The British Council, Governance and law

Law and Human Rights

Possible approaches to the promotion of Human Rights

Guidance notes for Country Directors



The purpose of this document is to help guide British Council Country Directors working to promote good governance. In particular it considers ways in which the British Council could further develop its existing portfolio in human rights in the light of the increased emphasis being given to human rights by Her Majesty's Government. It draws on BC experience as well as academic, consultancy and donor perspectives.

The British Council and Human Rights

Support to human rights is an integral part of the Council's policy in Governance and Law. The membership of the Council's Law Advisory Committee reflects the importance we attach to human rights in our Governance work. It includes Professor Kevin Boyle Head of the Human Rights Centre , University of Essex, one of the UK's leading academics in the field, who has petitioned before the European Court of Human Rights. Other members include Vivien Stern, Director General of Penal Reform International, and Helena Kennedy QC, the UKs foremost barrister in gender and human rights.

Our interpretation of the rights theme is broad. It encompasses gender dimensions of the law, and corresponding political advocacy; promotion of access to justice [especially on the part of vulnerable minority groups and the poor]; the rights of children; promotion of freedom of information and of a free, independent but responsible press; and the raising of awareness on the part of citizens, especially those who are illiterate or young, of their rights under democratic systems.

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