Head of state Queen Elizabeth II
Head of government Gordon Brown
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 61.6 million
Life expectancy 79.3 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 6/6 per 1,000
Reports implicating the UK in grave violations of human rights of people held overseas continued to emerge. Calls for independent investigations into the UK's role in these violations went unheeded. The government's attempts to return people to countries known to practise torture on the basis of "diplomatic assurances" (unenforceable promises from the countries where these individuals were to be returned) continued. The European Court of Human Rights found that, by detaining a number of foreign nationals without charge or trial (internment), the UK had violated their human rights. The implementation of measures adopted with the stated aim of countering terrorism led to human rights violations, including unfair judicial proceedings. The executive gained powers to circumvent and undermine the independence of coroners' inquests. Twenty years after Patrick Finucane's death, an inquiry into state collusion in his killing had yet to be established.
Counter-terror and security
Torture and other ill-treatment
Further reports emerged that grave human rights violations had been committed with the knowledge, complicity and, in some cases, in the presence of UK intelligence officers, including in Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, and that UK officials had attempted to cover up the UK's involvement. In August, two Parliamentary Committees expressed concern about the UK's involvement in the torture of "terror suspects" held abroad. However, calls for independent investigations into the UK's role in these and other gross violations of human rights perpetrated in the context of the so called war on terror, including into the UK's involvement in the US-led rendition programme (the unlawful transfers of terrorist suspects between countries), went unheeded.