You are here: Examples of government spokespeople and politicians engaging in rhetoric which undermines the value placed on the rules-based international order

Please note, this list is not exhaustive. Job titles reflect positions held at the time of making the remarks.

  • Prime Minister Theresa May’s promise to abolish human rights laws if they “get in the way” of attempts to combat terrorism (June 2017)
  • Work and Pensions secretary Damian Green dismissing a report of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as “patronising and offensive” (November 2016)
  • Prime Minister Theresa May characterising attempts to apply international laws to British military actions as “activist, left-wing human rights lawyers [who] harangue and harass the bravest of the brave” (October 2016)
  • Government rhetoric on the European Convention on Human Rights (May 2016)
  • Philip Davies MP’s racially charged attack on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association in which he said (of the Kenyan Special Rapporteur), “this lecture on human rights by somebody from Africa is staggering. He should clear off back to his own continent to look at some of the grotesque abuses of human rights that take place on a daily basis led by people like Robert Mugabe.” The Government failed to defend the rapporteur in an official response (April 2016)
  • Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond's comments on the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), saying they had made "a ridiculous finding", and attacking the credibility of the experts involved (February 2016)
  • Foreign Minister Hugo Swire mocking findings of UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on twitter (February 2016)
  • Stewart Jackson MP describing the UN's special rapporteur on housing as a "loopy Brazilian leftie with no evidence masquerading as a serious UN official". She was also referred to in the media as a "Brazil nut"  and "a dabbler in witchcraft who offered an animal sacrifice to Marx”, yet the official Government response was not to defend the rapporteur but to state that they found her conclusions “staggering” (September 2013)