[JURIST] The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) [official website] on Thursday said that it has focused on the effects of counter-terrorism efforts and global warming on human rights, as well as effective conflict resolution and the support of international institutions charged with protecting the rights in its Annual Report on Human Rights [text, PDF]. Introducing the report, UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband [official profile] said the office had made an effort to convey objectively [statement text] both its successes and challenges in advancing human rights around the world:
The British people’s commitment to human rights is born from a sense of our history, of rights forged out of shared struggles, and on the belief that free societies offer the best prospects for long term stability and growth. Economic freedom is the best way to empower individuals to fight poverty and improve their own standard of living. Political freedom – and in particular effective democracy–is the best guarantee against political corruption and mismanagement. And as Kofi Annan said, “Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights.”
The Human Rights report is a clear and comprehensive survey of our own efforts; an honest account of the successes, the setbacks and the dilemmas.
The FCO also focused on the 20 countries where it said the human rights situations were most concerning. Among these, it said there was particular danger to civilians in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Israel and the Palestinian Territory [JURIST news archives]. It said that the humanitarian situations in Sudan and Myanmar [JURIST news archives] had become more dire. The FCO also criticized China for its treatment of Tibetans, and warned that Russia, in addition to its conflict with Georgia, had taken anti-democratic steps in recent elections [JURIST news archives].
The UK also voiced concern [JURIST report] over the rights situations in many of the same countries in its 2007 report. Earlier this month, the US published its annual reports [JURIST report] on human rights situations in almost 200 countries.