HC Deb 03 March 1999 vol 326 cc756-7W
Mr. Derek Twigg

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government expects to announce the outcome of its review of international human rights instruments. [75118]

Mr. Straw

I am placing in the Library a summary of the conclusions of the review.

On 27 January, I signed the Sixth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. We shall also ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, without any reservation to preserve the use of the death penalty in wartime.

We shall ratify International Labour Organisation Convention 111 on discrimination in employment.

We intend to ratify the Seventh Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as soon as Parliament removes inconsistencies in our family law provisions. We will seek a suitable opportunity to propose those changes. We are also considering whether legislation is necessary to enable the United Kingdom to ratify the Fourth Protocol to the ECHR.

We shall look again at the rights of individual petition under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nationals Convention Against Torture and the Union Nations Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination once the Human Rights Act has been fully implemented. We have looked closely at the merits of adopting these additional rights, but have also taken in account the impact on the vital work of preparing for and implementing the Human Rights Act 1998. This is a major piece of legislation that demonstrates our commitment to the advancement of human rights.