Foreign Secretary marks International Human Rights Day

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Foreign Secretary has paid tribute to courage and dedication of human rights activists campaigning for peaceful social and political change via the internet on social networking sites around the world.

To mark the International Human Rights Day on 10 December, the Foreign Secretary said:

“This year thousands of ordinary citizens across the Middle East took to the streets demanding political freedom and economic opportunity in their countries. Many found their voices using social media and blogs.

“Today, on International Human Rights Day, I applaud their commitment and courage and renew Britain’s pledge to support the practical promotion of human rights worldwide, including on the internet.

“The Internet and social media has allowed people who would otherwise never meet to reach a potentially unlimited audience, to forge new connections and mobilise behind ideas, and change the course of governments and history.

“But we must constantly guard against the growing trend of the use of the internet as a means of political repression in many countries. Human rights should carry full force online: not just the right to privacy, but the right to freedom of expression. Britain is working with other countries to build a wider consensus about freedom of expression on the internet.

“So over the coming year and beyond, Britain will be at the forefront of efforts to promote freedom, on the internet and across the world; working with our allies to stand up for universal human rights.”