Election issues #3: Human rights and foreign aid

June 3, 2017
In our third daily look at issues at this election, we consider the worrying potential erosion of fundamental human rights. In part, these are under threat from our planned departure from the EU. We believe that the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights must be maintained and defended. Meanwhile, the government has gone back on its promises with regards accepting Syrian child refugees – an incredibly cruel u-turn.

It is clear that many people are worried about the situation, as reflected in the number of lobbying emails at this general election. The Green Party views human rights as sacrosanct. We also reject the line of some other parties that we should reduce our foreign aid budget – indeed, we believe that it should be increased. Past poor use of foreign aid is no reason to reduce it; it needs to be focused and properly monitored to ensure it reaches the people most in need. In this way, we can aid the removal of inequalities around the world, which benefits everyone. And it isn’t a trade-off – we can still provide proper funding for our own public services and look after the most vulnerable people in the UK without cutting foreign aid.

 Among our policies that are relevant to this area, within our election manifesto, are the following:
  • A humane immigration and asylum system that recognises and takes responsibility for Britain’s ongoing role in causing the flow of migrants worldwide.
  • Implement a UK-wide strategy to tackle gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape and sexual abuse, FGM and trafficking.
  • An ethical foreign policy that builds capacity for conflict resolution, and end support to aggressive wars of intervention. No more arms sales to oppressive regimes.
  • Trade rules that respect human rights, labour standards, environmental standards and climate commitments with mechanisms for individuals, groups and communities to bring grievances.
  • Strengthen the global deal on climate change, including by delivering climate justice and promoting ecologically sustainable development so that poorer countries can cope with the impacts of climate change.
  • Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP.
  • Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.
  • Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU
  • Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.
  • Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, and reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  • Action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership.

Our parliamentary candidate, Martin Whybrow, states: “I am passionate about retaining and strengthening our existing human rights in the UK and around the world. Indeed, I am a long-standing member of Amnesty International and fully support the wonderful work that they do. I am also actively involved in the Welcome Refugees initiative here in Shepway which, among other things, is looking at the potential community sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family (we have a visit shortly to see this scheme in action in London). Support for human rights is at the core of Green Party policy.”