Skip to main content

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent progress has been made towards ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and if he will make a statement. (290830)

The International Convention will be an important tool for preventing enforced disappearance and secret detention in the future. The UK was active throughout the negotiations to draft the convention, and we supported its adoption last year at both the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

It is however the long-standing practice of the UK not to sign international treaties unless we have a firm and realistic intention to ratify within a reasonable time-frame.

The Government have therefore been conducting a detailed analysis of the provisions of the convention. This has included analysis of the need to replicate common law provisions in statute law and to create one or more specific new criminal offences, as well as consideration of the need for any reservations or declarations upon ratification. It is now clear that a potentially substantial volume of primary legislation will be necessary to give effect to certain provisions of the convention before the United Kingdom can ratify it. Given that this will require preparation and then parliamentary time, it is not currently possible to set a timetable.