The UK’s approach to democracy and human rights

This forthcoming review will explore how effectively the UK aid programme has responded to the emergence of new threats to democracy and human rights.

  1. Status: In progress
  2. Last updated: 20 May 2022
  3. Type: Full review
  4. Subject: Democracy, governance and human rights
  5. Location: Pakistan, Tanzania
  6. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton
  7. SDGs covered:Peace, justice and strong institutions

Read the approach paper

Our approach

The review will cover UK aid policy, influencing and programmes on these issues between 2015 and 2021. The review will focus on policies and programmes aimed at promoting and protecting democracy and human rights from threats, including to civil and political rights. It will also explore how aid policies and programmes have taken into account the core principles of equality and non-discrimination, transparency, accountability and participation. Through country case studies, it will examine how UK aid has considered economic, social and cultural rights, and the rights of individuals belonging to ‘at-risk groups’ – that is, specific social groups which have been excluded or persecuted (such as LGBTQI+, religious or ethno-linguistic minorities).

Review questions

We are seeking to answer the following review questions:

  1. Does the UK have a credible approach to using aid to counter threats to democracy and human rights in developing countries?
  2. How coherent is the UK’s approach to countering threats to democracy and human rights?
  3. How well has the UK contributed to countering threats to democracy and human rights?



Published 20 May 2022

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Expected winter 2022

Further scrutiny

To be confirmed