Two terrible human rights calamities took place on Boris Johnson’s watch as Foreign Secretary and he scarcely lifted a finger to stop either of them. The first was the humanitarian disaster in Yemen, where well over 100,000 are thought to have died. The second great calamity was the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. Johnson’s Foreign Office was remarkably restrained in its criticism of the regime in Myanmar while the killings were going on. As for sanctions on the generals who had ordered the massacres, there were none. Johnson’s behaviour was especially culpable because throughout this period the UK was the penholder at the United Nations for both Myanmar and Yemen. This gave Britain a special responsibility – and a unique opportunity - to bring the violence to an end. Johnson did the opposite. Worst of all, Johnson ensured that Britain actively blocked European Union efforts to establish an independent international inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen.
Foreign Office claims to protect human rights are at best highly selective and at worst the opposite of the truth.
When we put this to the Foreign Office, a spokesperson said: “These claims are wrong and without merit. The FCDO responds in a truthful and transparent way to all media, respecting their role in public scrutiny.”