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

Part of Registration of Births and Deaths (Welsh Language) – in the House of Commons at 2:43 pm on 1st April 2009.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Chair, Procedure Committee 2:43 pm, 1st April 2009

As I expect from my right hon. Friend, that is a telling intervention, and I hope that when the Minister later answers the points that I have raised—should the House give her leave to reply to the debate, which I hope that it will—she will also cover my right hon. Friend's particular point. It is important that those charged with maintaining authorised use of the logo and the words do not go over the top and seek to interfere with perfectly innocent commercial operations that may have been using the words for some considerable time.

My other question to the Minister relates to the use of the new symbol. I asked her in an intervention—now that she has had a bit more time to think about it, perhaps she will reply in her summing up—who will decide where the new symbol is used and where the new phrase "Red Crystal" is implemented? Will it be the British Foreign Office, where British aid workers or British personnel are involved? If so, the Foreign Office will presumably keep a register of sensitive countries that do not like the Red Cross. Will that document be accessible to the public? Will we all be able to know which countries, should any conflict arise therein, will not have a detachment sent there called the Red Cross, but will accept the red crystal? Will that information be available to the public? As two of my hon. Friends have already asked, will there be a new international organisation calling itself red crystal that will actually be used in such situations?

I hope that I have not sounded too much of a discordant note in this debate. There are very real concerns regarding the commercial sector, so I hope that the Minister can satisfy me when she answers the debate later. I hope to hear what she has to say later, but I should perhaps say out of courtesy that I am due to chair a Select Committee in about an hour's time, so I may miss some of the proceedings.

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