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

Part of Registration of Births and Deaths (Welsh Language) – in the House of Commons at 4:41 pm on 1st April 2009.

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Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office 4:41 pm, 1st April 2009

It is tempting to answer, but I am afraid that I cannot. I will happily write to the right hon. Gentleman to give him an accurate reply, but I would not describe the red crystal as a logo; it is an emblem of protection, which is certainly how the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies seeks to present it.

A question was asked about the difference between optional and additional protocols. There is no such difference in legal effect. The truth is that the terminology is not always consistent, contrary to what one might like. The word "optional" is used because Governments can decide whether to become party to such a protocol, which commits only those who ratify it.

Further questions were asked about why this is a reserved matter, the extension to the overseas territories and other areas. Such things are, of course, quite normal in the UK legislative framework.

In closing, I ask the House to join me in paying tribute to all those courageous men and women who continue to work under the most difficult and dangerous conditions to save and improve the lives of others. The majority of us have been spared the horrors of war, but for those caught up in conflict, we can only imagine their sense of relief and gratitude for the humanitarian support provided by the UN, the Red Cross, the Red Crescent and the many other organisations that do such work. In passing the Bill, we will make our own small but significant contribution to their efforts. I commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

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