The Government should establish a new Human Rights Advisory Committee (HRAC)

The protection and promotion of human rights is rightly seen as an important priority for the UK government in its foreign policy. However, the Foreign Office (FCO) is not at present adequately advised or accountable for its work on the issue.

The FCO currently produces its own annual report on human rights, which includes an assessment of government spending on human rights projects overseas, goals for its work on human rights, and its list of Human Rights Priority Countries (HRPC). This annual report has been criticised by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee for lacking measurable targets, whilst the list of HRPCs is seen as politicised.

We believe that the FCO’s work on human rights would be improved and prioritised through the establishment of a high-profile Human Rights Advisory Committee.  The committee would be similar to other high-profile government committees, such the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and the Social Mobility Commission (SMC). Members of the committee would be appointed by government.

The Foreign Office (FCO) is not adequately advised or accountable for its work on human rights. The government should establish a new Human Rights Advisory Committee, which  should have four key functions:

  1. Advise on key annual targets for the FCO on human rights;

  2. Hold the FCO to account on achieving these targets through the publication of an annual evaluation report;

  3. Advise on which countries should be on the FCO list of Human Rights Priority Countries (HRPC);

  4. Advise on and assess the impact of spending through the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy


Bright Blue is still seeking support for its latest campaign to establish a human rights advisory committee. If an organisation would like to add their voice to our campaign, please email James Dobson (james@brightblue.org.uk) for further details.