The FCO's Human Rights Work 2010-11 - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

2  Human rights policy at the FCO since 2010

The 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.[5] 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".[6] 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".[7]

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. [8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

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 decisions.

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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

14. We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the FCO explain why it does not plan to publish the forthcoming strategy—promised in its 2011-15 Business Plan—to enhance the impact of various tools of UK 'soft power', including the promotion of human rights. We further recommend that it should do so.


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 rights—the 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, and—as regards these countries—had been largely overtaken by events by the time it was published.[16] 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".[17] 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".[18]

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 approach—namely 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".[19] 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".[20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23]

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 choice.[24]

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 partners.[25]

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".[26]

24. Witnesses to our current inquiry continued to doubt the value of the formal dialogue. Kate Allen said:

    over those 19 rounds—which is now well over a decade—it 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.[27]

The International Campaign for Tibet said that it was

    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.[28]

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 China—such 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.[29] Kate Allen told us that "private conversation is changing nothing and the Government need to think about different ways of challenging the Chinese Government".[30]

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 years ago".[31] 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".[32] 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.[33]

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 Democracy Report

Continued production of the report

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".[34]

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 3).[35]

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".[36] 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 the public.[37] 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 rights report.[38]

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".[39]

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%.[40]

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 audience".[41] Among 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 accessibility.[42]

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.[43]

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 transparency objectives".[44] Jeremy Browne responded to a number of the posted comments in an online video on the FCO website in April.[45] 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.[46]

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 stand-alone document.


38. The 2010 FCO Report is over 100,000 words long—longer than its predecessor.[47] 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.[48]

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 accountability;[49]
  • 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;[50] and
  • 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,[51] or as a result of the public 'shaming' involved in being criticised in the document.[52]

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 objectives—that 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.[53] Our witnesses felt that this would make the report more useful both inside and outside the department, above all in terms of providing accountability.

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.[54]

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.[55] 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.[56] 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".[57]
  • Producing an all-of-Government report would be a more cumbersome and time-consuming process.[58]

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.


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.[59] As we noted in paragraph 18, Human Rights Watch told us that Bahrain was a "glaring omission" from the selection.[60] 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.[61] 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.[62] 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.[63]

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".[64] 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.[65]

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.[66] 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.[67]

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".[68]

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.[69] 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.[70]

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".[71]

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".[72] 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".[73]

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".[74] 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.[75]

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.[76] 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".[77]

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.[78] 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".[79] 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".[80]

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).[81] 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.[82] 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.[83] 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,[84] 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.[85]

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 of concern".

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.[86]

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".[87] Jeremy Browne said that the group was "meant to give us a sounding board and help us to think issues through and draw on people's insights".[88] In 2011, the group is focusing on freedom of religion and the relationship between trade and human rights.[89]

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.[90]

68. Human Rights Watch told us that the establishment of the Advisory Group "create[d] a forum for frank but constructive dialogue".[91] Kate Allen was similarly pleased "to have a Foreign Secretary who welcomes experts into [...] discussions on a regular basis".[92] Neither Ms Allen nor Mr Mepham anticipated that their roles on the Advisory Group and as NGO representatives would come into conflict.[93] The creation of the Group was also welcomed by the Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council.[94]

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.

Cross-Government work

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.[95] 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 issues below.


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.[96]

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".[97]

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.[98]

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.


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.[99] 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 176).[100]

76. The Government's protection of civilians strategy is to be reviewed annually, starting in 2011.[101] 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".[102]

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 policy

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".[103] 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".[104]

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".[105] 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",[106] and that retaining the moral high ground was therefore "absolutely essential".[107] 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 Bay.

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;[108] and
  • 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.[109]

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 against torture.[110] 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 unlawful detention.[111]

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.[112] 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".[113] Sir Emyr Jones Parry and Amnesty similarly raised concerns about openness, public scrutiny and the effective participation of victims in the Gibson Inquiry.[114] 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 of witnesses.[115] 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 information—for example, from the US on rendition 'circuit flights'.[116] When 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.[117]

83. The Gibson Inquiry is not concerned with legal liability, but Kate Allen and David Mepham both urged that it lead to greater accountability.[118] 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.[119]

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".[120]

85. The FCO intends to continue and extend the use of Deportation with Assurances (DWA) arrangements with foreign countries.[121] DWA 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.[122] Jeremy Browne told us in May that, given developments in that country, the previous DWA arrangement with Libya was no longer in force.[123]

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.[124] 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.[125] Sir Emyr Jones Parry said that there were "fundamental problems with deporting persons on the basis of assurances".[126] Mr Mepham urged that foreign nationals suspected of criminal activity be prosecuted in the UK rather than deported.[127] 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.[128]

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.[129] 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".[130]

88. Amnesty urged that the DWA policy be "dropped and replaced by an effective strategy on torture prevention".[131] 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.[132]

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".[133] 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".[134]

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

6   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

7   William Hague, "Britain's foreign policy in a networked world", FCO, London, 1 July 2010 Back

8   William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world", Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back

9   William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world", Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back

10   Qq 64, 83 Back

11   Q 6 Back

12   FCO Business Plan 2011-2015, November 2010, p 15, via "Business plans published", 8 November 2010, 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

13   Structural Reform Plan Monthly Implementation Update, March 2011, via Back

14   FCO Business Plan 2011-2015 (updated version), May 2011, p 19, via "Department Business Plans updated", 13 May 2011, Back

15   HL Deb, 28 April 2011, col 307 Back

16   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

17   William Hague, "A turning point for Africa?", speech to The Times CEO Summit Africa, London, 22 March 2011 Back

18   Ev 41 Back

19   Ev 37 Back

20   Q 8 Back

21   Ev 36 Back

22   Ev 38 Back

23   Ev w43 Back

24   David Cameron, speech to the National Assembly, Kuwait, 22 February 2011 Back

25   FCO Report, pp 158-159 Back

26   Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2008-09, Human Rights Annual Report 2008, HC 557, para 183 Back

27   Q 5 Back

28   Ev w13 Back

29   Q 51 Back

30   Q 51 Back

31   Q 93 Back

32   FCO Report, p 158 Back

33   Qq 64, 66 Back

34   Ev 45 Back

35   "Britain scraps report on human rights abuses", The Observer, 22 August 2010 Back

36   "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

37   "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

38   "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

39   Q 1 Back

40   Ev 46 Back

41   Blog postings via 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

42   Ev w7 Back

43   Ev 40 Back

44   Blog posting via by Amelia Bates, FCO Digital Communications Manager: "Human rights reporting - a reflection", 20 May 2011 Back

45 Back

46   Ev 48 Back

47   Jeremy Browne online video, April 2011, Back

48   Qq 72-73 [Jeremy Browne, Susan Hyland] Back

49   For example, Q 71 [Jeremy Browne], Ev 39 [Amnesty], w7 [Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council] Back

50   Q 70 [Jeremy Browne] Back

51   Q 72 Back

52   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

53   Qq 5 [Kate Allen], 33 [Kate Allen, David Mepham]; Ev 39-40 [Amnesty], w8 [Church of England's Mission and Public Affairs Council] Back

54   Q 83 Back

55   Q 28. For FCO programme funding, see paragraphs 59, 63-64. Back

56   Ev 33 Back

57   Q 70 Back

58   Q 70 Back

59 Back

60   Ev 36 Back

61   Ev 36-38 Back

62   Q 48 Back

63   Ev w40 [Bangladesh Hindu Baudhha Christian Unity Council], w21 [National United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship] Back

64   Q 48 Back

65   Q 130 Back

66   For example, FCO Report, pp 7, 119; Jeremy Browne online video, Back

67   FCO Report, p 119 Back

68   Q 130 Back

69   Under the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, and the 1974 Trade Act, as amended; see Back

70   Ev w7 Back

71   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

72   Ev 48 Back

73   Ev 48; see also the FCO's reply to parliamentary questions at HC Deb, 26 April 2011, col 387W. Back

74   HL Deb, 5 April 2011, col 361WA Back

75   HC Deb, 1 February 2011, col 42-44WS; HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col 1167 Back

76   Qq 76, 79 Back

77   Q 28 Back

78   HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col 1167 Back

79   Ev 48 Back

80   HC Deb, 11 May 2011, col 1167 Back

81   FCO, Human Rights & Democracy Programme Strategy 2011-12, via The list of ODA-eligible countries is provided as an Annex. Back

82   Ev 49; see also HC Deb, 1 February 2011, col 42-44WS. Back

83   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

84   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 Back

85   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

86   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

87   HC Deb, 11 November 2010, col 21-22WS Back

88   Q 84 Back

89   Q 85; FCO Report, pp 4-5; FCO, "Foreign Secretary chairs meeting of Human Rights Advisory Group", press notice, 8 June 2011 Back

90   Q 84 Back

91   Ev 33 Back

92   Q 7 Back

93   Qq 9-10 Back

94   Ev w7 Back

95   For example, Qq 28 [Kate Allen], 33 [David Mepham] Back

96   Ev 36-37; see also Qq 48, 54-55 [David Mepham]. Back

97   Qq 54-55 Back

98   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

99   FCO, DFID, MOD, UK Government Strategy on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, via Back

100   Ev w33 Back

101   FCO Report, pp 65-66 Back

102   Ev w34 Back

103   William Hague, "Britain's foreign policy in a networked world", FCO, London, 1 July 2010 Back

104   Foreign Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12, The Role of the FCO in UK Government, HC 665, para 66 Back

105   William Hague, "Britain's values in a networked world", Lincoln's Inn, London, 15 September 2010 Back

106   Q 16 Back

107   Q 24 Back

108 Back

109   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 Back

110   Ev 34 [Human Rights Watch], 41 [Amnesty], w44 [Sir Emyr Jones Parry] Back

111   Ev w41-42 Back

112   Qq 12 [David Mepham], 16 [Kate Allen] Back

113   Ev 34-35 Back

114   Ev 41-42 [Amnesty], w43-44 [Sir Emyr Jones Parry] Back

115   Ev w44 Back

116   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 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 Back

117   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 2011. Back

118   Qq 12 [David Mepham], 16 [Kate Allen] Back

119   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

120   Ev 34 Back

121   FCO Report, p 49 Back

122   IbidBack

123   Q 69 Back

124   Qq 18, 26 Back

125   Q 25 [Kate Allen]; Ev 34 [Human Rights Watch] Back

126   Ev w43 Back

127   Qq 12, 17-23 Back

128   Ev w43 Back

129   Q 68; see also FCO Report, p 50. Back

130   Q 68 Back

131   Ev 40 Back

132   FCO Report, p 20 Back

133   Ev 33 Back

134   Ev 41 Back

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Prepared 20 July 2011