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UN: Convention on Discrimination

Volume 704: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to the observations of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women Committee of 18 July, in particular paragraphs 12, 47, and 48 concerning access to health care and education while female victims of violence have their immigration status determined; and whether their withdrawal of reservations concerning immigration, made in 2004, is relevant to the observations. [HL5417]

The United Kingdom was examined on its 5th and 6th reports to the UN Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 10 July this year. Following this examination, the committee published a set of draft observations which welcomed the UK's adoption of a number of legislative, judicial and administrative measures aimed at promoting gender equality and eliminating discrimination. This document also outlines a number of recommendations. The Government welcome the committee's document.

In accordance with the recommendations made at paragraph 12 of the committee's concluding observations, the Government Equalities Office has disseminated the committee's draft concluding observations to all relevant ministries and is currently drafting an action plan to take forward the recommendations made in the draft report. The Government Equalities Office will implement the plan working with other government departments and the devolved Administrations.

The Government recognise the difficulties that women who are victims of violence and have no recourse to public funds face. We have been working both within the statutory and voluntary sectors to find ways to support women who are victims of violence in line with the recommendations made in paragraphs 47 and 48.

The no recourse to public funds policy is part of a general immigration rule that ensures entitlement to services such as housing and other payments are accessible and that they benefit claimants within the Immigration Rules. The Government have no plans to abolish the no recourse to public funds rule.