Armed Forces: Human Rights

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 28th October 2015.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he plans to take to ensure that (a) UN membership of the European Convention on Human Rights and (b) other human rights measures do not adversely affect the ability of service personnel to discharge their duties in conflict zones.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The Government is committed to upholding civilised standards in armed conflicts, and our view is that international humanitarian law, as embodied in the Geneva Conventions, set those standards. We are concerned that legal developments have the potential to impose unacceptable constraints on the Armed Forces when they are deployed to defend the UK and its interests. A commitment to address this problem was made in the Government's Manifesto this year. Accordingly, we are considering the options available to safeguard the ability of our Armed Forces to do their job. We want to ensure that our Service personnel are not pressured to become unduly risk averse because of the fear of litigation or by the prospect of legal harassment, and that commanders are able to take the rapid and often high risk decisions necessary during military operations. We will announce our proposals in due course.

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