HL Deb 08 November 2004 vol 666 cc55-6WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 25 October (WA 108), why they decided not to accede to the right of individual petition for members of ethnic minorities under the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination. [HL4658]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland)

As I explained in my Answers to the noble Lord on 16 September (WA 201), and on 25 October (WA 108), the Government believe that the practical value to UK citizens of individual petition to the United Nations is unclear. They also have concerns about the levels of cost to public funds if individual petition were used extensively to explore the meaning of the provisions of a treaty. However, they wish to consider the merits of individual petition on a more empirical basis and, to enable them to do that, they have decided to accede to the right of individual petition under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

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