COMMONS

Foreign Affairs Committee investigates FCO's human rights work

31 March 2011

The Foreign Affairs Committee today announced an inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s human rights work, including the department’s 2010 human rights report which has been published today

The Committee invites submissions of evidence which assess the FCO’s human rights work in 2010-11. The Committee expects to publish a Report before the 2011 Summer Recess. In its Report, the Committee may focus on particular areas of the FCO’s human rights work, in the light of evidence received. It would particularly welcome submissions which address:

  • the content and format of the FCO’s report, Human Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report;
  • the extent to which there have been any changes in the FCO’s approach to human rights under the Coalition Government, compared to the previous Government;
  • the effectiveness of the FCO’s human rights work, and how this can be assessed; and
  • the relationship between the FCO’s human rights work and the emphasis which the Government is placing on the promotion of UK economic and commercial interests in UK foreign policy.

The Committee plans to hold evidence sessions for this inquiry on 4 and 23 May 2011.

Submitting evidence:

The Committee encourages interested groups or individuals to make written submissions to its inquiry. Submissions should be received by 28 April 2011; earlier submissions would be appreciated.

Written submissions must be no longer than 3,000 words. Each submission should contain the following information:

  • a short summary in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, perhaps explaining their area of expertise;
  • any factual information from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions, or which could be put to other witnesses; and
  • any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the submitter would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its Report to the House.

Each submission should use numbered paragraphs, and be in MS Word format with as little use of colour/logos as possible.

Submissions should be sent as an e-mail attachment to foraffcom@parliament.uk with the subject line ‘Human Rights Inquiry 2011’. Paper copies may be sent to Foreign Affairs Committee, Committee Office, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.

View further information about submitting evidence.

Inquiry-related questions:

For questions in connection with this inquiry, please contact Brigid Fowler, Committee Specialist, on 020 7219 4082 or by email to fowlerb@parliament.uk

Media enquiries:

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488488 or by email to patersona@parliament.uk

Background information:

On 31 March 2011, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) published its annual human rights report, the first under the present Government.* The Report covers calendar year 2010. The FCO is to update its report regularly online; the update covering January-March 2011 was also published on 31 March.**

The Foreign Affairs Committee has conducted an annual human rights inquiry, on the basis of the FCO’s report, each year since 1998 (with the exception of 2010, owing to the Dissolution and the change of Government).

* FCO, Human Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report, Cm 8017, March 2011 
** www.fco.gov.uk/hrdreport

Image: iStockphoto

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