Rob Fenn » Head of Human Rights and Democracy Department, FCO

London Pride has been handed down to us; London Pride is a flower that’s free.

Feature image for:  London Pride has been handed down to us; London Pride is a flower that’s free.

What do human rights and democracy have to do with each other (besides both featuring in the name of my department, HRDD)? And how does the work we do on democracy – which can seem nebulous – fit together with human rights work, which is easier to pigeonhole? Or with my favourite Noel Coward song (and beer)? Most of HRDD’s work and the issues associated with it (like the London … Read more »London Pride has been handed down to us; London Pride is a flower that’s free.

Remembrance on the way to the coffee shop (what connects IHRA and R2P?)

Feature image for:  Remembrance on the way to the coffee shop (what connects IHRA and R2P?)

My department moved offices last week – from rooms “in need of modernisation” on the third floor of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, down to freshly refurbished accommodation on the grand first floor. We’re more densely packed down there (“warm-desking”), but morale is high and the coffee shop closer. My new route to mid-morning latte takes me past a bronze sculpture I had not noticed before. The FCO is full … Read more »Remembrance on the way to the coffee shop (what connects IHRA and R2P?)

Human Rights, DNA and the Higgs Boson?

Feature image for:  Human Rights, DNA and the Higgs Boson?

Yesterday, when launching the FCO’s Annual Human Rights Report, the Foreign Secretary said: “Human rights are part of the lifeblood of the Foreign Office because they are part of our national DNA – our character as a people – and because they are vital to our national interest”. This formulation of our Ministers’ view that “our values are our interests” struck a chord with colleagues who had worked so hard … Read more »Human Rights, DNA and the Higgs Boson?

Week One in Human Rights and Democracy Department, FCO, London

Start as you mean to go on, they say. Not easy, given the climactic nature of my first full week in charge of the FCO’s Human Rights and Democracy Department. Truth be told, this was the climax of my predecessor’s tenure – plans laid by her and my new colleagues, months ago, coming to fruition shortly after I scrambled into the driving seat. The theme of this first blog from … Read more »Week One in Human Rights and Democracy Department, FCO, London

Breaking the Sound Barrier with BEDB

First of all I would like to convey my sincere gratitude to the British High Commission to Brunei Darussalam for giving me the opportunity to post an article on the British High Commissions’ blog regarding my view on the Innovation Forum: UK-Southeast Asia Innovation, Design and Technology Forum which was held on Friday, 7th June 2013 in Singapore. Read more »Breaking the Sound Barrier with BEDB

Sajak CSCLeaders / CSCLeaders Poems

In this guest blog, Hajah Aidah shares with us three poems that she wrote for the CSCLeaders conference , where she represented the Sultanate. CSCLeaders is a series of Conferences for exceptional leaders, which assembles individuals from across the Commonwealth to tackle challenges that government, businesses and society face today and builds the relationships needed by the leaders of tomorrow.   RINDU DI GLASGOW Glasgow, aku datang Membawa sebuah hati … Read more »Sajak CSCLeaders / CSCLeaders Poems

A Surreal Commonwealth Journey: From Brunei to New Delhi to London

Feature image for:  A Surreal Commonwealth Journey: From Brunei to New Delhi to London

On Commonwealth Day (11 March), as High Commissioners in Bandar were gathering inside the Legislative Council building for our celebration with Pehin Speaker, one Bruneian was flying the flag for the Sultanate inside Marlborough House, at the celebration graced by Her Majesty The Queen. By publishing Fatin’s guest blog here, I have a strong sense of completing a circuit in the Commonwealth network, through which the energy of young Bruneians … Read more »A Surreal Commonwealth Journey: From Brunei to New Delhi to London

Dawn Ceremony for ANZAC Day 2013

I never used to be a “morning person”. At university, I could stay up until dawn (studying!), but then I had to sleep for 24 hours. Here in Brunei my body clock has changed completely. I need to get the boys to school by 0720. So I set my alarm for 0600. But I am frequently awake before then, keen to watch the sun come up out of Brunei Bay. … Read more »Dawn Ceremony for ANZAC Day 2013

My CSCLeaders Conference Experience

Feature image for:  My CSCLeaders Conference Experience

In an earlier blog I described the Commonwealth as “the world’s first social network”, and Bruneians as amongst its most savvy practitioners. You’ll see what I mean in this guest blog by Helen Yeo, one of two professional Bruneian women who are representing the Sultanate in the CSCLeaders programme, in London, Manchester, Oxford, Mumbai – as part of a new movement of global bridge-builders. And watch this space for another … Read more »My CSCLeaders Conference Experience

Common Law

Feature image for:  Common Law

Do you know what QC stands for? And why Queen Elizabeth I coined the term? My sister-in-law, Poonam Melwani QC, came to Brunei last week on holiday. Like many successful women, she seems able to switch like lightning between a host of different roles. She appeared first as a rainforest explorer. At the Ulu Ulu Resort we climbed the canopy walkway in the hush before dawn – with six loud … Read more »Common Law