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.

Alert me about debates like this

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

Would they not? Forgive me; I could not establish that before the debate. I thank my hon. Friend for that.

There is also some concern about the number of states that are signing up to the provisions, and perhaps the Minister will clarify that. I think that only 79 countries have signed up, out of the UN membership of 191, and that some of the countries in which the UN is operating have not signed up—I understand that only four of the 16 countries in which UN personnel are operating have done so.

Echoing the concern expressed by Lord Howe in another place, I want to ask whether the UN protocol will cover all bodies. Will it, for example, cover the refugee centre in Gaza that my hon. Friend the Member for East Devon and I visited recently? There have been comments about the scope of the previous personnel convention, and it has been suggested that it did not give the amount of cover that it needed to.

How many states are party to the convention on the safety of UN personnel, and how many will be party to the enhancement and extension of it? Also, the new protocol now extends to UN personnel working in more clearly defined circumstances of exceptional risk. That problem has led to complaints by a number of people, including the former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. Now that it will extend beyond the narrower concept of peacekeeping into humanitarian work, how many current operations will be included? There are many such operations in the world at the moment. All reasonable people will wish the measure well and hope that it will have positive effects in the darker corners of the world.

Embed this video

Copy and paste this code on your website