Human Rights and Democracy 2014-15

Foreword by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Comments on this section of the 2014 Human Rights Report can be made below. They will be monitored and moderated by staff at the Human Rights and Democracy Department at the FCO who will also try and answer as many questions as possible.

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2 comments on “Foreword by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

  1. RICHARD LAVERSUCH says:

    The Foreword mentions freedom of expression as a mark of a successful government; also that “democracy offers the best system for protecting human rights, guaranteeing the rule of law…and preventing conflct”. In China there is no freedom of expression and no democracy. On that basis should it not be treated as a pariah State?

    1. FCO Human Rights says:

      As noted in the report, we recognise that China has made unprecedented improvements in social and economic rights and personal freedoms, which have been marked in the last 30 years. But we continue to have significant concerns about a range of civil and political rights including freedom of expression, association and religion and belief.

      We want China to succeed, and we don’t under-estimate the challenges China faces. Our experience is that political freedom and the rule of law are vital underpinnings for both prosperity and stability.

      As the Foreign Secretary has said, human rights, prosperity and security are mutually reinforcing. The free flow of ideas and innovation are a driver of economic growth, and a key differentiator in favour of democracy. Our relationship has become sufficiently mature that we can be candid with each other about those areas on which we do not see eye to eye – including human rights.

      We have a foreign policy based on our values. As members of the Human Rights Council, both the UK and China should respect the international human rights commitments to which we are a party. Respect for human rights underpins global peace and security.

      We continue to urge the Chinese authorities to respect and protect the rights of its citizens in line with their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and association and international frameworks to which China is a party.