HC Deb 17 December 1975 vol 902 c1376
8. Mr. Gould

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans for the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Mr. Ennals

Our signature of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights indicates an intention to ratify in due course, but I am unable to give a date at present.

Mr. Gould

Will my right hon. Friend say why we were able to accept extensive obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, whereas nine years have elapsed without ratification of the United Nations covenants, which place upon us obligations which are no more extensive and whose machinery for enforcement is less precise? Given the number of countries that have ratified those covenants, are we not dragging our feet?

Mr. Ennals

There are two covenants, and they are more widely embracing than are the European equivalents. A major reason for the delay in ratification is that acceptance of the United Nations covenants ties us to our dependent territories. Work has to be done in assessing to what extent the legislation of the dependent territories brings them into line, so that the United Kingdom Government can accept the covenants.

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