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India

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make representations to the Government of India regarding access to Punjab by international human rights groups; [105476](2) what discussions he has had with the Government of India on the date by which it will ratify the United Nations' Convention Against Torture; [105475](3) if he will make representations to the Government of India regarding access to Punjab by the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Torture. [105474]

I discussed India's position regarding the Convention Against Torture (CAT) with Mr. I. D. Swami, the Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs, on 17 October 2002 during my visit to India. We understand that India is planning to start the process of ratifying CAT, although a bill has not yet been brought before the Indian Parliament. We continue to encourage India to ratify CAT.We have made and will continue to make official level representations to the Government of India for greater general access to India of UN Special Rapporteurs and international human rights NGOs. Save in exceptional circumstances, our general policy is not to make state-specific representations. We have in the past carried out project work under the Human Rights Project Fund in co-operation with the Punjabi State Police.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will announce the name of the next British High Commissioner for India. [105647]

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 3 December 2002, Official Report, column 644W.