The FCO is a strong supporter of business efficient flexible working, and extends this right to all its employees. Flexible working takes many forms – compressed hours, flexible hours, job shares and remote working are a few of the more common examples. The Human Rights and Democracy Department (HRDD) is widely recognised as one part of the FCO that is leading the way in embracing these new ways of working. The … Guest blog by Shahida Khan, Business and Human Rights Policy Officer, on business efficient flexible working
Guest blog by Kirstie Smith, Business and Conflict Desk Officer, Conflict Department, on the UK’s Chairmanship of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
I’m delighted to host this blog from Kirstie Smith, and grateful to her for approaching me with the suggestion. The Voluntary Principles (VPs) – and the UK’s support for them – are a good example of the UK’s pursuit of fairness. That can sound lofty, especially when we talk about how human rights, prosperity and security are mutually reinforcing. But we much prefer hands-on, practical efforts to better the lot … Guest blog by Kirstie Smith, Business and Conflict Desk Officer, Conflict Department, on the UK’s Chairmanship of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
Last Friday I met members of the FCO’s “Youth Inspiration Group” – nine young people, between 18 and 25, from diverse backgrounds. With a combined network of over 3,000 (via the youth organisations and individual contacts they have) this group lends their time to the FCO, as a sounding board for our ideas. To help us stay connected with the “civil society” we serve. So it came as a bit … What is civil society?
I have grounds to be nostalgic about New York, where I cut my teeth on human rights work more than twenty years ago. But I never thought I could be made to feel nostalgic about its “smoke filled rooms” (the root cause of the beige decor at UN HQ). But my colleague, Rhian Checkland, has managed that feat with this vivid account of her recent stint negotiating Third Committee resolutions … New York and the Human Rights ‘Third Committee’ at the United Nations
I drove to Cheltenham on Saturday – a four hour round trip worth every mile – to hear a former Archbishop of Canterbury deliver a lecture at the Literature Festival. I was there to support a friend, whose organisation – COEXIST – was staging the event. But in the big tent I was as spellbound as any other member of the audience. Lord Williams argued that our state should be … Malala and a Big Tent in Cheltenham
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 … London Pride has been handed down to us; London Pride is a flower that’s free.
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 … Remembrance on the way to the coffee shop (what connects IHRA and R2P?)
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 … Human Rights, DNA and the Higgs Boson?
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 … Week One in Human Rights and Democracy Department, FCO, London
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. Breaking the Sound Barrier with BEDB