In my last post before the virtual Trade Forum, “Building Britain’s Trading Future”, which will take place tomorrow, 8th December, I wanted to introduce you to our fourth and final panel, which will focus on “Protecting human rights through trade”.
We will be hearing from an exceptional selection of campaigners, activists and experts to discuss what I believe is one of the most important principles of a modern trade policy: that we cannot turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses we see committed around the world, simply because we want to trade with the governments committing that abuse.
As Joe Biden said during the recent election campaign, we need to leave behind the attitude which says the principles and values we hold dear as a country can be “checked at the door” whenever we have arms to sell or oil to buy.
Our panellists and chair include:
- Gareth Thomas MP; the Member for Harrow West and Shadow Minister of International Trade. He was previously the Minister of State in the Department for International Development, and held the position of Chair of the Co-operative Party between 2001 until 2019.
- Bonnie Greer OBE; a playwright, novelist, critic and broadcaster, who is currently Chancellor of Kingston University and Vice President of the Shaw Society. She has served on the boards of several leading arts organisations and was awarded the OBE in 2010.
- Rocco Blume; Head of Policy and Advocacy for War Child UK, the NGO specialising in the impact of conflict on children. He has worked in Sudan, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Uganda, including working on issues around conflict prevention and child soldiers.
- Andrew Smith; the spokesman for the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, the NGO which – amongst its other campaigning activities – has led the ongoing legal challenge over the government’s licensing of arms exports for use in the war in Yemen.
By clicking the link below, you can register for the event and send in questions to our panellists: https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/building-britains-trading-future
I hope you will join me tomorrow to discuss how an independent trade policy can secure economic benefits for Britain, but never at the expense of human rights, and the lives of innocent people, in the countries where we see them most under threat.