§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether, in the light of the Human Rights Watch report published on 17 December 2003 Aceh Under Martial Law: Inside the Secret War, they will request the Indonesian authorities to invite the United Nations Human Rights Commission to send a team to Aceh, with a view to making a factual report on the situation to the forthcoming session of the Commission. [HL649]
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
The Government are very concerned about the situation in Aceh and have regularly raised our concerns about 123WA human rights with the Indonesian Government. My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mike O'Brien) last raised this when he met the Secretary General of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 17 December 2003.
On 6 November 2003, together with other members of the Tokyo Group (the EU, US, Japan and World Bank), we called for improved access to Aceh for international agencies and NGOs, and the impact of the people of Aceh to be minimised. On 10 December the Indonesian Government announced that the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross would be allowed access to Aceh for humanitarian purposes. We hope that this will provide an opportunity to obtain clearer information about the situation there.
We are currently discussing with our EU partners which countries will be covered by the EU item 9 Omnibus Statement at this year's Commission on Human Rights, and which should be subject to a resolution. It is thus too early to make any comment on the issue.