British Government Appoints Roving Human Rights Ambassador

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the appointment of Rita French as the country’s first roving Human Rights Ambassador. The new ambassador will help lead efforts to improve human rights across the world.

Hunt said in a statement:

“As the UK enters a new chapter in its history I will work to ensure that our values are at the heart of all we do. Ambassador French’s new role will be central to our work in defending human rights across the globe. Standing up for human rights is not only the right thing – it helps to create a stable, more prosperous world.”

French said in a statement:

“Human rights are the essential foundations for a fair, open and transparent society. It is tragic that in too many countries these rights are violated and abused. I will speak up for human rights, providing a voice on the international stage for those who are not being represented. I also wish to form stronger partnerships with States, supporting their efforts to fulfil their human rights obligations.”

British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Meet with Libyan Prime Minister

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, have today met with Fayez Al-Serraj, the Prime Minister of Libya. There were discussions about the humanitarian situation in Libya and Al-Serraj called for more help with dealing with the ongoing crisis.

Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:

“The UK government shares Prime Minister Serraj’s grave concern at the situation across Libya, where the security and humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Recent violence has caused the displacement of thousands of people and blocked emergency aid to casualties, including civilians. It is imperative that all parties respect International Humanitarian Law.

In our discussions today, we called on Prime Minister Serraj to encourage all sides to commit to a ceasefire, secure humanitarian access for those desperately in need and return to UN-led political negotiations. We’ve been clear that there can be no military solution in Libya – diplomacy is the only way to bring this bloodshed and uncertainty to a close.”

Government Advise Against Non-Essential Travel to Sri Lanka

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has warned against all non-essential travel to Sri Lanka following a series of terrorist attacks in the country earlier in the week. The number of dead has been reduced down from previous estimates to around 253 people, but fears remain about further attacks.

Hunt said:

“Following the horrific attacks on Easter Sunday, and the ongoing Sri Lankan security operation, I have received updated advice from the Foreign Office and decided to update the travel advice to British nationals to Sri Lanka to advise against all but essential travel.

We will keep this decision under close and constant review. My first priority will always be the security of British citizens living and travelling abroad.

We all hope the situation will return to normal very soon, and that the Sri Lankan tourism industry is able to get back on its feet following the terrorist attacks. We will do all we can to help the Sri Lankan authorities.”

Foreign Secretary Issues Statement Following Attacks in Terrorist Attacks in Sri Lanka

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has issued a statement following a series of terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. There are currently 207 people confirmed as dead with over 450 more injured, although the total is expected to rise over the coming days.

Hunt said:

“I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the horrifying attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka today, and the tragic news of more than 200 people killed, including several British nationals.

To target those gathered for the simple act of worship on Easter Sunday is unspeakably wicked. Everyone has a right to practice their faith in peace, safety and security but tragedies like this, and the one in Christchurch, remind us that there are some who hate these rights and freedoms.

These despicable acts were carried out at a time when millions of Christians celebrate Easter while living under the shadow of persecution. Many gather in churches at risk of attack; countless more will have suffered threats or discrimination.

The UK stands in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world and with the government and people of Sri Lanka. My prayers are with all the victims and their families.”

Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, posted on Twitter:

“Terrible to wake up to the news of the explosions in Sri Lanka this morning. My thoughts and deepest sympathies to those who are injured, those have lost loved ones and those involved in rescue efforts.”

Foreign Secretary Welcomes Action Against Russia

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has said that the British Government welcomes moves by the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States against Russian aggression in Ukraine. There will also be EU sanctions imposed against a number of Russian individuals in an attempt to put pressure on Vladimir Putin, the Russian President.

Hunt said in a statement:

“Today, the UK and our international partners in the EU, Australia, Canada and the US have sent an unequivocal message to Russia that their attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait and Black Sea last year was absolutely unacceptable. These sanctions are another example of the international community standing up to Russia as it persistently violates international law. We will continue to take necessary action together in response to Russia’s efforts to destabilise Ukraine.

Russia must immediately release the 24 detained servicemen and return the seized vessels. We remain deeply concerned for the safety and welfare of the servicemen who are unjustly held in Russian custody. Russia must allow free and unhindered passage of Ukrainian and international ships through the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. We, with our international partners, stand with Ukraine in opposing Russia’s ongoing efforts to undermine Ukrainian security, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

UK Gives Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Diplomatic Protection

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been given diplomatic protection. The unusual move is intended to secure the release of the joint UK-Iranian citizen who the British Government have claimed is being denied medical treatment.

Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:

“Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is an innocent woman who has spent the last three years in an Iranian jail, separated from her daughter and husband. We have been working hard to secure her release but despite repeated efforts have not been successful. We have not even been able to secure her the medical treatment she urgently needs despite assurances to the contrary.

So I have today decided that the UK will take a step that is extremely unusual and exercise diplomatic protection. This represents formal recognition by the British Government that her treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law and elevates it to a formal State to State issue.

I have not taken this decision lightly. I have considered the unacceptable treatment Nazanin has received over three years, including not just lack of access to medical treatment but also lack of due process in the proceedings brought against her. My decision is an important diplomatic step which signals to Tehran that its behaviour is totally wrong. It is unlikely to be a magic wand that leads to an overnight result. But it demonstrates to the whole world that Nazanin is innocent and the UK will not stand by when one of its citizens is treated so unjustly.

Iran is one of the oldest civilisations in the world. I know there are many in Iran who understand the unjustness of this situation. No government should use innocent individuals as pawns for diplomatic leverage so I call on Iran to release this innocent woman so she can be reunited with her family.”

Foreign Secretary Congratulates Greece on Settling Macedonia Name Conflict

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has congratulated Greece on passing legislation which resolves a long-standing disagreement on the use of the word Macedonia.

Hunt said in a statement:

“The UK congratulates Greece’s Parliament for successfully ratifying the Prespes Agreement. This is an historic moment bringing a decades-old dispute close to an end. Today’s vote paves the way to the full implementation of the Agreement, which has the full support of the UK.

Both countries have demonstrated great courage and the will to work together to affect real change. The deal brings the prospect of increased stability and prosperity to the wider region. We look forward to continued working with two trusted allies in the interests of European security.”

Guy Verhofstadt, the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, posted on Facebook:

“A historic moment! Congrats to the Republic of #NorthMacedonia, Greece, Alexis Tsipras & Zoran Zaev for solving this 27 year dispute. A vital step towards reconciliation in the Western Balkans and a breakthrough in Skopje’s EU path.”