Supporting Human Rights, Democracy and the Rules Based International System: objectives 2018 to 2019
Friday, 02 November 2018
Human rights violations and abuses and the absence of the rule of law lead to unstable and less prosperous societies. They create a world where terrorism flourishes and where the safety of all individuals, including British Citizens, is at greater risk. The FCO works to tackle the root causes of human rights violations and abuses, strengthen institutions and governance, promote and protect human rights, and support democracy and the rule of law. This covers a wide range of activity in support of the FCO’s Strategic Objective to project our global influence. This work helps deliver the UK Aid Strategy by building prosperous and democratic countries, tackling the drivers of instability and insecurity, and addressing global challenges. It also helps advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

FCO objectives on supporting human rights, democracy and the rules based international system
The UK promotes and defends the full range of universal human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. The UK strongly encourages all States to abide by and fulfil their obligations under international law. The principal funding vehicle for the FCO’s human rights work is the Magna Carta Fund (MCF). FCO objectives currently place a particular emphasis on:

* working closely with domestic and international partners to drive international efforts to combat modern slavery and ensure that this effort is recognised as a global moral imperative
* standing up for the freedom of people of any or no religion to practise their beliefs in peace and safety
* defending the right to freedom of expression, especially for journalists and media
* supporting the right of human rights defenders to carry out their work, while being able to voice their opinions freely and safely
* promoting the development and strengthening of democracy, including through the work of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy
* opposing the death penalty and the use of torture as a matter of principle, in all circumstances
Gender equality is a cross-cutting priority for our work on supporting human rights and democracy and on strengthening the rules based international system. The UK government is committed to a foreign policy that consciously and consistently delivers for women and girls. This includes:
* working with international partners to provide the opportunity for all girls to receive 12 years of quality education
* tackling survivor stigma, securing justice and accountability, and preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict
* delivering HMG’s National Action Plan commitments on Women, Peace and Security including on women’s decision-making, gender-based violence and preventing and countering violent extremism
* supporting the right for all people, irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity, to live with dignity, free from prejudice, violence or discrimination
Under the rules based international system (RBIS), the UK focuses on strengthening relationships between States through international institutions and frameworks, with shared rules and agreements on behaviour. Specific objectives are:
* strengthening the efficiency and capacity of the United Nations, the world’s leading multilateral institution
* strengthening the rule of law across Commonwealth countries, a worl-dwide partnership of di-versity and shared values
* supporting the International Criminal Court and other tribunals involved in global efforts to end impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern
* working with business and civil society, including to support adherence to the UN Guiding Principles on Responsible Business

Official Development Assistance (ODA) and supporting human rights, democracy and the rules based international system
The struggle to protect, promote and strengthen human rights is real and constant. Where human rights are not adequately protected, it creates a cycle of insecurity, instability, and poverty. Human rights are more than just principles enshrined in international law. They are the bedrock of successful and progressive societies.
Countries where human rights are respected, including those with a strong record on gender equality, tend to be more prosperous, democratic and stable. Corruption is less likely to take root, and extremism is less likely to find fertile ground. That is why safeguarding, promoting and defending human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, is a key and integral part of our work.

This programme strand is a blend of ODA and non-ODA. ODA scoring within this programme is limited to ODA-eligible countries. Amongst others, the majority of the 30 Human Rights Priority Countries identified in the FCO’s Annual Human Rights Report are eligible to receive ODA funding.
This programme compliments the FCO’s wider work in support of human rights, democracy and the rules based international system including projects under other cross-Whitehall programmes, such as the cross-government Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

Supporting human rights, democracy and the rules based international system objectives
This programme supports all four strategic objectives under the UK Aid Strategy and helps advance the UN SDGs. Projects cover a wide range of themes, reflecting the breadth of ambition described above, ranging from projects promoting and defending human rights, democracy and the rule of law to strengthening multilateral institutions and building stability, security and good governance overseas.

Supporting human rights, democracy and the rules based international system programme during financial year 2017 to 2018
In financial year 2017 to 2018, the MCF and RBIS programmes supported at least 165 projects across the range of themes. By their nature, the impact of many of these projects will best be judged over the long term. Successes in 2017 to 2018 included:
* supporting an NGO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide medical and psychosocial assistance to over 1,410 victims of sexual violence
* funding a Death Penalty Project in Kenya to train judges, lawyers and NGO members to transition to a new discretionary sentencing system following the abolition of the mandatory death penalty
* working with the Indian garment sector to promote workers’ rights and tackle forced labour and sexual violence. About 12,000 women in 11 factories have benefitted, and British brands have collaborated with the project, providing long-term sustainability
* helping civil society organisations access and participate in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Civil society actors in key countries publish reports on the local human rights situation which served as evidence to support calls for action. This has given civil society a voice and a stake in the UPR process, making it more effective
* assisting World Vision in three countries to support faith leaders in changing community attitudes towards women and girls who are survivors of sexual violence, and children born of rape
* supporting the work of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) to help deliver justice to millions of victims of the Khmer Rouge regime and hold the most responsible perpetrators to account, securing the conviction of some of the regime’s most senior figures. The court’s outreach programme has involved over 400,000 Cambodians