§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (I) if he will introduce legislation to give United Kingdom courts jurisdiction to try British nationals and residents for sexual offences against children abroad; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what measures the British Government are taking to comply with article 34 of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child.
§ Mr. Jack
The Government wholly support the principles set out in the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which we ratified in 1991. Our law against the sexual abuse and exploitation of children is rightly severe.
We have no plans, however, to extend the largely territorial jurisdiction of our courts to deal with offences committed abroad against children; nor is there any requirement for us to do so in order to fulfil our obligations under article 34 of the convention. Where such offences have been committed abroad it is for the country concerned to enforce its own law. We are always ready, however, to assist through extradition and by giving legal assistance under the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990.