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Richard Moore

FCO Political Director

Part of FCDO Human Rights

10th December 2016 London, UK

International Human Rights Day

10 December is Human Rights Day and around the world British Embassies will be expressing their commitment to universal fundamental rights.

We do this because human rights are important in themselves. But they are also good for our societies and economies.

The World Bank have said respect for human rights can “improve development outcomes and the quality of economic growth, both in short and in longer terms.”

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, “rule of law” is one of the top three considerations when big companies make foreign investment decisions. They also look at political stability, and as the UN Secretary General has said “if we want stability and security – we need sustainable development and respect for human rights”.

These are all reasons why the UK government attaches importance to human rights around the world. Turkey has been through a tough year.  The UK stood firm with Turkey on 15 July in defence of an elected government and democratic institutions.  We understand the need to prosecute those involved in the coup and in subverting Turkish institutions.  UK ministers have also urged a proportionate response that respects the rule of law and freedom of expression.

But this is not just about governments. For human rights to be protected, we need strong, innovative and diverse civil society.

That’s why we support civil society organisations around the world, including here in Turkey. Just this week, for example, NGOs with our support will be organising events to increase protections for minorities in Istanbul, find innovative ways to get Syrian refugee children into education and combat human trafficking. We have also supported organisations from the Black Sea to Bursa.

Today is a day to celebrate their important work and the contribution made by civil society around the world.

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