Britain will not duck human rights issues with allies: Hague
Britain will not hesitate to raise human rights issues even with countries where it wants better trade links, Foreign Secretary William Hague was to say in a keynote speech Wednesday.
There was a "serious erosion of trust" in Britain's foreign policy under former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Hague will say according to pre-released extracts, adding that the current incumbents wanted to do better.
Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government, which took power in May, has spoken of the importance of boosting Britain's economic links with major fast-growing economies like China and India as it emerges from recession.
"We will raise our concerns about human rights wherever and whenever those concerns arise, including those countries with whom we are seeking closer ties," Hague will say, according to the extracts from the Foreign Office.
He will acknowledge there are always "tensions between ideals and actions" and that it is important to recognise that different countries would develop at different paces. He will also warn against "arrogance" in diplomacy.
But that does not mean ignoring issues like arbitrary imprisonment, political and religious persecution or a lack of transparency, Hague will say.
Cameron's government has announced an inquiry into claims its security services were complicit in the torture of suspected violent extremists on foreign soil after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
And Hague is to set up a new group including aid agencies and experts to advise ministers on human rights.
Elsewhere in the speech, he will sharply criticise elements of Britain's foreign policy under Blair and Brown.
"The experiences of Iraq and the world since 9/11 have caused a serious erosion of trust in the integrity of British foreign policy and the widespread view that we fell short of international standards while seeking to combat terrorism," Hague will say.
The speech in London is the latest in a series by Hague outlining the government's foreign policy.
© 2010 AFP