§ The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton)
The interdepartmental review of international human rights instruments announced on 7 March 2002 by my noble and learned friend Lord Irvine of Lairg has been concluded.
In the course of the review, the Government have ratified the optional protocol to the United Nations Convention Against Torture; signed and ratified Protocol 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights; ratified the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, relating to children in armed conflict; and extended the European Convention on Human Rights to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Area. We have decided to accept the optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which will help us to assess the effects of individual petition to the UN generally. By accepting the protocol we are also confirming the United Kingdom's commitment to women and equality issues, spearheaded by the Minister for Women, Patricia Hewitt. We will also sign Protocol 7 to the European Convention on Human Rights; ratify Chapters A and B of the Convention on Participation of Foreigners in Public Life; withdraw the general reservation relating to immigration entered under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; and modify the reservation relating to the Throne and the Armed Forces entered under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. Finally we will dispense with a group of reservations now obsolete.44WS
I have placed in the Library a fuller report of the review.