Protecting UK nationals at risk abroad 

REDRESS is working on a new project to strengthen UK government support of its nationals arbitrarily detained abroad and at risk of torture and ill-treatment.

The UK government currently uses a policy of discretion in order to determine whether to initially provide protection, for example, consular assistance, for a national in distress overseas as well as the strength of the representations it makes.

It is a process that lacks transparency and cannot be held accountable. It also means that there can often be a gap between what you would expect the UK government to do, and what it actually does.

We believe that the UK should adopt a “default position” and make it known that any risk of the torture or ill-treatment of its nationals will always have consequences.

We will advocate with family members of detainees to encourage greater assistance to them and seek greater parliamentary oversight of consular cases involving a risk of torture and ill-treatment.

We are currently supporting several British nationals and their families to seek their release, and, pending release, to have their conditions of detention improved.

These include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi in Iran and Andargachew “Andy” Tsege in Ethiopia.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has found them all to be arbitrarily detained in violation of international law and has called for their immediate release. All have been referred to the UN Special Rapporteur for Torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for appropriate action.

In each of these cases, the UK government is in a position to pursue further diplomatic action both publicly and privately.


Download our latest briefing paper regarding Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi, two British dual nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran.




Nazanin Ratcliffe (detained in Iran)

"It is not acceptable for a British citizen to be treated in this way, or for a British two year old to be so arbitrarily separated from her parents. It's time for the UK government to act. "

- Richard Ratcliffe, Nazanin's husband

AndyAndargachew 'Andy' Tsege (detained in Ethiopia)

"Our two twins turned nine and our eldest daughter, Holly, started college without him here. Sometimes they cry and fear that their papa may not come home. I urge the UK to do all they can." 

 - Yemi Hailemariam, Andy's partner


For more information please contact our Advocacy Officer Josie Fathers at

We are grateful to the People's Postcode Trust, the Allen & Overy Foundation and the Oakdale Trust for supporting this project.

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