UK doubles human rights funding to £10.6m via new Magna Carta Fund

The UK government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office declared on Tuesday that funding to support Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s international human rights and democracy work has doubled to the highest ever level of GBP10.6m.

Previously known as the Human Rights and Democracy Programme, the new Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy 2016/17 is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s strategic programme dedicated to human rights and democracy work around the world.

With the intention of furthering British interests by supporting high-impact projects which promote institution-building, targeting universal issues and the underlying causes of human rights problems, the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy 2016/17 supports the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law through targeted projects overseas.

The fund has been increased to reflect the government’s strong commitment to human rights. The new rate of funding will also allow the FCO to achieve greater impact across its three core human rights themes: Democratic Values and the Rule of Law Strengthening the Rules-Based International Order Human Rights for a Stable World. These are said to provide British Embassies and High Commissions around the world with the flexibility to address the issues that matter most in the local context and to respond to developments.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond welcomed the increase in funding for the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, stating:

“This fund is an important tool for our diplomacy; helping to prevent conflict, strengthening the rule-based international system, and promoting human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

“Its impact in a wide variety of countries and contexts supports our case that human rights are in the interest of all. Doubling our spending in this area is a clear demonstration of this Government’s strong commitment to human rights.”

Human Rights Minister Baroness Anelay also commented, saying:

“This programme has a proven track record of delivering real change. It has the potential to be transformational and I am immensely proud that the funding available to support important human rights projects is more than ever before.

“By delivering these projects we can show that, without a doubt, human rights work offers solutions to many of the world’s worst crises, and can be fundamental to preventing them.

“Since 2011 our human rights programme has funded over 300 projects in more than sixty countries worldwide to a value in excess of GBP20m. The significant financial uplift to this fund will empower the FCO’s global network to work with project implementers to deliver more projects of greater ambition, changing lives and making a real difference.”