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South America

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much development aid was paid to the South American continent in (a) 1998, (b) 2000 and (c) 2002; and which country was the main receiver of this aid in each of those years. [102235]

DFID's statistics are available by financial year only. The latest year available is 2001–02. EC statistics are by calendar year.

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) what steps are taken by her Department to hell) parents with abducted children to gain access to their children held abroad; [102239](2) what assessment she has made of her Department's compliance with the recommendations established in Article 21 of the Hague Convention when advising parents who have had their children abducted to make an application for access; how those applications are handled; and what support is provided by her Department to ensure that the applications are successful. [102240]

Article 21 of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention allows applications via the designated Central Authorities for arrangements to secure effective exercise of rights of access. The primary remedy, however, is the return of the child, and applications under Article 21 will generally be deferred until the return application is concluded. I am satisfied that the Child Abduction Unit discharges its functions on behalf of the Lord Chancellor as Central Authority for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in compliance with the requirements of the 1980 Hague Convention. The Child Abduction Unit ensures that all parents who have not obtained the child's return under the return provisions of the Convention, are advised of the possibility of seeking access through Article 21 of the Convention. The Unit will transmit any application made, whether for return of the child or for access rights, to its counterpart in the other country, monitor the case, liaise with all interested parties and assist as necessary. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will also provide appropriate consular assistance. The decision on any application is a matter for the court to which the application is addressed.