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Human Rights

Volume 707: debated on Monday 2 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their non-ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families is compatible with their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998. [HL642]

The Human Rights Act 1998 enshrines in national law the human rights established under the European Convention on Human Rights and other international human rights treaties.

The Human Rights Act provides protection to the human rights of everyone in the UK, including migrants. There is no incompatibility between having these rights in national law and not ratifying the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. No EU member state has ratified the convention.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the obligations of the United Kingdom under Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights where the European Court of Human Rights issues an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. [HL782]

The Government have undertaken, in Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights, not to hinder in any way the effective exercise of the right of individual application to the court. The failure of a contracting state to comply with a measure indicated under Rule 39 may entail a breach of Article 34 of the convention. It is the Government's policy to comply with Rule 39 measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights as a matter of course where they are able to do so.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions they have not complied with a decision on interim measures handed down by the European Court of Human Rights. [HL784]

It is the Government’s policy to comply with Rule 39 measures indicated by the European Court of Human Rights as a matter of course where they are able to do so.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of two occasions since February 2005 on which the UK has failed to comply with Rule 39 measures indicated by the court. On the first occasion, in May 2008, the measure (requiring the Government not to remove an individual to China) was communicated to the Government less than half an hour before the plane upon which the applicant was to be removed was due to take off and there was insufficient time to give effect to the measure.

The second occasion occurred on 31 December 2008, when the Government took the view that, exceptionally, they could not comply with the measure indicated by the court (not to remove or transfer two individuals in Iraq from the custody of the UK Government). In the wholly exceptional circumstances of that case, and in particular given that continued detention of the individuals would have been unlawful, the Government took the view there was no lawful option other than transfer to the Iraqi authorities.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken account of the decisions of the South African Constitutional Court in Minister of Home Affairs v NICRO (2005 (3) SA 280 (CC)) and the High Court of Australia in Roach v Electoral Commissioner and Commonwealth of Australia (2007 HCA 43) in considering how to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v UK. [HL978]

Her Majesty’s Government are mindful of the judgments in South Africa and Australia, as well as legal challenges which have been brought in other jurisdictions on the issue of prisoners’ voting rights. However, we must arrive at a solution that is best for the UK, and, to that end, the Government remain committed to carrying out a second public consultation.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 protect United Kingdom residents and British National (Overseas) passport holders who are not British citizens; whether there are exceptions to any protections given; and, if so, what they are. [HL1078]

The European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act apply to all people within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom, but only when they are within its jurisdiction. If they are, there are no exceptions to the protections they give.