William Hague MP launches The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2007

10 December 2007

The Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke at the launch of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s Annual Report at on Monday 10th December 2007, in the Jubilee Room, House of Commons.

The report, launched on International Human Rights Day, highlights human rights violations around the world, including the use of rape as a weapon of war, the forcible conscription of child soldiers, torture, slavery, religious persecution, ethnic and caste discrimination, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment and the denial or restriction of press freedom.

The report also sets out a series of recommendations by the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission for policies to place human rights at the heart of foreign policy. These include the appointment of a Minister within the Foreign Office with sole responsibility for International Human Rights, an Ambassador-at-Large for International Human Rights to co-ordinate the work of embassies in promoting human rights, and a Code of Conduct setting out the expectations and requirements for all Foreign Office staff with regard to international human rights issues.

The report concludes that: “While there are outstanding individuals at all levels within the FCO who demonstrate inspiring dedication and commitment to the promotion of human rights, the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission believes that responsiveness to human rights violations around the world is inconsistent and too dependent on the calibre and attitude of individual diplomats. There is a need for clear policies to raise the profile of human rights promotion within the FCO, improve its capacity to address human rights issues, and standardise and synchronise conduct and policy.”

William Hague paid tribute to the work of the Commission, and described the report as “a serious and welcome programme for action, and one which we will study very closely to see how we can implement our pledge to make human rights a vital component of our foreign policy.”

Mr Hague said: “I have pledged several times that the next Conservative Government will put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. As I have said before, I believe we must conduct our foreign policy in a way that does not deviate from our values; central to which is a deeply-held belief in the primacy and inviolability of individual human rights. And on this International Human Rights Day, I hope that we can all work for the day when human rights are regarded by everyone as truly universal.”

William Hague's Speech
Download Conservative Party Human Rights Commission Second Annual Report (PDF)