UK Foreign Secretary launches 2010 Human Rights & Democracy Report

UK’s Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has published Human Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report, available online at

The report is a comprehensive look at human rights work of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) around the world in 2010. It highlights the UK’s human rights concerns on key issues and countries of concern and is a further concrete demonstration of the Foreign Secretary’s commitment to strengthening the FCO’s work on human rights at home and overseas.

Foreign Secretary William Hague at the launch of Human Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report in London, 31 March 2011.

The report is more comprehensive than previous years, is being hosted online to make it much more accessible to the public; the website will include updates every three months to highlight key human rights events and actions that take place in each of the featured countries of concern. The update for the first three months of 2011 will be published today. People will be able to comment on the report and share and host the sections of the report that interest them on their own websites. The report informs the UK Parliament, NGOs and the general public about our work on human rights and enables them to hold us to account for our policy and activities.

Speaking at the launch at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office today, the Foreign Secretary said:
Our government promised from the outset a foreign policy that will always have support for human rights and poverty reduction at its irreducible core. It is not in our character as a nation to have a foreign policy without a conscience, and neither is it in our interests: The belief in political and economic freedom, in human rights and in the rule of law, are part of our national DNA. Where human rights abuses go unchecked our security and our prosperity suffers.”

We have to work with the grain of other societies, while always standing up for universal human rights. This will continue to be our approach. It is one that is fully consistent with our efforts to strengthen links between our economy and those of the emerging economic powers. We have to persuade such governments to change, we have to make the case that it will become ever harder for undemocratic governments to deny their people basic freedoms…The uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrate the huge consequences of suppressing people’s basic and fundamental rights, and are just the start of a process which will no doubt lead to similar demands elsewhere in the world. This is therefore an important hour for these issues.”

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