Michael Moore: UK is committed to protecting the rights of all

Michael Moore. Picture: Jane Barlow
Michael Moore. Picture: Jane Barlow
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TODAY MARKS International Human Rights Day. We all have human rights. They exist for all of us and they should affect every aspect of our day-to-day lives.

The horrors of the Second World War saw the adoption of the United Nations’ “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, which sought to set out the fundamental human rights that we should all enjoy: from the right to life, the right not to be tortured and the right not to be enslaved to the right to freedom of expression.

Sadly, human rights abuses still happen around the world. People are tortured and killed in Syria for calling for reforms.

Girls are being denied education in Afghanistan. People are imprisoned without a fair trial in too many places across the globe.

We should not just sit back and do nothing. Individually and collectively, we all have a role to play in speaking out and challenging human rights abuses wherever they might be happening because of our common humanity.

As a long-standing member of Amnesty International, I know that speaking out can make a vital difference.

The UK government is taking action globally. Human rights are indivisible from our foreign policy objectives: there will be no downgrading of human rights by this government.

We continue to exercise our global influence as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to uphold international human rights treaties and speak out on human rights abuses.

This includes pledging to use the UK’s presidency of the G8 next year to secure support for conflict-affected countries and for a new international protocol on sexual violence in conflict.

Human rights, however, isn’t just something for people on the other side of the world. That’s why the Scottish Liberal Democrats set up the Scottish Human Rights Commission in 2006.

That’s also why the Liberal Democrats have made it loud and clear that the Human Rights Act is here to stay.

As a Liberal Democrat, I firmly believe that the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic legislation was an essential move. It must remain the case.

• Michael Moore MP is Secretary of State for Scotland