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Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of FCDO Human Rights UK in Holy See

30th April 2012

Human Rights and Democracy

Foreign Secretary William Hague launches Human Rights and Democracy: The 2011 Foreign & Commonwealth Report. London, 30 April 2012.

On 30 April the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, launched the FCO’s Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report for 2011. This is one of the British Government’s major annual human rights events, highlighting our global human rights priorities. It is intended to increase awareness of the UK’s role in promoting human rights worldwide, as well as to influence countries to take more concrete steps towards upholding and maintaining international human rights obligations. It details the successes there have been, and the challenges that remain.

The report highlights 28 featured countries of concern. This is not an exhaustive list, but they are amongst those countries where we have the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns.  And the report highlights key issues, including the death penalty on which Pope Benedict has spoken out recently, noting progress achieved or still to be made. Quite rightly, the report does not shy away from commenting on Britain’s own progress and failings. No country is perfect when it comes to upholding human rights, least of all my own. As an Embassy, we welcome the opportunity to discuss human rights issues with the Holy See, and we do so often.

At Westminster Hall, on 17 September 2010, during his State Visit to Britain, Pope Benedict acknowledged that as a result of its history “Britain has emerged as a pluralist democracy which places great value on freedom of speech, freedom of political affiliation and respect for the rule of law, with a strong sense of the individual’s rights and duties, and of the equality of all citizens before the law”. He noted that “Catholic social teaching has much in common with this approach”. These are values that we believe are fundamental to a dignified human existence, and should be part of the basic human condition in whichever country a person lives.

2 comments on “Human Rights and Democracy

  1. I believe human rights are an inalienable right for all ?

    Except for the children of Ireland?

    The Catholic church has damaged itself interminably and the UK should close its’ embassy to the Holy See in response to the cover up and “whitewash” to the child sex abuses?

    My deceased brother and myself were physically abused by the church when we were children and I have nothing but contempt for this corrupt organisisation.

    1. I believe human rights are inalienable right for all? Except for the children of Iraq? The United Kingdom has damaged itself interminably, and the Holy See should close its’ embassy to the UK in response to the cover up and “whitewash” into Weapons of Mass Destruction (and who helped arm Saddam in the first place). Thousands of Iraqis, including children, were abused by the UK via the WMD War and have nothing but contempt for the UK.

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.

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