Baroness Anelay will make her first official visit to Central America and Mexico this week. The Minister will discuss our shared values, priorities and interests in the region in a programme which will focus prominently on promoting human - and in particular women’s - rights as well as respect for the rule of law.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Baroness Anelay said:
I am delighted to visit Central America and Mexico and look forward to demonstrating the UK’s strong commitment to the four countries on this trip.
I am particularly keen to discuss the positive work that is being carried out to promote and protect human rights and look forward to visiting some UK funded projects that are protecting women and girls from violence and setting them on a path to a brighter future.
I am keen to explore ways that the UK can further build on our many shared interests in this region and look forward to exchanging views with a wide variety of people.
Starting the visit in Guatemala on 12 December, the Minister will meet Vice President Jafeth Cabrera and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Raul Morales, to discuss a range of bilateral issues.
Baroness Anelay will also highlight the UK’s support for projects that promote sustainable development, boost transparency and tackle corruption in the country. Continuing to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to work around the world to prevent all forms of violence against women and girls, Baroness Anelay will visit a project funded by the British Embassy which helps girls at risk of violence, including sexual abuse, and aims to keep them in school and away from gangs.
Baroness Anelay will then travel to El Salvador, which takes on the rotating presidency of the regional Community of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (CELAC) in 2017. The Minister will build on the rapidly-expanding relations between the two countries by having discussions on human rights, transparency and business issues. The UK and El Salvador’s relationship has strengthened in recent years through joint efforts within the UN Human Rights Council - the Presidency of which El Salvador will take over in 2017.
While in El Salvador the Minister will meet the Vice President and members of the country’s Executive to discuss human rights challenges, with a particular focus on protecting the rights of women and children in marginalised communities. She will also visit a UK-funded project that provides sexual education and aims to reduce teenage pregnancy.
In Honduras, Baroness Anelay will discuss ways to strengthen further the UK’s relations with the country, while enhancing mutual cooperation on human rights, the fight against corruption and women’s empowerment. The Minister will meet the President’s Chief of Staff, government officials and the Mission of Support Against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH) to stress the UK’s commitment to open and accountable governance. She will also meet with the President of the Honduran Congress to discuss progress on a joint UK-funded project based on studying the effectiveness of current laws against human trafficking in the country.
To conclude the visit, Baroness Anelay will visit Mexico where she will promote the UK’s work on human rights, security and justice. These conversations will advance discussions on these issues that the then Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP, held with the Mexican authorities during his visit to Mexico City in May 2016. Baroness Anelay’s visit will be the latest in a series of ministerial visits – in both directions – which have continued since the March 2015 State Visit to the UK by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
While in Mexico City, the Minister will also participate in an event at the Supreme Court for women working in the justice sector. Participants will speak about their personal experiences and raise awareness of the importance of women’s involvement in the justice system. Baroness Anelay will also meet the Undersecretary for Human Rights to emphasise UK support for Mexico in this area. A meeting with local journalists will allow the Minister to discuss the issue of freedom of expression in Mexico and the problems that those working in this area can face. Just before her departure, Baroness Anelay will also meet the new Attorney General, Raul Cervantes.