Clause 2 — Amendments of the United Nations Personnel Act 1997

Part of Gangmasters Licensing Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:45 pm on 10th June 2009.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:45 pm, 10th June 2009

I am happy to offer my support for the clause, which is undoubtedly a welcome addition to the existing protocols and the protections conferred by them. My only difficulty is over what the protocol omits. I agreed with Jo Swinson when she said that one would hope to see, at some future stage, this form of protection extended to humanitarian workers for NGOs. I am troubled by the absence in the protocol of a clear definition of peace building and by the opt-out that countries retain under subsection (4) in respect of operations

"to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance"— on their territories—

"in response to natural disaster".

I simply cannot understand the purpose of that opt-out arrangement.

I am also concerned that the provisions in the Bill, resting as they do upon the protocol, appear to exclude from the additional protection regional peacekeeping operations and operations that, although authorised by the United Nations Security Council, are under either national or regional control, rather than direct United Nations control.

I accept that the protocol is the product of prolonged international negotiation—negotiation that must have been difficult. It is better than no protocol at all, but I hope that the Government will show energy in pursuing further work and trying to ensure that the remaining loopholes are closed.

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