HL Deb 10 April 2001 vol 624 c82WA
Lord Harris of Haringey

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they are taking to ensure that the proposed European Convention on Cybercrime, being promoted by the Council of Europe, contains specific provisions on racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hate messages. [HL1000]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton)

Drafting of the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention was completed in December 2000.

The Government view the dissemination of racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic hate messages very seriously. However, the inclusion of a provision on cyber-racism was not raised until the draft convention was almost completed and it was considered that the detailed consideration required could hamper difficult negotiations on articles that had been in the draft convention for a long time. Furthermore, it appears that the existing United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination already requires State Parties, which include all the participants in the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention negotiations, to criminalise all such conduct irrespective of the medium through which it is committed. The Government are therefore unconvinced that there is a specific need for such an article in the Cybercrime Convention.