Tag Archives: Human Rights

Scottish People Encouraged To Apply For Public Appointments

The UK government is encouraging people from Scotland to sit on the boards of UK public bodies, as part of a wider government drive to make public boards more diverse

Cabinet Office/Whitehall

Cabinet Office/Whitehall

The Cabinet Office partnered with Changing the Chemistry, a Scottish peer to peer support network focused on improving board diversity, to promote UK Government public appointments opportunities at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh last week (7 March 2018).

Attendees at the event included Edinburgh University, the Institute of Directors, Women on Boards and CEMVO Scotland – a strategic partner of the Scottish Government Equality Unit.

Guests heard from speakers from a wide range of UK public bodies, such as Lesley Sawers (Equality and Human Rights Commission), Muriel Gray (British Museum) and Susan Rice (Bank of England). They spoke about the benefits of being a public appointee which include:

  • Using your expertise to help society and influence decisions that affect everyone’s lives
  • Meeting people from all walks of life who also want to make a difference
  • Developing your career, gaining board experience and boosting your skills

The government launched the Diversity Action Plan for Public Appointments in December 2017, which included a commitment that by 2022, half of all public appointees should be female and 14% should be from ethnic minorities.

Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden said:

We need to attract the brightest and the best from across the UK to serve on our public boards and to see them truly reflect British society.

A range of people from across the country bring new perspectives, different backgrounds, and diversity of thought, which strengthens decision-making and improves outcomes.

Serving on a public board is both exciting and rewarding – I encourage everybody to consider taking up a role.

Chair of Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C Charity, Ian Arnot said:

It’s great to see the Cabinet Office, working with Changing The Chemistry, seeking out diverse groups of people to take up public appointments – especially in Scotland. The networking event helped to demystify the application process and the inspiring speakers encouraged me to consider applying for a non-executive role in the future.

It’s great to see so much support available to ensure our public appointment system has representation from across our communities.

Human Rights Council 37: UK National Statement Under Item 2

This UK Statement was delivered at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council during the discussion under Item 2, held on 8 March 2018

The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK is concerned by post-election violence in Honduras and we urge the authorities to investigate these incidents. We welcome the Honduran government’s commitment to prioritise human rights, the establishment of a Human Rights Ministry and the United Nations’ efforts to broker a political dialogue between the government and the opposition.

The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is deeply troubling. Reports that violations and abuses are increasing, and that State actors are the main perpetrators, are particularly worrying. We call on the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a member of this Council, to demonstrate its commitment to the highest human rights standards by taking decisive action to reverse these alarming trends.

The UK is extremely concerned by the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the treatment of Palestinian minors in Israeli military detention. Settlement expansions, demolitions of Palestinian property and proposed legislation to extend Israel’s sovereignty beyond the Green Line are highly concerning and we urge Israel to halt these practices.

We urge the Government of Thailand to deliver credible, inclusive elections in line with international standards as soon as possible. It is important to see gradual restoration of freedom of expression and assembly, including the lifting of restrictions on political parties and space for civil society organisations to function.

We are increasingly concerned by worsening restrictions on freedom of expression in Vietnam. Peacefully expressing views on issues of public interest should not constitute a criminal offence and we encourage the government to allow all citizens to express their views freely and without persecution.

In the Philippines, we are concerned by proposed steps to limit freedom of expression, including increased restrictions on the media; threats against Human Rights Defenders; and shrinking space for political opposition. We urge the Government to ensure thorough investigations into all deaths associated with the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs.

Finally, we support the Government of Sri Lanka’s efforts to bring the current intercommunal violence there under control and expect that this will be done swiftly, proportionately, and in a way that addresses the longstanding underlying drivers of community tensions.

Human Rights Council 37: Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

This UK statement was written for 37th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Annual Debate on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on access to justice, held on 7 March 2018

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK is committed to a rights-based approach to disability inclusion and to implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We recognise the importance of access to justice for persons with disabilities, in line with Article 13 of the Convention and Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Both domestically and internationally, we are fighting the appalling levels of stigma and discrimination that people with disabilities face, improving data and evidence, increasing action and investment, and rallying others to this important cause. We do this through things like the Disability Catalyst Programme and the Disability Rights Fund.

On the 24th July 2018, we will host a Global Disability Summit alongside the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya, to increase action and investment, lock in progress and share best practice on disability inclusion.

What does the panel consider the most pressing of challenges facing States in improving access to justice of persons with disabilities?

Human Rights Council 37: Children And Armed Conflict

This UK statement was delivered at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, held on 6 March 2018

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

I thank Ms Gamba for her report and her efforts on the Children and Armed Conflict mandate, for which she has the full support of the UK Government.

The UK remains hugely concerned by the grave violations that continue to be committed on a worrying scale with children being abducted, killed and maimed, and recruited and used as child soldiers throughout the many conflicts taking place around the world.

We call on all parties that have not put in place measures to improve the protection of children to do so as a matter of priority through the agreement and implementation of UN Action Plans, and calls on those parties who have put measures in place to honour their commitments in full.

We also recognise that during these times of crises it is more important than ever to ensure children have access to an education. In conflict zones alone, girls are two and a half times more likely to be out of school than boys. This is why the UK Foreign Secretary has made quality education and learning for girls, one of his top foreign policy priorities.

Finally, we are deeply alarmed by the increasing number of reported cases whereby humanitarian access is being denied to areas of conflict. Ms Gamba, in light of this, I would welcome your thoughts on ways we could hold perpetrators to account, and whether there is an appetite to review how the committing of this grave violation may act as a trigger for listing in future annual reports.

Human Rights Council 37: Rights Of The Child

This UK statement was delivered at the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Annual Full Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child, held on 5 March 2018

Flags and Palais

Flags and Palais

The UK welcomes the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on protecting the rights of the child in humanitarian situations.

We share concerns that children are exposed to a wide range of risks in humanitarian situations. Child protection, namely the prevention of exploitation, violence and abuse and the provision of food, emergency shelter and clean water should be the immediate focuses of humanitarian action.

The UK has pledged £50 million over five years to tackle violence against children globally, including £10m on a global programme to tackle child sexual exploitation in 17 countries. The UK’s £35 million five-year programme to end Female Genital Mutilation by 2030 is the largest contribution of any single country.

Humanitarian crises deprive children of their right to education during crucial developmental years. Especially girls, who are two and a half times more likely to be out of school than boys in humanitarian situations. The UK is playing an active part in the global push towards the provision of high quality schooling for the most marginalised girls. In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG 4 on education for all and SDG 5 on gender equality, we will work with partners to achieve 12 years quality education for all children by 2030.

We need to overcome the structural barriers many girls face in accessing an education, including by preventing and combating child, early, forced marriages.

We would like to ask the panel, how we can ensure that more girls have access to education in humanitarian situations?

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