Human Rights

Tuesday 12th May 2020

(2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Department for International Trade
Dr Rupa Huq Portrait Dr Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) (Lab) - Hansard

15. What recent discussions she has had with UK trade partners on including clauses on human rights in future trade deals. [902551]

Greg Hands Portrait The Minister for Trade Policy (Greg Hands) - Hansard

The UK has a strong history of safeguarding human rights and promoting our values globally. Our strong economic relationships with trading partners allow the Government to have open discussions on a range of important issues, including human rights. We continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations.

Dr Rupa Huq Portrait Dr Huq [V] - Hansard

Twenty-one countries have been listed where negotiations are ongoing with regard to rolling over existing trade agreements beyond 31 December. A number of those countries have shockingly poor human rights records, including Cameroon, Egypt, Singapore, Uganda and South Sudan. Will the Minister tell us whether human rights are part of those discussions? Also, in order to ensure that there is no saying one thing and doing another while everyone is diverted by coronavirus, will he guarantee the inclusion of human rights clauses in any eventual deals?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands - Hansard

I think the hon. Lady is referring to the various EU agreements. She was a passionate campaigner —and, I think, still is—to remain in the EU. Of course, if we had remained we would still be in those trade agreements with the self-same countries that she mentioned, but we are clear that the UK will remain a strong voice for human rights and that more trade does not have to come at the expense of human rights, and we will continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations.