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Enforced Disappearance

Volume 696: debated on Wednesday 14 November 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 19 February (WA 239), whether they have now conducted the detailed study of the provisions of the International Covenant for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and with what results; and, whether, if the study has not been completed, they will give an estimate of when the work is likely to be done. [HL101]

The preliminary work necessary to identify any changes required to our law in order to ratify the convention necessarily began when the convention was under negotiation, but it has not yet been possible to progress it further to date. This is a difficult area involving complex and sensitive issues and will take some considerable time to complete.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have now completed the detailed analysis of the provisions of the International Covenant for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; whether they have decided on ratification; and whether, if so, they intend to issue any further interpretative statement or reservation to the Treaty.[HL102]

The Government support the International Covenant for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 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. The preliminary work necessary to identify any changes required to UK law in order to ratify the convention necessarily began when the convention was under negotiation, but it has not yet been possible to progress it further to date. Until this work is complete, we will not be able to determine the UK’s position towards ratification, including whether we would need to make any reservations. At the adoption of the convention at both the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, the UK made an interpretative statement clarifying our understanding of certain provisions, including what constitutes an enforced disappearance, the application of obligations under international humanitarian law and the procedures applicable to the adoption and placement of children found to have resulted from an enforced disappearance. This statement can be found at: www.fco.gov.uk/ukmisgeneva.