Geneva Conventions and United Nations Personnel (Protocols) Bill [ Lords]

Part of Registration of Births and Deaths (Welsh Language) – in the House of Commons at 2:31 pm on 1st April 2009.

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Photo of Adam Holloway Adam Holloway Conservative, Gravesham 2:31 pm, 1st April 2009

I thank my hon. Friend; I sincerely hope that that is the case. I think that everyone in the House wants this to work well. However, there is a possibility of misunderstanding, because the crystal shape is very similar to the markings on maps in operations rooms and to the symbols used on vehicles and in relation to military units. I wish that I had had time to look out some examples, so that I could describe these instances in more detail.

Clause 2 deals with United Nations personnel. The provision obviously reflects the expansion of the UN's work in places such as Rwanda and Bosnia throughout the 1990s. The move to introduce a protocol gained added momentum in 2003 when Iraqi insurgents blew up the UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing 20 people including the special envoy. The expansion of the automatic application of the convention to include peacekeeping operations and emergency humanitarian assistance is obviously very welcome, but will the Minister tell us whether any UN bodies will remain outside the scope of the provision? Emergency humanitarian assistance organisations established by organisations within the UN system and by specialist agencies do not seem to be covered, and I would like some clarification on that.

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