HC Deb 15 July 1963 vol 681 c5
3. Mr. Barnett

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will instruct the British representative in the General Assembly of the United Nations at its next session to seek there the full implementation of the anti-slavery conventions of 1926 and 1956.

Mr. P. Thomas

These conventions do not include provisions for full implementation and enforcement. It remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government, however, that States which have not yet done so should be encouraged to accede to the slavery conventions.

Mr. Barnett

Is the hon. Member aware of the widespread international concern on this subject and on the increase in slave traffic and slavery in the last few years? Will he and his right hon. Friend make some definite proposal in the United Nations, where this concern has been increasing? I am sure he will agree that the record of this country on this subject is unparalleled, and I think that our initiative here would be well received.

Mr. Thomas

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he said and accept that there is widespread concern. We took an initiative at the current session of E.C.O.S.O.C. where we made a proposal that the Secretary-General should appoint a special rapporteur with the task of preparing a comprehensive and up-to-date statement of the extent to which slavery still exists in the world today. This was accepted.

Mr. W. Yates

In view of the close association between the Government and the Sheik of Muscat, will my hon. Friend try to prevail on that Government to allow such representatives as this Commission would like to send to enter the territory to examine the situation of slavery there?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, Sir.