International Human Rights Day – a reflection

With Christmas round the corner, there’s a good opportunity to reflect on our human rights activities this month before we move into the New Year.

On 10 December, we marked International Human Rights Day by refreshing our human rights section and launching new website content. The FCO homepage, blogs landing page and many of our embassy websites were themed for the day.

This year’s Human Rights Day highlighted the work of human rights defenders who fight against discrimination. Foreign Secretary William Hague gave a video statement sending a message of support to human rights defenders around the world, including the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, and those detained in Burma and Iran. He also officially launched our new Twitter channel @FCOHumanRights and wrote an analysis piece highlighting that sixty years after the birth of the Universal Declaration on Human

Rights, human rights are in retreat in some parts of the globe.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office Minister for Human Rights Jeremy Browne reflected on his first seven months in the role, and visited Google to discuss internet freedom issues.

Around the world, our posts ran a wide range of activities to mark the day – you can view them on our new interactive map highlighting our human rights work across the globe. We had at least 20 blogs on various human rights issues, from regular writers like Ambassador to Iraq John Jenkins and Ambassador to Ukraine Leigh Turner to guest blogs from human rights officers such as Oya Arriola at the British Embassy in Manila. Many of our Chevening scholars marked the day too – visit our human rights on the web page to see more.

Looking ahead, we’re focusing not only on profiling more of our human rights around the world, but on promoting and distributing our content more widely. If you’d like to partner with us on future initiatives, or suggest ideas on what you’d like to see, please get in touch using the comment function. Thanks, and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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