Government publishes annual report on human rights

The government's response to human rights challenges around the world over the last year has published in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Annual Report on Human Rights.

The human rights situation in Iraq is one of the major elements of the report, and the government has outlined two strands to its human rights policy in Iraq.

The first is the investigation of human rights violations under Saddam Hussein's regime. The second is to help put in place the civil, legal and political structures and the stable conditions necessary to ensure human rights are not violated in the future.

Launching the report, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "The Annual Report on Human Rights has, in its six year history, become a tool for understanding and scrutinising the government's work to promote human rights abroad. The protection and the promotion of human rights is one of the most effective guarantees of stability, security and growth.

"The government's support for the cause of human rights - for example in Iraq, in Burma and in Zimbabwe - requires different specific approaches around the world. We do not believe there can be a one-size-fits-all human rights policy. But our goals remain the same - respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy. These principles will continue to be a core aim of British foreign policy."

The government's efforts in countries where the UK has human rights concerns range from behind-the-scenes lobbying to public criticism, protest and sanctions. In the last year the government has taken up human rights concerns about countries including Belarus, Cuba, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, North Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The report highlights not only where serious violations of human rights exist, but also progress - for example in South East Europe, in Turkey and in Kenya.


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