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Forced Labour

Volume 707: debated on Tuesday 27 January 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ask the United Nations Security Council to hold a session devoted exclusively to worldwide issues concerning slavery and forced labour and their connection to global poverty and the millennium development goals. [HL185]

The Government take the issues of slavery and forced labour seriously and recognise that these continuing violations of human rights present an obstacle to achieving the millennium development goals and tackling world poverty.

The Government pursue the objective of abolition of slavery and forced labour through the appropriate UN organs, notably the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). In September 2007, at the UK's instigation, the Human Rights Council established a new UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.

Under Article 24 of the United Nations Charter, the UN Security Council is conferred with the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is not, therefore, the appropriate forum for discussing slavery and forced labour.