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European Convention On Human Rights

Volume 13: debated on Thursday 26 November 1981

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asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) what is the Government's policy towards Recommendation 838 (1978) of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly on widening the scope of the European Convention on Human Rights;(2) what is the Government's policy towards the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights in the European Convention on Human Rights;(3) when the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe envisages opening for signature protocol No. 6 incorporating additional civil and political rights in the European Convention on Human Rights;(4) whether the Government are satisfied with the rate of progress of the work of the Council of Europe committees of experts concerned with incorporating additional civil and political rights in the European convention on Human Rights.

Her Majesty's Government support Assembly recommendation 838 (1978) but, as paragraphs 11 and 12 acknowledged might be the case, it is proving difficult in practice to identify additional rights suitable for inclusion in the convention.It may emerge that rights in the economic, social and cultural fields can best be identified for inclusion in the European social charter, a possibility not excluded by the Declaration on Human Rights adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 27 April 1978.Protocal No. 6, incorporating additional civil and political rights into the convention, is still being drafted and it is not possible to predict when it will be opened for signature.The Government are proceeding on the basis that any further rights that it is proposed should be added to the convention, whether they are civil and political or in the economic, social and cultural fields, must be recognised and applied in the various domestic legal systems of council of Europe member countries. If they are not so recognised and applied, the Government believe that the current credibility and successful operation of the human rights machinery in Strasbourg could be jeopardized. For these reasons the Government consider that work concerning the identification and incorporation of additional rights into the convention should proceed with due deliberation so as to avoid a situation where wide-ranging consequences might flow which might damage the present' system.