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

Nessun Dorma

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It’s been a tiring week. The middle part of the Council session is always hectic as delegates scramble to finalise the version of the resolutions that they want to table by Thursday’s deadline. But my sleep levels have taken a heavier battering than normal thanks to the Women’s World Cup, taking place in Canada’s far-off time zones. I feel like I’d be betraying my feminist credentials if I didn’t stay … Read more »Nessun Dorma

The Best Laid Plans

Sister Fa speaks about FGM at the UN (Photo by Netherlands Mission)

The more time I spend at the Council, the more things seem to be getting out of control at home. The kids cope well enough, but our cat Pixie has spent the week continuing her recent hunting spree in a blatant show of attention-seeking. This week I’ve had to dispose of a shrew, two field mice and resuscitate a sparrow. I knew my first aid training would come in handy … Read more »The Best Laid Plans

Bursting the Bubble


It feels like we’ve hardly been away. I’m starting to suspect that someone has airbrushed April and May from the global calendar. The only clue that the months have been and gone is our hedge growing high enough to receive a letter from the estate agent ordering us to cut it by 10 centimetres and our cat’s improved strike rate at hunting the local wildlife. During the fleeting moments when … Read more »Bursting the Bubble

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