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Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the government of Colombia on the proceedings against Diego Montoya. (196283)

The Government have not made representations to the Colombian government regarding the legal proceedings against Diego Montoya. We understand that the US authorities have issued a warrant to have Mr. Montoya extradited to the US—he was one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 10 most wanted criminals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what monitoring and evaluation of UK support provided to the Colombian military his Department conducts; by what mechanisms such monitoring takes place; and if he will make a statement. (196285)

UK assistance to Colombia, which includes support to a range of civil society organisations, the Colombian Government and the armed forces, is focused on improving the difficult human rights situation, preventing the amount of cocaine from reaching the UK's streets and reducing the threats that landmines pose to the Colombian people.

All British projects in Colombia, as elsewhere, undergo rigorous evaluation before funding is agreed, in areas such as value for money and effectiveness of implementing partners; and carefully monitored whilst projects are under way in terms of proper use of funds, achievement of objectives and outputs. UK staff continually and scrupulously supervise the use of British resources in Colombia to ensure that the highest operational, ethical and human rights standards are maintained in our human rights and counter narcotics work.

We evaluate that UK assistance is having a positive effect on the issues of most concern in Colombia. The UK has played a key role in working to institutionalise respect for human rights in the Colombian armed forces, so that they operate by the same high standards we demand of our own armed forces. Our counter-narcotics work is tightly focused on helping the Colombians tackle drugs production, trafficking organisations and networks. Our training in humanitarian demining has improved the Colombian Government's ability to remove the landmines that illegal armed groups place to harm innocent civilians.