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Human Rights Watch said that PM Boris Johnson must address the rising use of food banks, the ongoing weapons export to Saudi Arabia and the genuine application of human rights in foreign policy.

“In responding to the United Kingdom’s deep political, economic, and constitutional challenges, it’s important that the government doesn’t downgrade the human rights on which everyone in the country depends,” said Benjamin Ward, the acting UK director at Human Rights Watch. “The commitment to maintain rights needs to begin with the new prime minister himself.”

Human Rights Watch identified five priority areas for the new Prime Minister where rights are at risk:

  1. Protecting human rights in the context of Brexit, in particular by avoiding the risks to rights arising from no-deal Brexit and ensuring that rights derived from EU law are maintained after Brexit.
  2. Ensuring that children and families in the UK have adequate food at a time when more people are turning to food banks to meet their basic needs, including by addressing the negative impacts of Universal Credit and other welfare changes on children and families.
  3. Protecting women and girls from violence, through full legal protections for survivors of domestic violence in the UK and continued international leadership on sexual violence in conflict.
  4. Prioritising rights in UK foreign and trade policy, including by making sure that human rights clauses are maintained in new and continuing trade deals, and speaking out on behalf of human rights defenders and journalists jailed for doing their peaceful work.
  5. Halting UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia, given the clear evidence of repeated violations by the Saudi-led coalition during the war in Yemen.

Human Rights Watch also spoke out about Brexit:

“We are concerned about human rights implications of the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. In our assessment, such a departure carries considerable risks for human rights on people living in the UK and the rights of UK citizens living in other EU states. Read more

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