The FCO's human rights work in 2013 - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1. This Report assesses the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and its diplomatic network in supporting human rights around the world in 2013. Each year, the FCO publishes an annual report on human rights and democracy, providing a summary of FCO policy and action over the previous year on a range of thematic issues, and an analysis of the state of human rights in selected countries.[1] We, in turn, devote each year a part of our scrutiny efforts to reviewing the report itself and some of the initiatives which the FCO has pursued. This year we have also commented on the funding of the Department's human rights work.

2. We announced the inquiry and terms of reference on 9 April 2014.[2] We invited submissions on any aspect of the UK's human rights work for which the FCO had responsibility, and we particularly welcomed submissions which addressed:

·  The FCO's work in protecting freedom of religion or belief;

·  The impact of the FCO's ongoing Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (including its initiation at the UN of the Declaration of Commitment to end Sexual Violence in Conflict, and the global summit in London in June 2014);

·  The FCO's work in supporting women's and children's human rights; and

·  The UK's role on the UN Human Rights Council following its re-election there in November 2013.

3. We held oral evidence sessions with two human rights organisations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and with the Rt Hon Baroness Warsi, who was at the time the FCO Minister with responsibility for human rights. We also received a number of written submissions, which are published on our webpages on the Parliament website. We are pleased to acknowledge these contributions and to present our findings in this Report.

1   FCO, Human Rights and Democracy: 2013 FCO Report, Cm 8870, April 2014 Back

2   "The FCO's human rights work in 2013: Terms of Reference", Foreign Affairs Committee, 9 April 2014  Back

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Prepared 27 November 2014