Protecting the human rights of British people abroad

Protecting the human rights of British people abroad

Human rights are a cornerstone of the British way of life. They are the fundamental freedoms that belong to every one of us. No country has a completely flawless record when it comes to human rights, but some offer greater protections to their citizens than others. In the UK, a robust set of human rights legislation protects citizens from the most egregious types of threat to their freedom. An established civil society and independent judiciary challenge the government when abuses do happen.

As citizens, we have a duty to remain vigilant in order to protect and celebrate the rights and freedoms we've won over the centuries. 

British citizens overseas

While people living in the UK have a robust body of law to protect them, British citizens overseas are often less fortunate. It's estimated that over 2,000 British nationals are currently imprisoned overseas. While some of them are serving sentences for crimes they committed, many have been falsely imprisoned, with over 1,000 having received no trial. Some, as in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Matthew Hedges, have inadvertently found themselves political pawns. The families of some of those held report that their loved ones have been tortured in an attempt to gain false confessions. 

Consular protection is currently offered on a discretionary basis, with the choice to do so ultimately being in the power of the Foreign Secretary. Unfortunately, this is also not very efficient measure. The families of some of those held without trial have formed the British Rights Abroad Group to try and make it mandatory for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to help every individual, not just some.

Human rights are non-negotiable

Human rights are universal. The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UHDR) was adopted by the newly established United Nations in 1948. It was composed by a drafting committee made up of representatives of over 30 countries, with the UK having a leading role. Great strides have been made to ensure more people across the world benefit from strong human rights protection, but too many people are still left at risk.

When that happens to UK citizens overseas it should be a priority of the UK government to ensure they receive protection and proper justice. All too often, however, it seems that politics and diplomacy prevent the UK from taking a robust enough line.

The Renew Party will protect UK citizens overseas

At The Renew Party, we have a deep commitment to human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy. This informs everything we do. We don't believe that human rights should stop at our borders. Instead, we'd ensure that any British citizen arrested or detained overseas had a right to consular protection. We'd challenge countries that are committing human rights abuses and ensure our foreign policy put human rights protection at its heart.

British citizens overseas are our country's ambassadors

British citizens overseas should be well-protected. We, at the Renew Party, know it very well. After all, they are some of this country's best representatives. They're running businesses, working as academics, and undertaking humanitarian work. We would ensure that anyone who moves overseas has exactly the same right to justice as any other British citizen. We should make it clear that any British citizen working overseas has the full protection of the British government, and their rights are to be protected.

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