Amelia Timewell » Communications and foreign policy

Here’s to activism without borders

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In this guest blog, Director of Amnesty International UK Kate Allen explains why activists in the UK care about women’s rights in Afghanistan. If there was ever a doubt about the desire of citizens to influence politics and contribute to change, that doubt would be put soundly to sleep by current global events. From Egypt to Brazil, Turkey to Bulgaria, ordinary people are coming together to demand change and make … Read more »Here’s to activism without borders

“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society”

Today is the 20th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day. For 20 years, May 3 has been a day when the world joins together to celebrate freedom of expression and promote its protection. Sadly, restrictions on freedom of expression persist across the globe, with many journalists, activists and online commentators persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and sometimes even killed for highlighting and reporting on events around the world. At the Foreign Office, … Read more »“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of achieving a free society”

Piktochart: an experiment in explaining our work through visualisation

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Last week, the UK Team of Experts on preventing sexual violence in conflict came to the Foreign Office for the first time, and met Foreign Secretary William Hague. Recruited from many professions, the Team will be deployed to several conflict-affected countries during 2013 to carry out vital work – from providing support to victims of sexual violence to assisting with investigations and prosecutions. To explain who the Team of Experts … Read more »Piktochart: an experiment in explaining our work through visualisation

Challenging human rights abuses through technology – Google Earth and North Korea

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Thanks to Google Earth, North Korea’s labour camps can now be seen from outer space. Human Rights Watch estimates that these remote mountain camps hold up to 200,000 people who are considered hostile to the regime. As many as 400,000 others are believed to have died in these camps – from starvation, disease, torture and execution. Human rights activists are now using Google’s technology and data now publicly available to … Read more »Challenging human rights abuses through technology – Google Earth and North Korea

16 days with a difference

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Today is International Human Rights Day, an annual event that commemorates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. On this date in 2010, the FCO launched our new human rights content online, while in 2011 we focused on social media and human rights. This year, the emphasis is a little different. The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign takes place from … Read more »16 days with a difference

London 2012: the most ‘digital’ of Games

I’m off to be joint Head of Digital for our the cross-government communications team for the Olympics and Paralympics. With 2012 set to the be the most ‘digital’ Games ever, it’s an exciting role with lots of challenges, and I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ll be away for the next few months, and back blogging for FCO in the autumn. Government Olympic Communication (GOC) has been created as … Read more »London 2012: the most ‘digital’ of Games

It should never be a crime to be gay

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To mark International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia on 17 May, the Executive Director of NGO Kaleidoscope Trust, Lance Price, has written a guest blog. We set up the Kaleidoscope Trust as the only UK-based charity working exclusively on international LGBT rights only last year. From the very beginning we have been delighted by the support and encouragement we’ve received from the British government, and the FCO in particular, but … Read more »It should never be a crime to be gay

Human rights and democracy – read, comment and share

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Today we launched Human Rights and Democracy: The 2011 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Report. It’s the third year I’ve been involved in the launch of the FCO’s annual human rights report, and each year, we’ve been increasing our online activity to promote it. As with last year, the report is available online at www.fco.gov.uk/hrdreport, where visitors can read, print, share and comment on the report as a whole or by … Read more »Human rights and democracy – read, comment and share

“The next President of Libya is probably in primary school somewhere now, and she’s going to be great”

Today is International Women’s Day. Last year, I marked this by writing about five women who have inspired me. To my surprise, it was my most read blog last year – I think personal stories of those who influence our hopes and aspirations can touch a nerve. For me, the theme of inspiration continues this year. For the fourth episode in our human rights podcast series, I interviewed two people … Read more »“The next President of Libya is probably in primary school somewhere now, and she’s going to be great”

Human rights reporting – the next iteration

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It feels like more than a year’s worth of human rights developments have taken place in the last 12 months. Given events in the Middle East and elsewhere,  the FCO’s 2011 Human Rights and Democracy Report should make interesting reading. Since we launched the online Human Rights and Democracy: The 2010 Foreign & Commonwealth Report on 31 March 2011, we have been publishing updates on developments in our 26 countries … Read more »Human rights reporting – the next iteration