UK 'must retain all allies' to combat terror
Britain must continue to work with international intelligence agencies in the fight against terrorism even if they do not share UK standards on human rights, the Foreign Office warned today.
In its annual report on human rights around the world, the Foreign Office said the UK could not afford the "luxury" of co-operating only with agencies in countries which did not abuse or torture detainees.
It said British agencies tried to minimise the risk that detainees held overseas were mistreated when they were involved in operations, but it was not always possible to "reduce the risk to zero".
The report said that ultimately it was for ministers to decide whether the needs of national security outweighed the concerns of possible mistreatment.
It follows a number of high profile court cases - most notably by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed - claiming MI5 officers had been complicit in their mistreatment at the hands of foreign agencies, including those of the US and Pakistan.
One MI5 officer is currently facing a criminal investigation by Scotland Yard.
The report said that while the UK had put in place measures to ensure detainees held in its custody were not subjected to torture or abuse, it could not always have the same level of assurance when they were held abroad.
"We cannot get all the intelligence we need from our own sources because the terrorist groups we face are scattered around the world and our resources are finite. So we must work with intelligence and security agencies overseas," it said.
"Some of them share our standards and laws while others do not. But we cannot afford the luxury of only dealing with those that do. The intelligence we get from others saves British lives."
It stressed that ministers took their responsibility to balance national security interests with human rights concerns "very seriously".
"If the risk of mistreatment is too high then we will not go ahead with an operation. This is not just a theoretical possibility - operations have been stopped because the risk of mistreatment was judged to be too high," it said.
"But this is never an easy judgment and we would be failing in our twin duties to defend the country and to uphold human rights if we pretended that there was never a tension between the two."
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...