To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help prevent the (a) mis-treatment, (b) imprisonment and (c) execution of (i) human rights defenders and (i) environmental defenders throughout the world; and if he will make a statement.
In 2017 the then Foreign Secretary issued a revised version of the UK Guidelines on Working with Human Rights Defenders to the diplomatic network. In addition, all Human Rights Priority Countries are required to have a Human Rights Strategy, that includes support for human rights defenders working on the range of human rights, including those related to the environment. Depending on the local context, this might involve making public statements, attending trials, or working privately with the host government. Funding for projects through the Magna Carta Fund, further supports the work of the diplomatic network in supporting human rights defenders. The UK also works through the multilateral system, to develop consensus among members for the protection of all human rights defenders, including protection against reprisals, arbitrary detention and violence. It is the long-standing policy of the UK, to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, as a matter of principle.