HC Deb 20 April 2004 vol 420 cc448-9W
Mr. Chidgey

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the importance of human rights in relation to economic growth and development in African countries. [166589]

Mr. Mullin

There is an increasingly clear link between respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic norms en the one hand, and stability, prosperity and progress on the other. We believe that a stable environment where human rights and the rule of law are respected creates the best conditions for economic growth and the reduction of poverty in Africa. We also consider that protection and promotion of human rights such as access to education, healthcare, and justice can have a direct impact on future economic development and can help African countries meet the Millennium Development Goals. In this respect, since 1998 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has funded over 60 human rights projects worth more than £6 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. We also support initiatives such as the Africa Peer Review Mechanism of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, which aims to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to agreed standards of political, economic and corporate governance.

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