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BritainUSA Home > British Foreign Policy
Human Rights

The UK's statements and activities toward improving human rights across the globe.


  • Working to Stop Forced Marriages
    Home Office, London, 7/24/2008
  • Foreign Secretary Statement on the Occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Rome Statute
    FCO, London , 7/17/2008
  • Minister for Europe Jim Murphy Launches FCO Publication Engagement: Public Diplomacy in a Globalized World
    British Embassy, Washington D.C., 7/10/2020
  • Crackdown on Human Traffickers
    Home Office, London, 7/3/2020
  • Statement by Foreign Secretary David Miliband in the Security Council Debate on Post-Conflict Stabilization: Peace after War
    FCO, London, 5/21/2008

  • Click here for more Human Rights news ...

    We believe in the equal worth of every individual and the fact that human rights are not a particular feature for some parts of the world. They actually belong to every individual in every part of the world."
    - Foreign Secretary David Miliband MP  (July 2007)

    Human rights remain at the heart of the foreign policy agenda and the UK works through international forums and bilateral relationships to spread the values of human rights, civil liberties and democracy which we in the UK demand for ourselves.

    As a member of the United Nations it is our obligation to promote: 'the universal respect for, and observance of the human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion'.

    The Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the core international human rights treaties provide the basis for our work.

    The UK works through the UN (and its bodies), international institutions like the EU and with other countries to promote ratification and implementation of these treaties.

    The UK believes that societies that respect and promote human rights will be less vulnerable to conflict and more able to peacefully resolve disputes - lack of respect for human rights is at the heart of many conflicts.

    Effective and sustained post-conflict resolutions need to ensure the human rights of all peoples are respected and promoted - groups such as minorities, women, children and the disabled can be particularly vulnerable.

    The UK is also an elected member of the UN Human Rights Council.

    Annual FCO Human Rights Reports
    The annual report provides an overview of the main challenges to human rights around the world and explains our activities and policies to address those challenges.
    Download the 2007 FCO Human Rights Report. It covers the period from late Aug 2006 - 31 Dec 2007.

    The UK promotes democracy around the world because this form of government is far more likely to prevent conflict:

    • accountable and representative governments are far less likely to resolve disputes by armed conflict;
    • resources are more likely to be fairly managed in society this reduces potential for conflict;
    • human rights and are better respected in democracies this is critical to preventing conflict;
    • elected governments better represent society, including women, the poor, and minorities
      maintaining peace is in the interest of representative governments;
    • citizens have the right to protest and criticise a government without the risk of state punishment; and
    • principles of free-speech and independent media are better protected.

    122 of the world's 194 countries are either electoral democracies or moving towards democracy (2007).

    The UK works with and support a range of international, government and non-government partners to promote democracy around the world. With these partners we:

    • support countries that wants to adopt democracy and effective representation;
    • promote better political institutions, electoral processes, parliaments, civil society, media and political parties; and
    • observe international elections.

    Good Governance
    Good governance is an essential part to preventing conflict because it helps give a country:

    • genuine democracy and participation, representation and accountability;
    • human rights protection;
    • respect for the rule of law and access to a justice framework;
    • an effective civil society in public life;
    • good public administration - public finances and a professional and impartial civil service; and
    • decentralized local government with the participation of local people.

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