The United Kingdom is a proud champion of human rights, and a strong supporter of those around the world who dedicate their lives to defending them. Ministers and officials regularly assess how we can further help human rights defenders carry out their work safely and without fear, especially during the current pandemic.
Regrettably, human rights defenders face unprecedented attacks in many countries, with 304 being killed in 2019 alone, according to a report by Frontline Defenders. The Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) monitors repression of human rights defenders in its Annual Human Rights Report, the most recent of which listed support for human rights defenders as a UK international policy priority.
In July 2019, the Foreign Office also published a report titled UK Support for Human Rights Defenders, which publicly underlines the UK’s commitment to protecting human rights defenders. Support is also provided through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy.
The upcoming Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Affairs will inform the strategy of the UK's international policy in the decade ahead, including those of the FCDO. While I would not wish to speculate on the review’s findings before it is published, I hope that it will reiterate our long-standing support for human rights and those who defend them.