FCO's human rights work in 2012: terms of reference

17 April 2013

The Foreign Affairs Committee is announcing an inquiry into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s human rights work in 2012.

They will be taking as a starting point the Department’s 2012 Report on Human Rights and Democracy, published on Monday 15 April.

The Committee invites submissions of evidence on any aspect of the UK’s human rights work for which the FCO has responsibility. The main areas covered by the FCO’s 2012 Report on Human Rights and Democracy include:

  • Efforts to promote and protect human rights through the UN;
  • Promotion of British human rights values in the fields of democracy, criminal justice and the rule of law, and equality and non-discrimination;
  • Human rights in safeguarding Britain’s national security;
  • Human rights in promoting Britain’s prosperity; and
  • Human rights in ‘countries of concern’

The Committee would particularly welcome submissions which address:

  • The FCO’s efforts to strengthen the ability of states to counter terrorism whilst working to protect human rights in those states, as described by the Secretary of State in his speech on 14 February 2013 on Countering Terrorism Overseas;
  • The 11 April declaration by G8 Foreign Ministers on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and the impact of the FCO’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, launched in May 2012;
  • Threats to freedom of expression through the media, including the jamming of broadcasts and the growing trend of imposing controls on access to the internet.

The Committee plans to hold evidence sessions for this inquiry before the Summer Recess.

Submitting written evidence

Written submissions on the UK's response to extremism and political instability in North and West Africa the themes listed above are invited and should be received by the Committee no later than 25 May 2013.

Form of written evidence:

Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words. The main body of any submission should use numbered paragraphs. Each submission should contain:

  • a short summary, perhaps in bullet point form;
  • a brief introduction about the person or organisation submitting evidence, perhaps explaining their area of expertise or experience;
  • 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.

    Submissions should be in MS Word format with No use of colour and logos.
    Further information on submitting evidence can be found at:

Submitting evidence:

Submissions should be sent as an e-mail attachment to and the email entitled “Human Rights Inquiry”.

Paper copies may be sent to Foreign Affairs Committee, Committee Office, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA.
Inquiry-related questions:
contact Kenneth Fox, Clerk of the Committee, on 020 7219 3278 or by email to
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

Image: iStockphoto

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