Human Rights Watch


Human Rights Watch have written an open letter to all the leaders of UK political leaders.

They write: "The outcome of the general election on 12 December has the potential to greatly affect human rights in the UK and through the UK’s foreign policy around the world. For that reason, we are keen to hear the position of your party on eight key human rights questions."

Some of their questions to party leaders include: 

  • What steps will you take to defend the Human Rights Act? 
  • Will you commit to maintaining a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and to ensuring that UK arms export licences are applied rigorously when there is evidence of war crimes by a receiving state?
  • Will you publicly intervene when human rights defenders and journalists around the world are persecuted, imprisoned or killed for doing their jobs?
  • What steps will you take to ensure the UK maintains its leadership on human rights when pursuing trade deals and security cooperation with other countries?
  • What is your strategy for ensuring justice for war crimes, torture and other atrocity crimes, whether in Myanmar, Syria or elsewhere, and including when members of the British armed forces are implicated?

Human Rights Watch's UK Director (Acting), Benjamin Ward, has also written an article: UK Elections Are About More Than Brexit.

He writes: "with so many conflicts and challenges in the wider world at present, the need for principled UK leadership on human rights issues overseas is greater than ever....Given its huge implications for politics, the economy, society, and human rights, it is appropriate that Brexit is a central part of the election. But Brexit is neither the cause of nor the solution to every issue facing the UK. Voters in the UK deserve to hear politicians describe how they will tackle the human rights challenges of the future."