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Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 4:34 pm on 13th October 2008.

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Photo of John Hemming John Hemming Liberal Democrat, Birmingham, Yardley 4:34 pm, 13th October 2008

I thank the Minister for giving way on this particular point, because the right of individuals to petition the European Court of Human Rights is very important. In the past couple of months, I have been contacted by the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe—AIRE—centre, which assists people from England and the United Kingdom generally in going to the ECHR. The AIRE centre was concerned that the paperwork necessary for people to petition the European Court was not being provided—I am talking about family law, which the Minister will not be surprised to learn is one of my interests. Is there someone in the Government who would assist a petitioner who is being refused their documentation and thereby being prevented from going to the European Court?

Secondly, although it has signed it, the UK is one of the few countries not to have ratified protocol 4 to the European convention on human rights. That protocol means that one cannot take somebody's passport off them. Is there a reason why the UK continually fails to ratify that protocol? Does the Minister feel that it is acceptable that somebody is banned from leaving the country in that way?

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