2 Human rights policy at the FCO since
new Government's approach
7. The priorities for the FCO announced in summer
2010 by the new Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon William Hague MP, did
not include an explicit reference to human rights. In this respect,
Mr Hague's priorities did not differ from the "Strategic
Framework" for the FCO announced by his predecessor, Rt Hon
David Miliband MP, in January 2008.
Mr Hague's three priorities for the FCO were to "safeguard
Britain's national security [...], build Britain's prosperity
[...] and support British nationals around the world", as
part of "an active and activist foreign policy, working with
other countries and strengthening the rules-based international
system in support of our values".
In the Government's first months in office, the most notable aspects
of its foreign policy were its declared wish to build strengthened
bilateral relationships with emerging powers outside the traditional
Euro-Atlantic area, and the increased emphasis it was giving to
commercial interests in the UK's foreign relations (see Chapter
3). However, in his first major speech as Foreign Secretary, to
the FCO on 1 July 2010, Mr Hague declared that "our foreign
policy should always have consistent support for human rights
and poverty reduction at its irreducible core".
8. Mr Hague set out his approach to human rights
work more fully in a speech entitled "Britain's values in
a networked world", delivered at Lincoln's Inn in September
2010. Mr Hague said that:
Some people may be concerned that [the Government's]
clear focus on security and prosperity means that we will attach
less importance as a Government to human rights, to poverty reduction
and to the upholding of international law. The purpose of this
speech is to say that far from giving less importance to these
things, we see them as essential to and indivisible from our foreign
policy objectives. There will be no downgrading of human rights
under this Government and no resiling from our commitments to
aid and development. Indeed I intend to improve and strengthen
our human rights work [...] These and other values are part of
our national DNA and will be woven deeply into the decision-making
processes of our foreign policy at every stage. 
9. Mr Hague commended what he saw as a number of
achievements by the previous Government in the human rights field,
including "the humanitarian interventions in the Balkans
and Sierra Leone, the campaign to decouple the diamond trade from
conflict in Africa, and agreement to limit the global use of landmines
and cluster munitions". However, he distanced himself from
the previous Government's "ethical foreign policy approach",
which he characterised as having proved to be "misguided
in application and based on flawed thinking" and marked by
"sweeping generalisations". Mr Hague promised a "more
realistic" approach. He went on:
We understand that idealism in foreign policy
always needs to be tempered with realism. We have a liberal-conservative
outlook that says that change, however desirable, can rarely be
imposed on other countries, and that our ability to do so is likely
to diminish with time. We know that we have to promote our values
with conviction and determination but in ways that are suited
to the grain of the other societies we are dealing with, particularly
in fragile or post-conflict states.
10. Giving evidence to us, Jeremy Browne MP, Minister
of State at the FCO with responsibility for human rights, likewise
stressed the limits to the UK Government's influence over other
countries' human rights practices.
11. Kate Allen of Amnesty noted "some differences"
between the previous and current Governments, but overall judged
that the Government was "approaching human rights in its
foreign policy in approximately the same way" as its predecessor.
Apart from the prominence the Government was giving to trade interests,
David Mepham of Human Rights Watch similarly did not see any "huge
conceptual shift" compared to its predecessor.
12. We conclude that support for human rights
overseas has become an established element in statements of UK
foreign policy under successive governments. We welcome the Government's
stated commitment to the promotion of human rights overseas as
one of its central foreign policy objectives, and we commend the
work that the FCO does to further this aim. We recommend that
the Government demonstrates this commitment in its foreign policy
13. The first version of the FCO Business Plan for
2011-15, published in November 2010, committed the department
to devising a strategy to enhance "the impact of the UK's
promotion of human rights", as part of a wider strategy to
enhance the impact of several tools of UK 'soft power'. The Business
Plan stated that the overall strategy would be completed by March
2011. The FCO's monthly
report against its Business Plan for March 2011 said that, as
regards the human rights element of the plan, the work was complete.
However, the revised version of the 2011-15 Business Plan which
was published in May 2011 moved the completion date for the overall
project to the end of the year.
FCO Minister of State Lord Howell told the House of Lords on 28
April that the project had been delayed by the outbreak of the
various overseas crises with which the FCO had had to deal in
the first part of 2011. Lord Howell also told the Lords that the
Government did not plan to publish the new 'soft power' strategy.
14. We recommend that, in its response to this
Report, the FCO explain why it does not plan to publish the forthcoming
strategypromised in its 2011-15 Business Planto
enhance the impact of various tools of UK 'soft power', including
the promotion of human rights. We further recommend that it should
LESSONS LEARNED? MIDDLE EAST/NORTH
AFRICA AND CHINA
15. Our witnesses highlighted two major areas where
they suggested that there were questions about the appropriateness
of the FCO's past approach on human rightsthe Middle East
and North Africa, and China.
Middle East and North Africa
16. We conducted our inquiry in the midst of the
2011 'Arab Spring', the wave of popular mobilisation for economic
opportunity and political democratisation and liberalisation seen
in many Arab states in the Middle East and North Africa. The FCO
Report dealt with events in 2010 and the very start of 2011,
andas regards these countrieshad been largely overtaken
by events by the time it was published.
Following the outbreak of the 'Arab Spring', the UK Government
put itself at the head of international support for reform and
liberalisation in the region. In March, the Foreign Secretary
declared the 'Arab Spring' to be "a historic shift of massive
importance" and "the most important development of the
early 21st century".
Amnesty stated that the developments in the region had prompted
the Government to become "more assertive in articulating
the importance of upholding the rights to freedom of expression
and freedom of association".
17. Our witnesses also argued that the outbreak of
demands for change, and the response of those regimes repressing
opposition, had exposed shortcomings in the Government's previous
approachnamely that it had failed to give sufficient attention
to poor human rights standards in many Arab states. For example,
Human Rights Watch stated that the Government appeared to have
been "too willing to give [Libya] the benefit of the doubt".
More broadly, Kate Allen said: "We knew and Governments knew
what was happening in those regions. We knew that those governments
were totally indifferent to the human rights of their people,
and that they abused those human rights on a regular basis for
many years". Ms Allen concluded that the 'Arab Spring' held
"some real lessons for foreign policy".
18. Witnesses regarded the consistency of the Government's
approach between different countries as a particular issue in
the Middle East and North Africa, and one having resonance beyond
that region. Of countries in the region, the FCO Report
identified Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,
Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen as "countries of concern"
(see paragraphs 48-57). Human Rights Watch argued that Bahrain
was a "glaring omission" from the list, on the grounds
that "serious human rights abuses existed before 2011"
and a "noticeable crackdown" had began already in August
2010. In relation
to Saudi Arabia, Human Rights Watch charged that:
the UK's traditional quiet diplomacy towards
the Saudis creates the justified impression of a double standard
in UK human rights policy, given frequent and public denunciations
of similar violations in, for example, Iran. [...] it creates
doubt among Saudi activists and the international human rights
community as to the seriousness with which the UK Government is
pursuing its human rights goals towards Saudi Arabia. [...] the
UK Government should be more assertive and public about its human
rights concerns in Saudi Arabia.
19. Sir Emyr Jones Parry, former UK Permanent Representative
to the UN, writing to us in his current capacity as Chairman of
the Board of Trustees of REDRESS (the NGO that works on behalf
of torture survivors), criticised the FCO Report for its
relatively mild treatment of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain specifically
as regards torture. Sir Emyr said that the passage on torture
in the report's "country of concern" section on Saudi
Arabia was "muted and not contextualised"; and that
the omission of Bahrain from the list of "countries of concern"
was "unfortunate, given the history of torture there and
the close links between Bahrain and the UK". Sir Emyr highlighted
the fact that British nationals had been tortured in Saudi Arabia,
and that a dual UK-Bahraini national appeared to have been tortured
in Bahrain. Sir Emyr said:
Egypt has demonstrated how the West failed to
be sufficiently robust on values and rights, and tolerated policies
and practices which it has taken the courage of the people of
Egypt to bring us closer to ending [...] Silence, defended by
discrete diplomatic pressure to make clear British opposition
to torture, fails to put us publicly on the right side of the
argument and has demonstrably not produced improvements within
the countries concerned.
20. In February 2011, speaking to the National Assembly
of Kuwait, the Prime Minister acknowledged that, in the past,
British governments in their policy towards Middle Eastern countries
had sometimes chosen to pursue what they perceived to be British
"interests" rather than British "values":
For decades, some have argued that stability
required highly controlling regimes, and that reform and openness
would put that stability at risk. So, the argument went, countries
like Britain faced a choice between our interests and our values.
And to be honest, we should acknowledge that sometimes we have
made such calculations in the past. But I say that is a false
21. We conclude that the events of the 'Arab Spring'
should stand as a reminder to the FCO that failing to take a stronger
and more consistent stance against human rights violations by
overseas regimes can carry risks for the UK. In particular, any
suggestion that the FCO downplays criticism of human rights abuses
in countries with which the UK has close political and commercial
links is damaging to the UK's reputation, and undermines the department's
overall work in promoting human rights overseas. We recommend
that the FCO takes a more robust and significantly more consistent
position on human rights violations throughout North Africa and
the Middle East.
22. The previous Government pursued a policy of 'constructive
engagement' with China, including through a formal human rights
dialogue at official and expert level. The current Government
is persisting with the dialogue, as part of a "three-pronged
approach to [...] engagement on human rights with China".
The 19th round of the dialogue was held in January 2011. The other
two elements of the approach are high-level lobbying, and the
funding of human rights projects with Chinese official and NGO
23. Our predecessor Committee was consistently sceptical
about the then Government's approach, and particularly about the
value of the formal dialogue. In its last human rights report,
published in 2009, it concluded that there "remain[ed] little
evidence that the British Government's policy of constructive
dialogue with China [had] led to any significant improvements
in the human rights situation".
24. Witnesses to our current inquiry continued to
doubt the value of the formal dialogue. Kate Allen said:
over those 19 roundswhich is now well
over a decadeit has certainly never been clear to us at
Amnesty that any progress has been achieved. It is not clear to
us what the Foreign Office is trying to achieve in that dialogue.
[...] it feels to me as if perhaps even the Foreign Office has
forgotten what it is trying to achieve [...] because it doesn't
seem to us that there are any improvements we can look to.
The International Campaign for Tibet said that it
concerned that these annual dialogues have become
a familiar ritual that ultimately are not resulting in positive
change on the ground. They can even be counter-productive in that
they allow the Chinese government to claim an 'achievement' on
human rights when in fact no progress has been made.
25. Witnesses criticised the dialogue in particular
because of its lack of transparency and because it was conducted
in private, in contrast to more public criticism of China's human
rights practice by UK Government figures. Whether private engagement
and a less strident public approach is a more effective means
of securing human rights progress, or simply more politically
palatable to the UK's interlocutors, is an issue which arises
with other countries as well as Chinasuch as Saudi Arabia,
for example. David Mepham told us that Chinese human rights defenders
were calling for the West to engage in more outspoken public criticism
of the Chinese regime. He also said that international publicity
tended to improve the treatment of those being persecuted.
Kate Allen told us that "private conversation is changing
nothing and the Government need to think about different ways
of challenging the Chinese Government".
26. Jeremy Browne acknowledged that the human rights
situation in China was in some respects deteriorating. He told
us that he had seen reports that the crackdown there was "at
its most intense and draconian levels since Tiananmen Square 22
The FCO Report stated that "there was no significant
progress on civil and political rights in China in 2010 and in
some areas there were negative developments".
However, the Minister defended the Government's approach, including
its mix of public and private engagement. He argued that one form
of engagement might prove to be effective in one case, and another
in another; and said that he had been advised that "megaphone
chastisement" might quite often have the opposite effect
to that desired.
27. It is difficult for us to support the Government's
approach to human rights engagement with China in the continuing
absence of any evidence that it is yielding results, and when
the human rights situation in China appears to be deteriorating.
We recommend that in its response to this Report the Government
set out any hard evidence it has that its current approach is
effective. We further recommend that it engages in more explicit,
hard-hitting and consistent public criticisms of human rights
abuses in China.
The 2010 FCO Human Rights and
Continued production of the
28. After we decided in July 2010 to conduct an annual
human rights inquiry, we wrote to the Foreign Secretary to ask
whether the FCO under his leadership would continue to publish
an annual human rights report. In his reply, dated 19 August 2010,
Mr Hague said that he would be "giving this matter careful
consideration". He went on: "In the current financial
climate, and in light of the recent freeze on all marketing and
advertising activity, we need to look carefully at both the need
for a formal report and options for presenting that information,
including, perhaps, greater use of on-line resources".
29. On 22 August, it was reported that "civil
servants [had] been told to stop working on the next edition of
the FCO Annual Report on Human Rights". The reported move
was criticised by human rights NGOs and some MPs as signalling
a downgrading in the importance being given to human rights at
the FCO, particularly as compared to commercial work (see Chapter
30. On 23 August, the Foreign Secretary was quoted
in the press as saying that the FCO was considering how the report
could "most effectively be produced in the current financial
climate", as compared to the "expensive glossy colour
publications of the past".
On 31 August, Mr Hague published an article in which he said that
there would continue to be an annual FCO human rights report to
Parliament, as well as efforts to improve the FCO's reporting
on human rights worldwide so as to make it more accessible to
Giving evidence to us on 8 September, as part of our rolling
inquiry into Developments in UK foreign policy, Mr Hague
confirmed that the FCO would continue to publish an annual human
31. While they had criticisms of the report (as in
previous years), our witnesses all valued the document and welcomed
its continued publication. For example, Kate Allen said that it
was something Amnesty "value[d] enormously" and for
which it had "real respect".
32. We welcome the FCO's decision to continue
producing an annual human rights report.
33. As intimated by the Foreign Secretary in summer
2010, the 2010 FCO Report differed from those of immediately
preceding years in being a plain, text-only document, with no
photographs or colour printing. The FCO told us that producing
the report cost £14,835, of which printing costs for 500
hard copies were £5,249. This compared to a cost of £28,910
for the 2009 report, a saving of nearly 50%.
34. To a much greater extent than was the case for
earlier reports, the FCO intends the 2010 report to be used as
an online resource, rather than a hard-copy document. To coincide
with publication of the report, the FCO launched a revamped human
rights section of its website. The report is hosted there not
only as a complete document but also in sections, which can be
accessed directly through links from the main page, and which
are individually searchable. The FCO is facilitating the sharing
of the report through social networking and other websites. The
FCO is also due to update every quarter the online version of
the "countries of concern" section of the report (see
paragraph 53). According to the FCO website, the department switched
to an "'online first' approach" for the report because
it wanted to make it "more visible, accessible and easy to
distribute", and to "reach a large and engaged online
our witnesses, the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs
Council welcomed the FCO's decision to publish the report in both
hard copy and online form, suggesting that the former provided
"a more secure continuing archive" and the latter greater
35. Presumably in reflection of the fact that the
2010 report is designed to be used primarily as an online resource,
it has no chapter or section markings on each page, and no index.
Amnesty said that the formatting of the report was "less
clear [...] and its content consequently less accessible"
than in the past.
36. The FCO also invited online comment on the report,
"after some discussion". According to the FCO website,
"this gives stakeholders and the public a direct route to
leave feedback for policymakers. It also upholds our values of
supporting democracy and freedom of expression, and supports our
Jeremy Browne responded to a number of the posted comments in
an online video on the FCO website in April.
The FCO told us that:
FCO officials monitor the comments and publish
those that comply with our moderation policy. So far, we have
received many thoughtful public comments and questions on a wide
range of areas including: the selection of countries of concern;
the benefits of the report; religious freedom; lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender issues; and countries including Bahrain, Cuba,
Zimbabwe, Syria and Eritrea. Periodically, we respond to selected
questions submitted via the site to provide accurate information
and engage with our stakeholders. Where appropriate, the relevant
policy teams may use this feedback as part of their policy making
process, as well as examining the comments for new information.
37. We conclude that the FCO's decision to switch
to a plain, text-only format for the hard copy of its annual human
rights report was justified. We welcome the savings in printing
costs achieved in this way. We recommend that the FCO restore
the index, to ensure that the hard copy is easily useable as a
PURPOSE AND CONTENT
38. The 2010 FCO Report is over 100,000 words
longlonger than its predecessor.
It contains seven sections: "Promoting British Values";
"Human Rights and National Security"; "Human Rights
in Promoting Britain's Prosperity"; "Human Rights for
British Nationals Overseas"; "Working through a Rules-based
International System"; "Promoting Human Rights in the
Overseas Territories"; and "Human Rights in Countries
of Concern". A copy of the report was sent to all foreign
governments via UK posts overseas.
39. Statements by the FCO and by our witnesses suggested
that the annual human rights report is seen as having a number
of different functions. The report may be seen as:
- a public report of the FCO's
human rights work, for the purposes of public and parliamentary
- a source of information for the public about
human rights worldwide;
- a document used internally, as a basis for the
FCO's own work in the forthcoming year;
- a policy instrument in its own right, inasmuch
as it acts as a spur to action by foreign states with human rights
shortcomings highlighted in the report. This may occur either
through positive engagement with the report, as Jeremy Browne
told us had taken place in exchanges with the Colombian Ambassador
to London, or as
a result of the public 'shaming' involved in being criticised
in the document.
40. As regards the overall content of the report,
the suggestion we heard most frequently was that it should be
tied more closely to the FCO's human rights objectivesthat
is, that the report should set out more clearly the specific goals
of FCO human rights work in the given year, why these were selected,
how the FCO pursued them and the reasons for its choice of methods,
the extent to which they were achieved, and any lessons learned
for the future. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the Church of
England's Mission and Public Affairs Council all made proposals
along these lines.
Our witnesses felt that this would make the report more useful
both inside and outside the department, above all in terms of
41. As regards the FCO's human rights objectives
in particular countries, the Minister told us that the Country
Business Plans which set out the planned work of FCO overseas
posts include such objectives where relevant.
42. We recommend that the FCO's annual human rights
report set out more clearly the department's key objectives for
its human rights work in the coming year, along with the rationale
for their identification and the means by which the department
proposes to pursue them. We further recommend that the report
include a section reflecting on the extent to which the department
achieved its objectives for the preceding year and on explanations
for its success or otherwise. We do not wish this recommendation
either to result in the FCO giving undue weight to human rights
objectives that can be easily measured, or to generate additional
data-collection requirements for the department. We recommend
that, at least as regards the FCO's bilateral work, a single list
of the human rights objectives set out in the Country Business
Plans for states identified as "countries of concern"
should be compiled.
43. Kate Allen noted critically that the 2010 FCO
Report, like its immediate predecessors, did not set out in
consolidated fashion the human rights projects which the FCO was
supporting with programme funding.
The report published in 2006 was the last to include this information.
44. We recommend that the FCO's annual human rights
report once again include a consolidated list of human rights
projects in receipt of FCO programme funding during the year in
question, so as to facilitate access to information and thus further
strengthen the report's role in ensuring accountability.
45. Human Rights Watch recommended that the annual
human rights report become an all-of-Government publication, rather
than an FCO-only one. It argued that the work of departments other
than the FCO had "very significant" implications for
human rights overseas, and that the report in its current form
did not reflect this. Human Rights Watch suggested that this left
a gap in terms of assessing the overseas human rights impact of
the Government's actions overall.
In this context, we note that the first two annual human rights
reports, published in 1998 and 1999, were joint publications between
the FCO and the Department for International Development (DFID),
with joint forwards by the then Secretaries of State.
46. Jeremy Browne put forward two arguments against
making the human rights report an all-of-Government publication:
- The report in its current form
was "the Foreign Office holding itself to account for the
foreign policy-led work that the Foreign Office does on human
rights", whereas, if the report became the joint responsibility
of all departments, there would be a loss of accountability: "there
is a danger that if the report is 'owned' by everybody, it is
owned by nobody".
- Producing an all-of-Government report would be
a more cumbersome and time-consuming process.
47. We recommend that the annual human rights
report remain an FCO-only publication, in order to maintain a
clear mechanism of accountability for the department's human rights
work. However, we further recommend that the report devote greater
attention to setting out areas of FCO co-operation with other
departments on overseas human rights matters. We regard this as
especially appropriate given the department's lead responsibility,
under its Business Plan, for the strategy to enhance the impact
of the UK's promotion of human rights overall.
IDENTIFYING "COUNTRIES OF CONCERN"
48. The FCO's human rights report has since 2005
identified specific "countries of concern", and contained
detailed reporting on the human rights situation in those countries.
The 2010 FCO Report identified 26 "countries of concern";
coverage of them accounted for around two-thirds of the report.
All 22 of the countries identified in the 2009 report remained
on the 2010 list, namely: Afghanistan, Belarus, Burma, China,
Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Israel
and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, North Korea, Pakistan,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The additions in 2010 were Chad,
Eritrea, Libya and Yemen.
49. The choice of "countries of concern"
in each year's report tends to generate controversy. Online comments
on the 2010 FCO Report (to which Jeremy Browne responded
in his video message on the FCO website) included queries about
the absence of Bahrain, India, Malawi and Swaziland from the list.
As we noted in paragraph 18, Human Rights Watch told us that Bahrain
was a "glaring omission" from the selection.
Human Rights Watch also said that Ethiopia and Rwanda should also
have been included, not only because of the seriousness of the
human rights concerns in those countries but also because of the
UK's status as a major development assistance donor to them, potentially
giving the UK some leverage over their human rights practices.
Kate Allen similarly wanted to see Ethiopia on the list, along
with Egypt and India, on the grounds that the UK had (or had sought)
formal or less formal assurances from these states about the treatment
of individuals being deported or extradited.
We received written submissions expressing concerns about human
rights issues in some other countries not on the FCO's list, in
particular Bangladesh and Thailand.
50. The list of "countries of concern"
has grown from 20 countries identified in 2005 to 26 in 2010.
Only two states have ever been removed from the list: Indonesia
in 2006 and Nepal in 2009. Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Syria
were all added between 2006 and 2009. While criticising the omission
of some states from the 2010 list, David Mepham also recognised
"an argument for digging a bit deeper into fewer countries".
Jeremy Browne also suggested that the FCO felt a need to balance
the inclusion of more countries against the risk that this would
dilute the focus on those included.
51. The FCO has stated repeatedly that the list is
not an exhaustive one of all the states where the department has
serious human rights concerns.
Rather, in compiling the list, the FCO said that it
also considered whether the country had been
the target of a high level of UK engagement on human rights in
2010, and whether it would be likely to effect positive change
in the wider region if their human rights record improved. [...]
The reports in this section are [...] designed to provide an insight
into some of the key concerns and actions of the FCO.
In addition, Jeremy Browne noted that some of the
"countries of concern" were "fairly self-selecting".
Overall, he did not think that the list could be drawn up on the
basis of "coldly objective criteria".
52. The Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs
Council recommended that the annual human rights report cover
every country. The Council noted approvingly that this was the
practice of the US State Department, in that body's annual human
rights report. In the US case, reporting on the human rights situation
in all UN Member States is a statutory requirement, placed on
the State Department by Congress.
The Mission and Public Affairs Council suggested that a shift
to broader coverage in the FCO report might be enabled by the
shift to online publishing.
53. Following publication of the 2010 report, the
FCO is for the first time to publish online updates of the "countries
of concern" section on a quarterly basis. The update for
January-March 2011 was posted on 31 March, concurrently with publication
of the report. When we finalised this Report in mid-July 2011,
the update for April-June had not yet been posted. The Foreign
Secretary has said that the FCO's new approach "will be a
welcome improvement in the regularity of human rights reporting".
54. We recommend that the FCO continue to include
a section in its annual human rights report covering selected
individual countries in detail. While we agree with the Minister
that some countries' inclusion is probably self-evident (namely
that of the most egregious human rights abusers), we recommend
that the FCO explain much more clearly the criteria adopted and
the decision-making process employed in arriving at the annual
selection of "countries of concern". In particular,
we recommend that the FCO indicate the extent to which countries
have been included because they have been a particular focus of
FCO and/or UK Government action. We further recommend that the
FCO include countries where human rights standards have improved
markedly over the preceding year, particularly if the FCO was
active in encouraging the improvements.
55. We welcome the initiation of quarterly online
updates of the "countries of concern" section of the
annual human rights report.
56. While we do not support the idea that the
annual human rights report should cover all countries, we welcome
the fact that human rights information is included in the country
profiles of many countries on the FCO website. We recommend that
this practice be extended to all countries, and that the information
refer to all relevant issues and be regularly updated. We further
recommend that the FCO ensure that the availability of this information
is flagged on the human rights pages of its website.
57. Inasmuch as they are all countries where human
rights are being seriously violated, we have no quarrel with the
FCO's selection of "countries of concern" in its 2010
report, though we consider Bahrain should have been included.
We share the FCO's deep concern about the human rights situation
in all these states.
FCO personnel and funding
58. The only FCO personnel with a remit to work exclusively
on human rights are in London. The FCO's Human Rights and Democracy
Department is part of the Political Directorate and has a staff
of 25. The FCO told us that the Department provided "human
rights expertise, technical support and training to the wider
office, as well as leading on thematic human rights issues".
Overseas posts do not have staff with an exclusive human rights
remit. According to the FCO, "human rights are mainstreamed
across the [department], meaning that all desks and posts have
a responsibility to monitor and promote human rights in their
countries where appropriate".
59. The FCO has a strategic programme fund for human
rights and democracy, of around £5 million in each of 2010/11
and 2011/12. Other FCO funding programmes may also commit resources
to human rights work where this meets their objectives. FCO Minister
of State Lord Howell told the House of Lords on 5 April 2011 that
it was "impossible to give a precise figure" for FCO
funding for human rights work, because "FCO programmes integrate
their human rights activities with all other programme work".
Total FCO spending on its funding programmes in 2011/12 is £139
million. The Foreign Secretary has announced that overall FCO
programme funding will fall in future years, although it will
remain above £100 million.
60. Jeremy Browne argued that it was unnecessary
to have staff in overseas posts with an exclusive human rights
remit. "Every single one of our ambassadors is a human rights
officer", he said.
However, David Mepham suggested that, just as there are dedicated
trade and commercial staff in some overseas posts, in a country
where there were grave concerns about human rights it might be
desirable for the UK to have some dedicated human rights personnel,
in the shape of "some specialist [...] who understands the
issue and understands the country".
61. On 11 May 2011, the Foreign Secretary announced
changes to the FCO's overseas network, including an increase in
staff numbers in Angola, Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Burma, Chile,
China, Columbia, India, Indonesia, North and South Korea, Malaysia,
Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam. The FCO is also to open
or reopen posts in Brazil, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan and South Sudan,
and potentially in Madagascar and Somalia.
The FCO told us that these decisions on the overseas network "took
into account the need, in some of these places, to engage on human
rights, promote good governance and help prevent or reduce conflict".
Of the countries targeted for an increased FCO presence, Burma,
China, Colombia, North Korea, Pakistan and Somalia are among the
"countries of concern" identified in the 2010 FCO
Report. However, the Foreign Secretary said that some of the
expansion elsewhere would be possible because of the reduction
in the UK presence in Iraq and, in time, Afghanistan, which are
also both "countries of concern".
62. We welcome the Foreign Secretary's decision
to increase the FCO presence in a number of the "countries
of concern" identified in the department's 2010 human rights
report. We recommend that the increased staff be used in part
to expand the FCO's human rights work in those states. We recommend
that in its 2011 human rights report the FCO report on the difference
which increased staff resources in some parts of the overseas
network are making to its human rights work. We further recommend
that, in its response to this Report, the FCO set out how it plans
to sustain its human rights work in Iraq despite the planned reduction
in the UK presence there.
63. The FCO's 2011/12 human rights and democracy
programme is only funding projects in countries that are eligible
to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA).
This is a change from preceding years, when the programme was
a global one. The FCO told us that the change was in order to
support the Government's objective of spending 0.7% of GNI on
ODA by 2013. We reported
on the FCO's efforts to increase the amount and the share of its
spending which is countable as ODA in our Report on FCO Performance
and Finances in January 2011.
Excluding non-ODA-eligible countries from funding under the human
rights programme means that, of the "countries of concern"
identified in the 2010 FCO Report, projects in Israel,
Russia and Saudi Arabia could not be funded from this source.
The FCO told us that in 2010/11, around 90% of funding under the
human rights programme was already spent in ODA-eligible countries.
64. We conclude that excluding countries which
are not eligible for Official Development Assistance from funding
under the FCO's human rights and democracy programme risks excluding
projects in countries where there are serious human rights issues
and where the FCO has previously been active. This decision places
an even greater premium on support being available for human rights-related
projects from other funding streams. We recommend that, in its
response to this Report, the FCO set out what support it is providing
in 2011/12 for human rights projects in countries where projects
were previously being funded from the human rights and democracy
programme, but which are now ineligible for such funding. We further
recommend that, when the FCO reports at the end of 2011/12 on
projects supported under all its programme funding streams for
the year, it pay particular attention to reporting on human rights-related
aspects, and to reporting on projects supported in the 2010 "countries
Advisory Group on Human Rights
65. In his September 2010 Lincoln's Inn speech, the
Foreign Secretary announced that he was establishing an Advisory
Group on Human Rights. Mr Hague published the make-up of the group
in November. The group numbers 13, comprising two practising lawyers,
five academics (four of whom also have positions in the UN human
rights system) and six NGO figures (including our two witnesses:
Kate Allen of Amnesty International UK and David Mepham of Human
Rights Watch, who replaced his predecessor Tom Porteous in the
group). The group is chaired by the Foreign Secretary. Members
of the group participate in a personal capacity and are not paid
for their role. The group's discussions are held on a non-attributable
basis. The group has established a six-monthly meeting pattern,
having met in December 2010 and June 2011.
66. The Foreign Secretary told the House that the
creation of his Advisory Group was intended to "ensure that
[he had] the best possible information about human rights challenges
and benefit[ted] from outside advice on the conduct of our policy".
Jeremy Browne said that the group was "meant to give us a
sounding board and help us to think issues through and draw on
In 2011, the group is focusing on freedom of religion and the
relationship between trade and human rights.
67. The FCO is establishing a number of sub-groups
to the Advisory Group to consider selected issues in more detail.
These are to be chaired by Jeremy Browne, as the FCO Minister
responsible for human rights, and might include different external
specialists to the main group. In May, Mr Browne told us that
two sub-groups had been established: on the death penalty, and
on torture. Mr Browne said that a third possible group, on internet
freedom, was under consideration.
68. Human Rights Watch told us that the establishment
of the Advisory Group "create[d] a forum for frank but constructive
Allen was similarly pleased "to have a Foreign Secretary
who welcomes experts into [...] discussions on a regular basis".
Neither Ms Allen nor Mr Mepham anticipated that their roles on
the Advisory Group and as NGO representatives would come into
conflict. The creation
of the Group was also welcomed by the Church of England's Mission
and Public Affairs Council.
69. We welcome the Foreign Secretary's decision
to establish an Advisory Group on Human Rights. We recommend that,
in its response to this Report, the FCO report on the work of
the Group to date. We further recommend that a review of the activities
and achievements of the Group be included in future issues of
the FCO's annual human rights report. We also recommend the establishment
of a third sub-group on internet freedom.
70. A number of witnesses highlighted the need for
consistency and coherence across Government in relation to the
promotion of human rights overseas. They were concerned that the
issue should not be seen as one for the FCO alone, and that the
FCO should ensure that its concerns and objectives were shared
by other relevant departments.
UNICEF UK urged inter-departmental co-operation on children's
rights (see paragraph 142), whilst Amnesty expressed concerns
about cross-Government work on women, peace and security (see
paragraph 134) and about human rights in the work of the Department
for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and UK Trade and Investment
(UKTI) (see paragraph 129). We highlight two further cross-Government
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT
71. Human Rights Watch suggested that the omission
of Ethiopia and Rwanda from the list of "countries of concern"
in the 2010 FCO Report might partly reflect the dominance
of DFID in UK policy towards these countries, both of which are
major recipients of UK development assistance. Human Rights Watch
expressed its belief that, while the FCO was well aware of abuses
taking place in these two states, DFID preferred the Government
not to raise its concerns in public.
72. More broadly, David Mepham characterised DFID's
approach to human rights in relation to development as "a
real issue". He suggested that in some cases where the UK
had a well-established development relationship, "to raise
human rights concerns is seen as rocking the boat".
73. The Government is pursuing greater alignment
between the FCO and DFID. We welcomed this in our recent Report
on The Role of the FCO in UK Government, and noted there
that the Country Business Plans for 2011-15 which were being drawn
up by Heads of Mission would encompass all UK Government activity
in the relevant country.
74. We recommend that, in its response to this
Report, the FCO tell us how it is working with DFID to ensure
that its human rights policies are taken into account in the overseas
development work of that department, and whether it will request
DFID to give no less high a public profile to human rights than
is the case with the FCO.
PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS
75. During our inquiry, the issue of the protection
of civilians in conflict was in the spotlight because of the UN-mandated
international military action being carried out in Libya in pursuit
of this objective. Oxfam focused part of its submission to our
inquiry on this issue. The previous Government published a three-year
cross-Government strategy (FCO-Ministry of Defence-DFID) on this
issue in March 2010, just before the General Election.
Demonstrating the cross-governmental nature of the issue, some
of Oxfam's recommendations to our inquiry concerned action on
peacekeeping mandates at the UN, where the FCO is in the lead;
but Oxfam also urged the UK to provide more military personnel
to UN peacekeeping missions once combat forces in Afghanistan
are drawn down. Oxfam also referred to UK support for overseas
security sector reform projects, work which again might engage
the military as well as a range of civilian bodies. Oxfam said
that, in the interests of the UK's international credibility,
UK support for security sector reform overseas must ensure that
international human rights and humanitarian law obligations were
effectively "operationalised" in the police, military
and judicial sectors of the states in receipt of assistance. Oxfam
said that this was not yet the case in Afghanistan (see paragraph
76. The Government's protection of civilians strategy
is to be reviewed annually, starting in 2011.
Oxfam said that it hoped that the review process would "incorporate
a wide range of external expertise and perspectives, culminating
in findings that are publicly available".
77. We recommend that in its response to this
Report the FCO set out the timetable and process for this year's
review of the Government's protection of civilians strategy, including
an indication of whether these will be affected by the international
military action to protect civilians in Libya.
UK human rights practices: counter-terrorism
78. The Government argues that the UK's capacity
to secure human rights improvements overseas is affected by its
own human rights practices. In his July 2010 speech, the Foreign
Secretary told the FCO that the existence of "the networked
world requires us to inspire other people with how we live up
to our own values rather than try to impose them, because now
they are able to see in more detail whether we meet our own standards
and make up their own minds about that".
In our recent Report on The Role of the FCO in UK Government,
we welcomed the Foreign Secretary's position on this issue, concluding
that the FCO had "a [...] vital contribution to make [...]
in ensuring that the Government is aware in its decision-making
of international perceptions of its policies in the UK with respect
to human rights and good governance".
79. The Government has acted in support of this approach
in particular with respect to counter-terrorism policy. In his
September 2010 Lincoln's Inn speech, Mr Hague suggested that "the
experiences of Iraq and the world since 9/11 [had] caused a serious
erosion of trust in the integrity of British foreign policy, and
the widespread view that we fell short of international standards
while seeking to combat terrorism".
Kate Allen told us that "we see many, many other Governments
citing what has happened in the war on terror to excuse their
own appalling practices",
and that retaining the moral high ground was therefore "absolutely
In successive human rights and other Reports, our predecessor
Committees tracked in detail many of the human rights issues raised
by the 'war on terror', including torture and other aspects of
the treatment of detainees, rendition, deportation with assurances
(DWA), the role of private military and security companies, and
the use by the US of the detention facility at Guantánamo
80. Among other reforms to counter-terrorism policy,
the Government has:
- published for the first time
consolidated guidance given to intelligence and military personnel
on the interviewing of detainees;
- initiated a formal inquiry into whether the UK
was implicated in the mistreatment of detainees held by other
countries in the 'war on terror' after the attacks of 11 September
2001. The inquiry is to be chaired by Rt Hon Sir Peter Gibson,
the former Commissioner for the Intelligence Services and a former
senior Court of Appeal judge. Because police investigations into
the actions of MI5 and MI6 officers remained ongoing, as of early
July 2011 the Gibson Inquiry had not yet been able to begin its
work. Once it does so, the Prime Minister has requested the Inquiry
to report within a year.
81. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty and Sir Emyr Jones
Parry of REDRESS told us that there were a number of loopholes
and weaknesses in the consolidated guidance that left them concerned
that the UK might still fall short of its international obligations
Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group
on Extraordinary Rendition, said that the guidance was defective
because it did not address rendition and was incomplete as regarded
82. Kate Allen and David Mepham both stressed the
importance of the Gibson Inquiry establishing clearly what happened
and why, with respect to the possible involvement of UK personnel
in the mistreatment of detainees. They urged that the Inquiry
should lead to changes of practice if necessary.
However, Human Rights Watch said that it was "concerned about
the Government's commitment to ensure the inquiry's effectiveness,
in terms of the Government's willingness to allow as much evidence
as possible to be heard in public, to permit the scope of the
inquiry to include all allegations of complicity by UK agents
in overseas torture, including in Pakistan, and to commit the
resources necessary to allow it to do so".
Sir Emyr Jones Parry and Amnesty similarly raised concerns about
openness, public scrutiny and the effective participation of victims
in the Gibson Inquiry.
Sir Emyr was concerned that one year might be insufficient for
the Inquiry to carry out its work, and that the Inquiry lacked
powers to compel the production of documents and the appearance
Mr Tyrie told us that the Government was mistaken to exclude military
detention operations from the scope of the Gibson Inquiry; and
said that the Inquiry needed to be proactive in pursuing all relevant
informationfor example, from the US on rendition 'circuit
the Inquiry's terms of reference were announced publicly on 6
July, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists
questioned whether the Inquiry, because of its limited powers,
would fulfil the Government's legal obligation to conduct an 'effective
investigation' into allegations of torture.
83. The Gibson Inquiry is not concerned with legal
liability, but Kate Allen and David Mepham both urged that it
lead to greater accountability.
Human Rights Watch urged that prosecutions be brought for complicity
in torture, and that evidence be disclosed in even non-criminal
torture-related cases such that victims are not denied remedy.
84. Human Rights Watch said that, while UK Ministers
stressed that the UK does not condone torture, they refused to
state explicitly that the UK was not complicit in it. Human Rights
Watch also said that the FCO Report sought to differentiate
between torture and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
"in a way that [had] no basis in international law".
85. The FCO intends to continue and extend the use
of Deportation with Assurances (DWA) arrangements with foreign
arrangements arise because the UK may wish to deport to their
country of origin foreign nationals who are believed to represent
a threat to UK national security, when there may be a risk that
the country in question would employ torture or other cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment against them, including the death penalty.
Under the UN Convention against Torture, the UK has an obligation
not to send anyone to a state where there are "substantial
grounds for believing" s/he would be in danger of being tortured
(the non-refoulement obligation). By providing assurances
about the treatment of returned individuals, DWA arrangements
are intended to enable the UK to carry out deportations without
contravening its international legal obligations. The UK has DWA
arrangements with Algeria, Ethiopia, Jordan and Lebanon.
Jeremy Browne told us in May that, given developments in that
country, the previous DWA arrangement with Libya was no longer
86. In their evidence to our predecessor Committees,
Amnesty and Human Rights Watch consistently rejected DWA arrangements.
Both organisations were strongly critical of their continued use
by the present Government. David Mepham characterised "the
idea that you can send back terrorism suspects to a country, which
is known to practise torture, on the basis that they will give
you an assurance that they will not torture the individual concerned"
as "unacceptable". Mr Mepham argued that DWA arrangements
undermined the UK's otherwise strong stand against torture, and
that deportation of suspects did not in any case help the UK counter
terrorism, given the ease of international communications.
Kate Allen and Human Rights Watch also highlighted the difficulty
of monitoring the treatment of a single named detainee after his
return from the UK.
Sir Emyr Jones Parry said that there were "fundamental problems
with deporting persons on the basis of assurances".
Mr Mepham urged that foreign nationals suspected of criminal activity
be prosecuted in the UK rather than deported.
Sir Emyr criticised the FCO Report for failing to address
the possible statutory changes that might allow UK prosecutions
to take place, as an alternative to DWA arrangements.
87. Jeremy Browne pointed out that deportations carried
out under DWA arrangements could be challenged in the courts,
and that the courts had on occasion ruled that a deportation could
not take place.
He said that "there is no evidence so far to suggest that
[DWA arrangements] do not work and that the assurances that are
provided are not actually then delivered on".
88. Amnesty urged that the DWA policy be "dropped
and replaced by an effective strategy on torture prevention".
All the countries with which the UK has DWA arrangements have
acceded to the UN Convention against Torture. However, of the
four countries concerned, the section on torture prevention in
the FCO Report made only brief reference to Lebanon, and
no reference to Algeria, Ethiopia or Jordan. The FCO is to launch
an updated global torture prevention strategy in 2011.
89. Overall, Human Rights Watch judged that the Government's
changes to counter-terrorism policy "fail[ed] to bring UK
counter-terrorism law and policy fully in line with international
human rights standards". Human Rights Watch said that the
Government had "missed an opportunity for bolder reform to
end abusive policies that have tarnished the UK's reputation at
home and abroad".
Amnesty said similarly that the Government's measures fell "short
of accomplishing any ambition of restoring human rights principles
as central to counter-terrorism and national security policy".
90. We welcome the Government's recognition that
the UK's own human rights practices, in particular with respect
to counter-terrorism policy, affect its international reputation
and ability to pursue effectively improvements in human rights
standards overseas. We therefore welcome the publication of the
consolidated guidance to intelligence and service personnel on
the interviewing of detainees, and the initiation of the Gibson
Inquiry into possible UK complicity in the mistreatment of detainees
after 2001. Given the importance of the Inquiry for the UK's international
reputation, we are concerned that a year after it was announced
there is little sign of it being able to begin its work.
91. Given the importance for the UK's international
legal obligations of ensuring that the countries with which the
UK has Deportation with Assurances (DWA) arrangements do not practise
torture, and given these states' poor records in this respect
which prompted the DWA arrangements in the first place, we find
it odd that the section on torture prevention in the FCO's 2010
human rights report barely mentions the countries concerned. We
recommend that, in its response to this Report, the FCO tell us
what work it is doing with Algeria, Ethiopia, Jordan and Lebanon
to ensure that they do not practise torture. We expect to see
the FCO's forthcoming updated global torture prevention strategy
pay particular attention to countries with which the UK has DWA
arrangements. We further recommend that, in its response to this
Report, the FCO identify the further countries with which it plans
to make DWA arrangements.
5 HC Deb, 23 January 2008, col 52-53WS Back
Letter to the Chair from the Foreign Secretary, 2 September 2010,
printed with "Developments in UK Foreign Policy", oral
evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 September
2010, HC (2010-11) 438-i, Ev 26 Back
William Hague, "Britain's foreign policy in a networked world",
FCO, London, 1 July 2010 Back
William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world",
Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back
William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world",
Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back
Qq 64, 83 Back
Q 6 Back
FCO Business Plan 2011-2015, November 2010, p 15, via "Business
plans published", 8 November 2010, www.number10.gov.uk/news/business-plans-published-2/.
The other tools of UK 'soft power' to be covered by the strategy
were the UK contribution to conflict prevention; UK educational
scholarships; the British Council and BBC World Service; and links
with democratic political parties overseas. Back
Structural Reform Plan Monthly Implementation Update, March 2011,
via www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/publications1/annual-reports/business-plan Back
FCO Business Plan 2011-2015 (updated version), May 2011, p 19,
via "Department Business Plans updated", 13 May 2011,
HL Deb, 28 April 2011, col 307 Back
Although on 31 March 2011, simultaneously with publication of
the Report, the FCO published online updates to the Report's "countries
of concern" section, covering the period 1 January-31 March;
see paragraph 53. Back
William Hague, "A turning point for Africa?", speech
to The Times CEO Summit Africa, London, 22 March 2011 Back
Ev 41 Back
Ev 37 Back
Q 8 Back
Ev 36 Back
Ev 38 Back
Ev w43 Back
David Cameron, speech to the National Assembly, Kuwait, 22 February
FCO Report, pp 158-159 Back
Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2008-09,
Human Rights Annual Report 2008, HC 557, para 183 Back
Q 5 Back
Ev w13 Back
Q 51 Back
Q 51 Back
Q 93 Back
FCO Report, p 158 Back
Qq 64, 66 Back
Ev 45 Back
"Britain scraps report on human rights abuses", The
Observer, 22 August 2010 Back
"Report on human rights won't be cut", Daily Telegraph,
23 August 2010; "Hague under fire for cuts to human rights
budget", The Guardian, 23 August 2010 Back
"Human rights are key to our foreign policy; We must harness
Britain's generosity and compassion to help the rest of the world,
says William Hague", Daily Telegraph, 31 August 2010 Back
"Developments in UK Foreign Policy", oral evidence taken
before the Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 September 2010, HC (2010-11)
438-i, Q 20 Back
Q 1 Back
Ev 46 Back
Blog postings via www.fco.gov.uk by Amelia Bates, FCO Digital
Communications Manager: "Human rights reporting - a democratic
process", 31 March 2011, and "Human rights reporting
- a reflection", 20 May 2011 Back
Ev w7 Back
Ev 40 Back
Blog posting via www.fco.gov.uk by Amelia Bates, FCO Digital Communications
Manager: "Human rights reporting - a reflection", 20
May 2011 Back
Ev 48 Back
Jeremy Browne online video, April 2011, http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/get-involved/ Back
Qq 72-73 [Jeremy Browne, Susan Hyland] Back
For example, Q 71 [Jeremy Browne], Ev 39 [Amnesty], w7 [Church
of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council] Back
Q 70 [Jeremy Browne] Back
Q 72 Back
For the FCO's overall view of the purposes of the human rights
report, see William Hague, "There will be no downgrading
of human rights under this Government", speech at report
launch, FCO, London, 31 March 2011. Back
Qq 5 [Kate Allen], 33 [Kate Allen, David Mepham]; Ev 39-40 [Amnesty],
w8 [Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council] Back
Q 83 Back
Q 28. For FCO programme funding, see paragraphs 59, 63-64. Back
Ev 33 Back
Q 70 Back
Q 70 Back
Ev 36 Back
Ev 36-38 Back
Q 48 Back
Ev w40 [Bangladesh Hindu Baudhha Christian Unity Council], w21
[National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship] Back
Q 48 Back
Q 130 Back
For example, FCO Report, pp 7, 119; Jeremy Browne online
video, http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/get-involved/ Back
FCO Report, p 119 Back
Q 130 Back
Under the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, and the 1974
Trade Act, as amended; see www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt. Back
Ev w7 Back
William Hague, "There will be no downgrading of human rights
under this Government", speech at launch of 2010 Human
Rights and Democracy Report, FCO, London, 31 March 2011 Back
Ev 48 Back
Ev 48; see also the FCO's reply to parliamentary questions at
HC Deb, 26 April 2011, col 387W. Back
HL Deb, 5 April 2011, col 361WA Back
HC Deb, 1 February 2011, col 42-44WS; HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col
Qq 76, 79 Back
Q 28 Back
HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col 1167 Back
Ev 48 Back
HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col 1167 Back
FCO, Human Rights & Democracy Programme Strategy 2011-12,
The list of ODA-eligible countries is provided as an Annex. Back
Ev 49; see also HC Deb, 1 February 2011, col 42-44WS. Back
Foreign Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2010-11, FCO
Performance and Finances, HC 572, paras 61-69. The FCO provided
further information on its efforts on this front in its response
to that Report; see FCO, Third Report from the Foreign Affairs
Committee, Session 2010-12: FCO Performance and Finances: Response
of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,
Cm 8060, May 2011, pp 8-9 Back
Projects in the Palestinian Administered Areas could still be
funded. For the purposes of the "countries of concern"
section of its human rights report, the FCO treats Israel and
the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a single "country".
For the purposes of defining ODA eligibility, the OECD's Development
Assistance Committee (DAC) (the authoritative body in the field)
treats Israel and the Palestinian Administered Areas as separate
territories (using this nomenclature). The Palestinian Administered
Areas are eligible for ODA; Israel is not. See "Official
development assistance - definition and coverage", October
2010, via the topic page for "Development" at www.oecd.org. Back
Ev 50. In addition to the human rights programme, other FCO funding
programmes in 2011/12 are: counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation;
counter-narcotics and rule of law in Afghanistan; transition to
a low-carbon economy; projects for development and to "support
UK prosperity"; the Arab Partnership, with an FCO fund set
initially at £5 million (see paragraph 168); a programme
for the Overseas Territories; the Westminster Foundation for Democracy;
scholarships; and bilateral programmes managed by posts; HC Deb,
1 February 2011, col 42-44WS. Back
Q 84 [Jeremy Browne]; FCO Report, pp 4-5; William Hague,
"Britain's values in a networked world", Lincoln's Inn,
London, 15 September 2010; HC Deb, 11 November 2010, col 21-22WS;
FCO, "Foreign Secretary chairs first meeting of Human Rights
Advisory Group", press notice, 3 December 2010, and "Foreign
Secretary chairs meeting of Human Rights Advisory Group",
press notice, 8 June 2011 Back
HC Deb, 11 November 2010, col 21-22WS Back
Q 84 Back
Q 85; FCO Report, pp 4-5; FCO, "Foreign Secretary
chairs meeting of Human Rights Advisory Group", press notice,
8 June 2011 Back
Q 84 Back
Ev 33 Back
Q 7 Back
Qq 9-10 Back
Ev w7 Back
For example, Qq 28 [Kate Allen], 33 [David Mepham] Back
Ev 36-37; see also Qq 48, 54-55 [David Mepham]. Back
Qq 54-55 Back
Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12,
The Role of the FCO in UK Government, HC 665, paras 128132,
144. On this issue, see also the letter of 27 October 2010 from
Simon Fraser, FCO Permanent Under-Secretary, to Sir Gus O'Donnell,
Cabinet Secretary, published as Annex B to FCO, Seventh Report
from the Foreign Affairs Committee, Session 2010-12: The Role
of the FCO in UK Government: Response of the Secretary of State
for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Cm 8125, July 2011 Back
FCO, DFID, MOD, UK Government Strategy on the Protection of
Civilians in Armed Conflict, via www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/publications1/protection-civilians-armed-conflict Back
Ev w33 Back
FCO Report, pp 65-66 Back
Ev w34 Back
William Hague, "Britain's foreign policy in a networked world",
FCO, London, 1 July 2010 Back
Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12,
The Role of the FCO in UK Government, HC 665, para 66 Back
William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world",
Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back
Q 16 Back
Q 24 Back
FCO Report, pp 51-53; HC Deb, 6 July 2010, col 175-178;
letter from the Prime Minister to Sir Peter Gibson, 6 July 2010,
via www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/uk-involvement-detainees-overseas-counter-terrorism-operations Back
Ev 34 [Human Rights Watch], 41 [Amnesty], w44 [Sir Emyr Jones
Ev w41-42 Back
Qq 12 [David Mepham], 16 [Kate Allen] Back
Ev 34-35 Back
Ev 41-42 [Amnesty], w43-44 [Sir Emyr Jones Parry] Back
Ev w44 Back
Ev w41. Allegations about military detention operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan after 2003 are being addressed separately by the
Ministry of Defence; see the letter from the Prime Minister to
Sir Peter Gibson of 6 July 2010, via www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/uk-involvement-detainees-overseas-counter-terrorism-operations.
The terms of reference for-and a protocol on the handling of information
supplied to-the Gibson Inquiry, as agreed between the Government
and the Inquiry, were published on 6 July 2011, as we were finalising
this Report; see www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk/2011/07/news-release-terms-of-reference-and-protocol-published. Back
JUSTICE (the British section of the International Commission of
Jurists), "Government rules muzzle Torture Inquiry",
press release, 6 July 2011; see also "Lawyers to boycott
torture inquiry as UK rights groups label it a sham: Anger over
secret hearings and no quizzing of agents; Cabinet secretary to
get veto on final disclosures", The Guardian, 7 July
Qq 12 [David Mepham], 16 [Kate Allen] Back
Ev 34. The Government plans to bring forward a Green Paper on
the handling of sensitive information in judicial proceedings;
see the letter of 4 November 2010 to the Chair from Alastair Burt
MP, FCO Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, at Ev 46. Back
Ev 34 Back
FCO Report, p 49 Back
Q 69 Back
Qq 18, 26 Back
Q 25 [Kate Allen]; Ev 34 [Human Rights Watch] Back
Ev w43 Back
Qq 12, 17-23 Back
Ev w43 Back
Q 68; see also FCO Report, p 50. Back
Q 68 Back
Ev 40 Back
FCO Report, p 20 Back
Ev 33 Back
Ev 41 Back