The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has responded to concerns articulated by the Celtic League about the need for it to honour its commitments on consultation with non governmental organizations (NGOs) in respect of United Nations conventions reporting.
The Celtic League, as an NGO, has pan-jurisdictional representation across the area the United Kingdom government reports on.
The UK has agreed (see below) to include the Celtic League in the future vis a vis consultation. However the MOJ seems to believe that commitments in relation to the dissemination of information are adequately met by the provision of a link on its website.
The League will be reiterating concerns about the priority which the UK gives to treaty information dissemination.
Ref: TO 291325
29 November 2010
Dear Mr Moffatt
United Nations Committe on Economic, Social and Cultural rights
Thank you for your letter of 11 September 2010 to the Secretary of State for Justice about the UK's plans to establish an institutional framework for future cooperation with national human rights institutions and civil society for the UK's sixth periodic report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. I have been asked to reply.
The Ministry of Justice has lead responsibility for reporting to the United Nations on the UK's compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In preparing the UK's 5th periodic report to the Committee that oversees the Covenant we consulted with members of civil society and accepted many of their suggestions on how to improve the report. In March 2009, Ministry of Justice officials met with representatives from various organisations to discuss the content of the report and any issues that were likely to be raised at the UK's examination on 12-13 May 2009. I attach a list of organisations to whom a draft copy of the report was sent in advance of the meeting.
The Government believes that this kind of consultation with civil society enhances the monitoring process and fosters positive working relationships with key human rights stakeholders. However, the Government does not agree that a formal institutional framework is necessary to facilitate consultation. This kind of consultation is a regular feature of Departmental preparations of reports to international bodies. For example, on 22 November the Government Equalities Office held a meeting with members of civil society preparatory to its preparation of the UK's 7th report under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Woman. We will make sure that the Celtic League is added to our list of contacts for future consultations.
Following its 2009 examination of the UK's 5th report, the Committee published its concluding observations on 22 May 2009. In accordance with requests from the Committee to disseminate its Concluding Observations, the Ministry of Justice has placed a link to the Concluding Observations on its website:
I hope you find this information helpful.
Human Rights Division
A list of the members of Civil Society invited to consult on the UK's 5th periodic report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:
1. Committee on the Administration of Justice
2. Penal Reform
3. Amnesty International
4. Children's Rights Alliance for England
5. Prison Reform Trust
6. School of Advanced Study
8. Human Rights watch
9. Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
10. Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People
11. Howard League for Penal Reform
13. Scottish Human Rights Commission
14. British Institute of Human Rights
15. Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People
16. London Met
19. Equality and Human Rights Commission
20. Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
21. Joint Committee on Human Rights
22. UK Council for International Student Affairs
23. National Union of Students
25. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
26. Article 19
27. Peace Brigades
29. UN Association
31. Scottish Law Commission
32. Scottish Women's Convention
34. The Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations
35. Scottish Refugee Council
36. Interfaith Scotland
37. `Bill of Rights NI'
41. Save the Children"
Related link on Celtic News here:
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
TEL (UK) 01624 877918
MOBILE (UK)07624 491609