Paul Madden

Paul Madden

Additional Director Asia Pacific

11th February 2013 London, England

Bob Carr talks about human rights at our Magna Carta Lecture

I was privileged to chair Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr’s Magna Carta lecture, an annual event organised by the British High Commission here. Each year we ask a prominent figure to speak about a modern issue relevant to the values enshrined in the 1215 charter, often described as the greatest constitutional document of all time.

HE Paul Madden with Senator The Hon Bob Carr MP
HE Paul Madden with Senator The Hon Bob Carr MP

In front of a packed audience at the Maritime Museum in Sydney, Senator Carr talked about the role of Human Rights within Australia’s foreign policy. He talked passionately about the challenges in places like Syria and North Korea, and expressed his optimism about the way Burma is now moving forward.

Afterwards I chaired a lively Q and A session where representatives from various human rights organisations, and from many of Sydney’s diverse multicultural community organisations, quizzed the minister on subjects ranging from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka.

As I explained in my speech (about which the Minister tweeted whilst I was speaking) the Magna Carta is important because it set out some very important principles, most notably that no-one – not even a king – is above the law.

Many subsequent texts, including the American Declaration of Independence, acknowledged their debt to it. But the struggle for human rights has taken many centuries, and it remains incomplete in many countries, as the FCO documents in its annual report to the UK Parliament.

That is why human rights is an important part of the values underlying British and Australian foreign policy, on which we are proud to speak out.

Our own Foreign Secretary William Hague has made clear the importance he attaches to values in our foreign policy. Last year he launched an important initiative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. At the AUKMIN ministerial meeting in Perth last month, the Australian government expressed support for this initiative and offered to identify practical assistance.

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2 comments on “Bob Carr talks about human rights at our Magna Carta Lecture

  1. Please may we have the full text of Senator Carr’s speech for putting onto the Magna Carta 800th’s web site.

    I am writing the the Foreign Secretary (whom I know well) to suggest that all High Commissions follow your lead and in 2014 and 2015 at least hold Magna Carta Lectures.

    Thank you.

    Sir Robert Worcester
    Chairman, 800th Committee

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About Paul Madden

Paul Madden is currently Additional Director Asia Pacific at the FCO in London, with special responsibility for the Chinese President's State visit. He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011. A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.
As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan
He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.
Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.
He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.
Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.

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