UN Convention against Torture

House of Lords written question – answered on 28th July 2014.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which member states other than the United Kingdom which have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment have failed to declare acceptance of the right of individual petition under Article 22 of the Convention.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will allow the right of individual petition under Article 22 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.

Photo of Lord Faulks Lord Faulks The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

According to the United Nations’ website (http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/Treaty BodyExternal/Treaty.aspx - accessed on 23 July 2014) on the ratification status of the Convention, 65 States (out of 155 States Parties to the Convention) accepted the right of individual petition under Article 22; this suggests that 90 States, listed on the website, have not yet done so. The UK is committed to a strong and effective international human rights system and we are state party to a number of international human rights treaties including the UN Convention Against Torture. The UK Government however remains to be convinced of the added practical value to people in the UK of rights of individual petitions to the UN, considering that the UK has strong and effective laws under which individuals may seek remedies in the courts or in tribunals if they feel that their rights have been breached. To date, the UK's experience under the two optional protocols it has ratified (in 2004 to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and in 2009 to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) has not provided sufficient empirical evidence to establish the practical benefits of becoming a State Party to a further individual petition mechanism to the UN.

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