The British goverment cut its human rights spending from £52 million all the way down to £28 million in 2020, a huge move that is not going to go down well with critics in the wake of its big racism report fiasco.
Back in September, Foreign secretary Dominic Raab boldly claimed that his country as a “force of good” wanted to lead other countries by example in tackling global challenges.
The latest figures published by the Foreign Office, however, tell a different story.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office made the bulk of the cuts through its international program and the conflict, security and stability fund and blamed it on a need to repriortize spending in order to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The overseas development assistance [ODA] allocation for 2020 to 2021 for human rights, democracy, and the rules-based international system program is £8,500,000,” the report said.
“This reduced allocation is reflective of the decision taken by [FCDO] to pause programming at start of 2020 to 2021, in order to respond to Covid-19 including reprioritising ODA budgets in summer 2020.”
The government spent a little over £19.5 million in the preceding year but in 2020 it slashed the human rights promotion budget by reducing the open government program budget as well as the human rights element of the conflict, security and stability fund.
Further cuts to the program in the coming financial year from the base of £27.9 million are expected.
This is not expected to help Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s struggle with critics over his government’s handling of rights related issues.
Earlier this week, his most senior black aide resigned in protest to a government report that denied the existence of systemic racism in UK.