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Human Rights: the Anglican Communion’s voice at the UN

Human Rights: the Anglican Communion’s voice at the UN

Jack Palmer-White

26 February 2018 10:16AM


The Anglican Communion’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, explains his office’s role at the forthcoming meeting of the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council is one of the major opportunities on the UN calendar for countries, UN agencies and civil society to evaluate and debate the human rights records of all UN member states. It is also an opportunity to improve the human rights of citizens around the world – particularly in countries where abuses are most common.

As with many of the major events in the UN calendar, the Anglican Communion will be present and engaging in a number of key debates during the course of the Council, which meets for four weeks in the spring, and then again in summer and autumn.

Much of the schedule will come as no surprise: reports will be presented on the human rights record of countries where serious abuses are occurring, for example Syria and South Sudan.

But the meetings of the Council also provide an opportunity to look more closely at specific human rights. During this, the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council, there will be major debates on the rights of the child, the rights of people with disabilities, and a debate on tolerance and racial discrimination.

It is also an important opportunity for the Anglican Communion to raise particular concerns from around the Communion with, for example, the UN’s Special Rapporteur for the Freedom of Religion or Belief or in discussions about how to safeguard the rights of migrants in vulnerable situations. To do this, it is important for stories and experiences from around the Communion to be heard and shared.

I am here to represent all parts of the Communion and welcome any opportunity to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing

There is understandable cynicism about the ability of the UN and its members to enforce resolutions protecting human rights. Across the world, civilians are being attacked, communities oppressed and many able to act with impunity against their fellow humans. At a time when human rights feel under threat for many populations and communities around the world, 2018 is an important moment for states, civil society and other actors to recommit to the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 70 years ago this coming November.

As the 70th Anniversary approaches, the ACO is hoping to raise up the voices of people around the Communion who are protecting the human rights of those in their communities and beyond. If you would like to contribute, you can email us at

For live reflections from the Human Rights Council, you can also follow us on Twitter @AnglicanUN.

You can watch the Human Rights Council meeting below or on the website of UN Web TV.


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