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Press Release Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Press Releases

Baroness Warsi launches campaign for UK's election to UN's Human Rights Council

Foreign and Commonwealth Office press release

Today, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi, will mark International Human Rights Day by hosting the London launch of the United Kingdom's campaign for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The UK is standing for election to the UN's Human Rights Council next year to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of efforts to drive forward the human rights agenda. Calling to account countries that commit the most serious and widespread violations against their own citizens, ensuring the Human Rights Council is at the forefront of the international response to international crises and fighting hard against those who seek to weaken or undermine international human rights mechanisms.

The UK's campaign will focus on four key human rights priorities: protecting those most vulnerable in societies, working towards human dignity for all, responding proactively to evolving challenges, and keeping human rights at the heart of multilateral priorities.

Marking Human Rights Day Baroness Warsi said:

"International Human Rights Day is a stark reminder that there are still too many around the world who are not able to enjoy fundamental freedoms. It is important to focus on those who are fighting for their rights and the rights of their loved ones, those who are prepared to put themselves in danger for a better future for others and to remember those who have left a legacy to inspire us all.

"We must keep those voices at the heart of our efforts to promote and protect human rights around the world.

"I am proud of the UK's commitment to protecting those most vulnerable in our societies. Across the world, too many people are discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or gender-identity. The reasons for discrimination are many, and we must tackle the causes and the acts themselves."

Speaking later today at the reception for the London launch of the UK's campaign for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Baroness Warsi will say:

"We believe in a Human Rights Council that can make its voice heard, even when the issues are unpopular or difficult to hear. A Council that is not bogged down by politics, but where the rights of the individual are paramount. A body where states are held accountable for their actions against their citizens, where peers review peers.

"I believe strongly that we have an important role to play, which is why the UK is standing for election. We bring experience, commitment and ambition. We want to play a part in strengthening the Council, as we have since its inception in 2006. In that time the Human Rights Council has grown in status and effectiveness.

"Through the Council, we have called to account countries who commit the most heinous and systematic violations against their citizens. We have actively supported the Human Rights Council's international response to the crisis in Syria. We have also run thematic initiatives including through a resolution which used the Olympics to promote awareness on human rights through sport and established a commitment with the future hosts of the Games to do the same."

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