Supplementary memorandum from Rt Hon Peter
Hain, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
On 30 January I gave oral evidence to the Foreign
Affairs Committee on the Government's Annual Human Rights Report.
I enclose some further information on a few questions raised by
you, and other members of the Committee, as promised.
(Q.65) Forced Marriage
Referring to the tragic case in Sweden recently,
the Chairman asked if there was much attempt at co-ordination
of EU policies in terms of countries in which forced marriages
are an issue.
A: As the FCO's Annual Report on Human Rights
highlights, the UK is among leaders in Europe in developing a
coherent approach to forced marriage. The FCO Consular Division's
Community Liaison Unit plans to approach the authorities in certain
Scandinavian countries, where forced marriage is a significant
problem and where some work is underway, with a view to sharing
knowledge and expertise. We are keen to pursue international co-operation
wherever appropriate, including further EU co-ordination on this
(Q.52) Handbook on the Prevention of Torture
Greg Pope asked what measures the Foreign Office
was taking to promote the new Turkish translation of the Handbook
on Prevention of Torture.
A: The FCO translated the Torture Reporting
Handbook into Turkish in March 2001. It has been widely promoted
in Turkey and copies have been sent to Turkish government agencies
and NGO's in Turkey. We have distributed over 30,000 copies of
the handbook world-wide in six languages and several thousands
more have been downloaded from the Internet. I enclose a copy
of the Turkish handbook for Mr Pope.
(Q.50) Hong Kong
The Chairman asked about the functioning of
the legal system and safeguarding of human rights in Hong Kong.
A: It is always recognised that the rule
of law in Hong Kong would be key to the success of "One Country,
Two Systems". The principles of independent judicial power
and final adjudication, which are enshrined in the Joint Declaration,
are integral to Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and underpin
confidence in the judicial process there. They are also of paramount
importance to Hong Kong's future success and pre-eminence as an
international business and financial centre. It is clearly important
that these key principles should continue to be upheld in the
We take the view that the continuing exposure
of young Chinese lawyers to UK and Hong Kong legal systems, and
the promotion of legal practice according to Common Law, will
help promote the development of the rule of law in the mainland.
(Q.18) European Convention on Human Rights
Greg Pope asked if any of our European Union
partner countries had derogated from the European Convention on
Human Rights and, if they had not derogated, why did the UK need
A: As I mentioned during the FAC briefing,
we consulted closely with EU colleagues when preparing our derogation.
None of them has derogated so far, and that is a matter for them.
Our decision was based on our own legal and political assessment.
The government judged that the UK was facing a public emergency
and that making provision to detain suspected terrorists who were
a threat to national security, pending our attempts to remove
them, as a necessary and proportionate response to that emergency.
The Government has made clear in the UK and
abroad that the decision to seek a limited derogation from Article
5 of ECHR in no way represents a diminution of its commitment
to international human rights standards.
Rt Hon Peter Hain
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
14 February 2002