I move amendment No. 2:
In page 4, between lines 11 and 12, to insert the following:
"2.–The State shall, within 6 months from the passing of this Act, ratify or otherwise become a party to the following instruments–
(a) Protocol No. 7 to the European convention, done at Strasbourg on the 22nd day of November, 1984;
(b) the Torture Convention,
(c) The Racial Discrimination Convention;
(d) the European Social Charter (Revised) done at Strasbourg on the 3rd day of May, 1996, and the Additional Protocol to the European Social Charter providing for a system of Collective Complaints, done at Strasbourg on the 9th day of November, 1995.”.
We discussed this amendment on Committee Stage. I have reread the Minister's response and retailored the amendment to meet some of his concerns. I have rescheduled the time frame from two months to six months within which the State shall, from the passing of this particular enactment, ratify or otherwise become a party to the following instruments: Protocol No. 7 to the European convention, done at Strasbourg on 22 November 1984; the Torture Convention, the Racial Discrimination Convention and the European Social Charter (Revised) done at Strasbourg on 3 May 1996, and the additional Protocol to the European Charter providing for a system of Collective Complaints, done at Strasbourg on 9 November 1995. The two changes I have made since Committee Stage are, first, to extend the time from two months to six months, which I hope is adequate time for the Minster to agree that these important enactments should be brought into effect in this State. They all do not require legislation. The Minister went through the various relevant ones in response to a Committee Stage amendment. Second, I have deleted the reference to the minorities convention, since that has subsequently been ratified. The Minister will be aware that these amendments formed part of the Labour Party Private Members' Bill on human rights, which has been on the Order Paper for some time. The purpose of that Bill was to make the European Convention and these other instruments part of domestic law, so that there would be a developed corpus of law.
It is important that we are not only party to international conventions and that we do the right thing at international fora, but also that we take the critical next step and enact such provisions into domestic law or make whatever administrative arrangements or orders as are required to fulfil the obligations we freely enter into. The corpus of domestic law made by our courts sometimes far outreaches some of the international obligations placed on us by these conventions. That is beside the point. It makes it all the more reasonable for us to enact lesser provisions so that we can be listed in international bodies as compliant with the requirements imposed on us in signing up to these conventions in the first instance. I hope the Minister has had the opportunity to reflect further on the arguments I made on Committee Stage and that he is now in a position to accept this amendment.