HC Deb 19 May 1952 vol 501 cc2-6
4. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the United Nations Covenants on Human Rights now in the course of formulation.

The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

It is the policy of Her Majesty's Government to continue to advocate a Covenant on Civil Rights with precise obligations. With regard to economic and social rights, Her Majesty's Government continue to maintain that these do not lend themselves to embodiment in a precisely drafted international instrument. Nevertheless, their policy is to continue with the majority of nations represented in trying to prepare a Covenant which may serve some useful purpose.

Mr. Shepherd

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that some concern is felt in the United States of America that there is undue desire to drag feet on these proposals? Would he assure the House that it is not part of the intention of Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Lloyd

Any such suggestion is precisely contrary to the facts. So far as the first category of human rights is concerned, we were indeed the pioneers in the matter and have every intention of doing our best to procure such a precise Covenant. As regards the other matters, we still adhere to the view that some of the principles are so vague that it is very difficult to bring them to terms of precise definition; but we are seeking to collaborate with other nations to see if anything can be done to procure a useful Covenant.

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