Bob Last » Senior Human Rights Advisor, UK Mission human rights team

Sad Farewells

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Council sessions take a heavy toll on all things that are close to us. Our partners, our children and our pets all suffer from weeks of neglect. So do our bags. Any object unfortunate enough to go into my rucksack during Council time will undergo a period of inanimate purgatory as draft resolutions, cereal bars, plastic bottles and spare socks spend weeks somersaulting in despair, waiting to emerge as the … Read more »Sad Farewells

Staying Healthy

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By the end of week 3 of any March Council session everyone tends to look pretty frazzled. The combination of lack of time for proper meals, general neglect in the finer aspects of personal grooming and the knowledge that the session still has some time to go tend to take their toll. But this year there seems to have been more than the usual number of council viruses doing the … Read more »Staying Healthy

Statements of Intent

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As nice as it can be living out here, there are many drawbacks to not being in the UK. It’s easy to lose touch with friends, to miss out on historic national moments and to forget about sending a card in time to arrive for Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, during the March session the only way of getting my attention is by circulating a Council text, holding a side event or … Read more »Statements of Intent

Lessons in History

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While I was never the life and soul of all night parties – prone to having a little nap while others danced round me – I did at least used to be active and go out on a regular basis. These days, instead of thinking about finding new places to ski within easy reach of a great place to party, I’m much more likely to be concerned with finding a … Read more »Lessons in History

Marching On

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I hope you’re feeling fit and strong in time for this session. As I don’t have much time for exercise these days, I’ve been trying to get in shape before the Council by pushing my household chores to my physical limit. I’ve managed to improve my  stamina, reactions and speed with new personal bests for double child carrying (with at least 3 bags, and assorted winter paraphernalia), high-pressure nappy changing, and … Read more »Marching On

Wearing Orange for Outrage

Tomorrow is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. As lead on women’s rights at the UK mission, my colleague Kate Kyriakides has kindly agreed to write a guest blog. Wearing Orange for Outrage Working on human rights at the UN in Geneva makes you realise how lucky you are. Our inboxes are full of harrowing tales from around the world. A week ago I listened to … Read more »Wearing Orange for Outrage

Back to the future

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I don’t get much time to read any books of my own these days. With two young children, most of the literature that comes my way tends either to have sparkly shapes, no more than about 10 words a page or contain clearly accessible lessons in morality. Which makes them the exact opposite of Human Rights Council resolutions. Reading with my kids at bedtime is my favourite part of the … Read more »Back to the future

Nations United

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It’s been an interesting week to be a Brit at the UN. No matter what else has been going on in the rest of the world, all anyone wanted to talk to me about was Scotland. Mostly people just wanted to hear my prediction of what the result was going to be, as though I have special soothsaying powers. I tried to invoke the spirit of Paul, the result-predicting world cup … Read more »Nations United

Universality under attack

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For those of you who may have noticed me looking a little down in the mouth last week, this had little to do with work and almost everything to do with the temporary disappearance of our pet cat. She was obviously not getting enough attention having to compete in our household with two small children as well as the start of the Council session. I am not sure if it … Read more »Universality under attack

September Strawberries

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This year has been the summer that never was. Usually by the time the September Council session comes around, colleagues look relaxed, healthy even, after enjoying the Geneva sunshine and seem genuinely happy to see each other after a decent break. But a combination of bad weather and incessant work has left many of us looking pale, haggard and grumpy.  While the UK was enjoying one if its best summers … Read more »September Strawberries