Maintaining human rights in the mainstream

Wilton Park’s Chief Executive Richard Burge was part of a panel launching the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Human Rights and Democracy Report.

Baroness Anelay, Minister for Human Rights presented the report to Human Rights experts and the media, explaining the FCO’s approach to mainstreaming human rights.

Baroness Anelay, Minister for Human Rights

Baroness Anelay, Minister for Human Rights

As an executive agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Wilton Park is uniquely placed to act on Baroness Anelay’s address: in presenting the report at the launch, the FCO’s work would represent it going forward.

Human Rights are at the heart of Wilton Park’s everyday work, and mainstreaming is a central part of wider FCO diplomacy. In the last year, Wilton Park has convened nearly 20 events relating to the areas outlined in the report, bringing together 800 participants from around 70 countries, This list is a selection of our work within that last year that highlights how we have been mainstreaming Human Rights.

As part of the aforementioned panel discussion, Richard Burge spoke in particular about how the “LGBTI community” was at the “front end of a general whittling away of human rights” as well as discussing Wilton Park’s recent work on preventing torture in police custody in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

The high level panel discussion that took place at the launch was mediated by the Head of the FCO’s Human Rights and Democracy Department Rob Fenn, who outlined how the different areas of the FCO mainstream Human Rights.



Rob Fenn, Head of the FCO’s Human Rights and Democracy Department

Rob Fenn, Head of the FCO’s Human Rights and Democracy Department

The Panel consisted of:

  • Karen Pierce, Chief Operating Officer, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Julian Braithwaite, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN and Other International Organisations, Geneva
  • John Rankin, Director Americas, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Jo Adamson, British Ambassador to Mali
  • Richard Burge, Chief Executive, Wilton Park
  • Martin Harris, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission to Russia

The report represents a cross government approach to tackling some of the most important Human Rights issues. Its three main themes cover

  1. Democratic values and the rule of law
  2. Strengthening the rules-based international system
  3. Human rights for a stable world

Thirty countries have also been outlined as Human Rights Priority Countries, chosen for their current human rights situations, their human rights trajectory, and the UK’s ability to influence change (HRD Report 2015).

We intend to continue building on Baroness Anelays core message through our ability to facilitate discreet and neutral dialogues which bring together a variety of actors and stakeholders allowing open and frank discussion to occur, in order for compromise and resolution to be reached.

Further information

Wilton Park related events 

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