FCO appointments offer opportunity to withdraw British support for countries ‘involved in torture’

Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to shake up the ministerial team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is an opportunity to reset the UK’s priorities abroad, a human rights group has said.

Reprieve said the appointment of Mark Field as FO minister and Rory Stewart and Alistair Burt as ministers working across the Foreign Office and DFID is a chance for a fresh start.

The group says they want the Foreign Office’s new ministers to:

  • End financial support for foreign police and criminal justice institutions involved in torture and the death penalty;
  • “Do what it takes” to bring home innocent British citizens facing human rights abuses abroad, like Andy Tsege in Ethiopia and Kris Maharaj in the US;
  • “Stand up to dictators”, including “so-called allies in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, who execute protestors and juveniles”;
  • And to withdraw the UK’s “unconditional support for Trump’s secret and illegal drone wars around the world”.

Bella Sankey, deputy director at Reprieve, (pictured) said: “Reprieve congratulates Mark Field, Rory Stewart and Alistair Burt on their appointments to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

“These new ministers will add some much-needed independence and insight to the FCO’s team.

“We hope they will urgently review UK funding for human rights violators overseas and work to bring home British citizens facing grave abuses like Andy Tsege and Kris Maharaj.”

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