We have asked all of the Leadership and Deputy Leadership Candidates to provide a short statement on their approach to human rights. Below is the statement from Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP.
The UK has a proud history of humanitarian assistance, we must ensure that continues. We must not ever allow ourselves to turn a blind eye. Every single human life has equal value, no matter where that person was born, what language they speak or what they look like. Humanity must have no borders.
This isn’t just something I believe in principle – I act on it. My work as a humanitarian doctor has taken me to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where grieving mothers told me devastating accounts of having their babies ripped from their arms and murdered before their eyes. The guilt of coming home to my own three year old and five year old left me unable to sleep at night. Why should their lives be of more value to the world than those of the Rohingya children, brutally slaughtered and left without a dignified burial?
I first entered politics to cast a light on humanitarian efforts across the world – to give a voice to the voiceless. The foreign policy of any future Labour government must have human rights and the protection of these rights at the very heart of it.
We are an internationalist party and we must continue to stand against any effort to restrict freedoms all over the world. To help achieve this, we must lead by example by putting human rights at the forefront of our own domestic policy.
The Labour Party has made great strides in protecting human rights here in the UK, however we must continue to move forward. Clement Attlee’s Labour Government recognised that the state has a pivotal role in protecting rights at home through the creation of our NHS and the welfare state, and by overseeing the biggest social house building programme ever seen in Europe.
The Labour Government realised that to guarantee the access to these new rights, people would need access to legal support and advice. By funding Legal Aid, Labour guaranteed that everyone had access to dedicated advice regarding the services they use and ensured people were not being taken advantage of by the legal system.
Cuts to Legal Aid has since created an environment where legal help is often denied. To help people enforce their rights, I am fully committed to restoring all early legal advice – including for housing, social security, family and immigration cases.
I agree that more can be done to protect our rights at home, and I am of course supportive of enshrining our economic, social and cultural rights in law just as our civil rights. I will be led by experts on the best way to achieve this and on how it would be best implemented, but I am fully committed to ensuring that the protection of these rights are held to the same standard and scrutiny as our political and civil rights.
I have seen with my own eyes how human life is not valued equally across the world. It lit a fire in my belly to continue fighting such injustice, no matter where in the world it takes place.
We are delighted that Dr Allin-Khan has signed up to our Human Rights Pledge.