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2009 Report on Human Rights, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Published March 2010

This annual report on human rights is released by the UK's Foreign & Commonwealth office. The foreward of the March 2010 edition, by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, states,

"The year was also defined by international efforts to solve global problems. The challenges of bringing the world out of recession, tackling climate change and combating global terrorism continued to dominate our work and international headlines. Both the problems themselves and our search for solutions bring into sharp relief the need for all governments to work together. Most recognise that justice, freedom and equality must underpin our work if it is to produce sustainable and positive change. But some governments are increasingly retreating to a defensive and isolationist view of human rights.

However, many of the issues covered in these pages highlight the growing tendency to once again claim human rights as a “Western” construct, unsuited to particular cultures and countries. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the government continues to insist that national security and cultural differences invalidate human rights obligations and justify subjecting humanitarian workers to severe restrictions. In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi is incarcerated on the basis of similar arguments that her battle for democracy undermines national security. Women are still denied their human rights in many parts of the world, on the basis that culture and religion render those rights inapplicable. The increasing threat to
gay people’s rights in some African countries reminds us that tolerance is a dream rather than a reality for much of the world’s population."

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