Human Rights

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 7th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Moonie Lord Moonie Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that British personnel working on (1) UN, (2) EU, and (3) African Union, (a) military, (b) humanitarian, and (c) hybrid missions, are supported in reporting (i) observations, and (ii) allegations, of human rights abuses, including the use of child labour; and what steps they take to ensure that any such reports are passed to the highest levels of the relevant international oversight bodies.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We work bilaterally to raise specific cases of concern as appropriate and take regular action on the international stage, including through the Human Rights Council to press countries to improve their record on human rights. The UK Government also has an Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) policy, which provides a rigorous assessment framework to assess whether UK engagement may directly or significantly contribute to a violation of human rights or international humanitarian law, prior to any justice or security sector assistance being provided.

In UN peacekeeping, training on human rights is central to preventing violations and abuses, and should remain an essential prerequisite by field missions and at UN Headquarters level. In this regard, the UK ensures British military and police personnel deployed to the UN receive training on all core UN modules, including identifying human rights violations and abuses, actions to take if human rights abuse and violations are observed, and their duties as peacekeepers to protect and promote the rights of children.

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