Human Rights

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding human rights, the Human Rights Act and the related campaign by Amnesty International.

I agree that promoting justice, equality and human rights should be absolutely central to Britain’s domestic and foreign policy. I also appreciate, as Amnesty International emphasise, that in too many parts of the world basic human rights are under threat and human rights abuses continue.

Labour will uphold human rights domestically and promote them abroad. We will put human rights, individual freedom and democracy at the heart of our foreign policy and we will help promote gender equality, the eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth. Labour will appoint Lord Michael Cashman as our International LGBT Rights Envoy to help work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide. We will also appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Labour will defend the Human Rights Act and reform the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). I am proud that the previous Labour Government introduced the Human Rights Act, which protects basic rights, such as the right to a fair trial, the right to life and the right to privacy. The Human Rights Act remains a crucial check against unaccountable state power and vested interests and I believe the Conservatives’ plan to abolish it would severely weaken the rights of British citizens. The Conservatives also plan to leave the ECHR, even though our membership of it gives Britain greater moral authority to demand change of those with weaker human rights records.

I also believe that the UK must remain at the heart of global efforts to uphold the international global ban on torture. Torture is utterly unacceptable, abhorrent and inhumane. Evidence of torture weakens those who commit it and we must strengthen international resolve to prevent it.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for campaigning on this issue. I hope this letter outlines why I believe it is so important we have a Labour Government that will protect and promote human rights at home and abroad.