretary of State of legislative and other measures which ought to be taken to protect human rights on such occasions as the commission thinks appropriate. The Government are satisfied that, in providing advice on this matter, the commission has not gone beyond its remit. The legal basis for war in Iraq was set out in the Attorney-General's Written Answer of 17 March, col. WA3. This remains the Government's view.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Administrations North and South agreed the current logo for the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) and the Joint Secretariat, with titles in English and Irish, in April 2001.
In July 2002 the Joint Secretariat was asked to consult with both administrations on a tri-lingual logo for the council and the secretariat. Work on a revised logo has been completed by officials and will be submitted to the two administrations following the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland.
With the exception of those covered by Schedule 4 to the Ombudsman (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, the actions of the Northern Ireland departments, including those relating to the affairs of the North/South Ministerial Council, are subject to investigation by the ombudsman.
As provided for in Annex 2, Part 7, paragraph 5 of the agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland done on 8 March 1999, contained in Schedule 1 to the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 and Article 8(1) of, and Schedule 2 to, the Ombudsman (Northern Ireland) Order 1996, the North/South Implementation Bodies are subject to investigations by the ombudsman.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister is a fully functioning department of the Northern Ireland administration with a wide range of responsibilities. The strategic objectives of the department include supporting Ministers and the institutions of government; building a programme for government and modernising government programme; and promoting better community relations, a culture of equality and rights, and targeting social need and promoting social inclusion.
During suspension of the devolved institutions the staff who provide direct support and advice to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister have been redeployed to other duties. Otherwise the department continues to discharge functions which have been conferred on it by statute or added to by the Northern Ireland Assembly from time to time. In particular the department is concerned with economic policy issues such as the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative incorporating the Strategic Investment Board, rights and equality issues including the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People as well as the promotion of modernisation and the development of electronic delivery of public services and information.
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister does not have direct responsibility for ensuring that local authorities review their policies to comply with the Human Rights Act. However, the forthcoming joint ODPM/Home Office guidance on managing unauthorised camping will, among other things, remind local authorities of their duties under the Human Rights Act. A victim of an act of a public authority which is not in compliance with the Human Rights Act has a right to bring legal proceedings in connection with the breach.
The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My honourable friend, Mr Rammell, in his reply of 12 December to a question by my honourable friend Derek Wyatt, in another place (Official Report, col. 459W) concerning the FCO's IT systems, promised a further announcement on the FCO's Focus Programme.
We reviewed all the FCO's information and communications technology programmes earlier this year, in the light of the financial constraints we face. Given the relative low priority of the Focus Programme and a substantial increase in its estimated
At the point of cancellation, the FCO had spent in the region of £9.5 million on the Focus Programme. From this expenditure, we will retain a global electronic directory and a facility allowing on-line discussion groups to help cross-departmental team working. The directory will provide the FCO with savings estimated at £2.5 million over the next five years. We will also be using one of the software licences brought as part of the Focus Programme to develop a new FCO intranet. ral
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: In September 2002 the Government issued a licence for the export of military listed components for use by the Canadian contingent of the Stabilisation Force (SFOR). The components are for logistical purposes. They will be used for the specific purpose of repairing palletised load handling system vehicles used for transporting containers.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is subject to an EU arms embargo (imposed by Common Position 96/184/CFSP). The embargo was put in place mainly to ensure the safety of international troops and civilian personnel deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This decision does not affect the Government's continued support for the EU Common Position on arms exports to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The decision was made in accordance with our practice occasionally to make an exemption to our interpretation of the embargo by approving exports of non-lethal military goods to humanitarian, media or peacekeeping organisations where it is clear the embargo was not intended to prevent those exports and there is a strong humanitarian case for them.
Her Majesty's Government fully support the Canadian element of SFOR and recognise their legitimate need for the right tools and reliable vehicles to carry out their job effectively. The decision underlines HMG's continued support for the work being done by SFOR in maintaining security and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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