BORN in Lambeth to immigrant parents, Lord Tariq Ahmad has packed an extraordinary array of jobs and roles into a 30-year career that has encompassed banking, finance, marketing, local politics, national politics and, currently, international politics.
As Boris Johnson’s minister of state to the United Nations, south Asia and the Commonwealth and his special envoy on Freedom of Religion and Belief, he has become something of a global statesman.
In the past year alone he has addressed the United Nations on issues such as international peace and security, the global pandemic and climate change. He has visited India to help strengthen bilateral trading ties and promote the UK’s role in working with India on a wide range of issues. He has also addressed the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) on the issue of corruption and put pressure on the new Myanmar government to address human rights concerns.
The global pandemic may have affected his ability to travel, but thanks to Zoom and virtual conferencing, Lord Ahmad has made influential pronouncements in a wide range of topics.
Speaking in person to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last February, he said the UK would place the promotion and protection of human rights at the top of its list of international priorities.
“As a global force for good, we (the UK) will continue to uphold and defend the international rule of law, the values of liberal democracy, and the rights and freedoms of citizens around the world.”
He added: “We could solve many of the world’s most serious problems, and achieve virtually every sustainable development goal by 2030, if every girl in the world had at least 12 years of quality education. We will strain every sinew to achieve that goal, while also striving to end sexual