Programme theme: Human rights, good governance and faith

Our annual Human Rights roundtable series continued with The future of human rights in a multi-polar world: exploring opportunities for further engagement. We enabled human rights advocates, academics, representatives from governments, international organisations and businesses, to explore ways to respond to current threats and challenges to human rights and considered future opportunities to improve human rights protection.

With the EU referendum held two weeks before, the 2016 British German Forum group of young leaders discussed What does the EU mean to us in Britain and Germany?, and focussed on how both countries would deal with the Brexit decision.

The Forum on new approaches to protracted forced displacement brought together governments hosting significant refugee populations and affected by internal displacement, donor governments, humanitarian and development agencies and NGOs. The meeting concluded with The Wilton Park Principles, a joint statement of commitment to the core principles of a new approach to planning and financing support to countries with large refugee and / or internally displaced persons populations. The Wilton Park Principles informed the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, and the subsequent High-Level Plenary of the UN General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.

Opportunities and challenges: the intersection of faith and human rights of LGBTI+ persons focussed on practical ways to promote greater understanding of, and tolerance for sexual minorities recognising that they are not mutually exclusive in a religious context.

We convened policy-makers, academics, analysts, religious leaders and practitioners at Religion, radicalisation and countering violent extremism: towards better understanding, policy and practice, to explore the role of religious actors in preventing and countering radicalisation, and outline a range of specific policies and programmatic responses to radicalisation based on or incorporating religious actors.

In 2016 we convened three events exploring some of the unique challenges children face today. Participants at Protecting children from extreme violence: towards a more comprehensive approach to prevention and response identified the prevention of child recruitment and reintegration into society; the prevention and fight against other serious violations against children in armed conflict; and addressing the impact of armed conflict on children and the failure to respect the rights of all children as the three key issues. These themes were developed in Protecting children from violence: next steps for effective strategies, following the April 2016 launch of the Sofia Strategy which underlines that target 16.2 of the post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against children by 2030. The meeting provided the opportunity for a core group of experts, including senior parliamentarians to identify practical steps towards implementation and monitoring.

Policy initiatives to tackle exploitation trafficking and modern slavery of refugee and displaced children focussed on the experience of displaced children in Europe. Representatives from source, transit and destination countries contributed expertise and ideas that helped explore innovative approaches to reducing the exploitation of vulnerable children.

International efforts to tackle modern slavery were further explored in the Alliance 8.7 Strategy workshop, developed in collaboration with the ILO, IOM, UNU and OHCHR. Key actors discussed priority areas for the Alliance, including ways in which to accelerate efforts to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour in line with new SDG deadlines.

Building on the 2012 launch of the preventing sexual violence initiative and the 2013 Global Summit, we held the second Preventing sexual violence initiative: shaping principles for global action to tackle stigma which focused on the survivors and victims and children born of rape. The meeting informed the production of a “Principles for Global Action” document, including thematic recommendations, for presentation to the UN by Baroness Anelay, who opened and closed the meeting.

Developed in partnership with the FCO and the US based EastWest Institute: New diplomacy used innovative facilitation techniques, to enable creative engagement on new approaches to decentralised diplomacy in an increasingly networked world.

We brought together government, technologists, academics and storytellers (from authors to game developers) to explore Artificial realities: politics, persuasion and storytelling; how we can use new networks of the imagination to shape and navigate policy and practice in international affairs.

Safeguarding rights in the big data revolution, provided an opportunity to explore ways in which to fully realise the potential benefits of big data, whilst identifying practical steps companies can take to ensure rights are respected.

We brought together key stakeholders to examine #FakeNews: innocuous or intolerable? and key questions critical to journalism and public debate in 2017. This event specifically addressed questions such as what is fake news and how does it vary, if at all, from propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation. It also looked at “spin” and in what ways fake news might threaten the credibility of journalism and the vitality of public space in democratic societies.