§ 23. Mr. Janner
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many nations have now ratified the United Nations Convention relating to genocide; which of our Dominions are included in this number; and what reasons now impel him to refrain from ratifying the Convention.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
Forty-one States have now become parties to the United Nations Convention on Genocide, including Australia, Canada and Ceylon. Accession by Her Majesty's Government to this Convention requires the introduction of legislation; and I am not yet able to say whether and if so when this can be done.
§ Mr. Janner
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that this Convention was actually passed in 1948, at 1742 the instigation of our own representatives at the United Nations? I have asked Questions time after time and, on 30th January, 1952, the Foreign Secretary said:His Majesty's Government hope shortly to reach a decision on this question."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1952; Vol. 495, c. 169.]This is a very important matter, which deals with a horrible crime. Is the Minister prepared to deal with it and, if so, when?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I agree with the hon. Member that this is an important matter, in respect of which this country, by its example, has done very well in the past. There are certain technical difficulties relating to the nature of the legislation required, but I can assure the hon. Member, as I have done before, that I am doing the best I can to see that this legislation is prepared and that an opportunity may be found for a discussion in the House.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Do I understand that the reply to the last part of my hon. Friend's Question is that there is no reason against ratifying except technical difficulties?
§ Mr. Lloyd
We take the view—it may be old-fashioned—that we should not ratify a convention unless we are prepared to carry it out in the spirit and the letter. Carrying this Convention out in the letter means that legislation will have to be introduced. That legislation is, of course, rather complicated; we are doing our best to see that it is prepared, and when it is prepared it will be brought before the House.
§ Mr. Janner
This is a really important matter, otherwise I would not pursue it. It is now five years or more since this legislation was first considered. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us when it is likely to be introduced?