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Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

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16th October 2023 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Exhausted nations

If anyone sensible was trying to design a system to get countries from across the world to reach agreement on tricky, highly sensitive issues, then they wouldn’t do it like this. First, call a very long meeting. Let’s say five weeks long. But make sure it comes hot on the heels of two other very […]

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18th July 2023 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

A Little Bit Broken

One thing I’d somehow managed for the first 52 Council sessions, was to avoid serious injury. The odd week of Covid, a minor bout of pneumonia, and some less-than-pleasant food poisoning misadventures aside, I’ve kept myself in functional working shape these last 20-plus years. I’d like to say good shape, but let’s not get carried away. […]

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5th April 2023 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Groundhog Council

I think it’s over. But I’m not entirely sure. Each morning for the last six weeks I’ve been waking up to the grim realisation that the Human Rights Council session was still going and going and going. It went on for so long that I’ve lost track of everything. What day it is, my name, […]

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12th October 2022 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Number 51

I’ve always had a fond attachment to the number 51. It was my house number growing up in Manchester, as little Robert. My first memory there was my parents bringing my newly-born baby sister home from the hospital. And my mum was born in the year ’51 (as well as some more famous but less […]

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8th April 2022 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

It was 20 years ago today…

On 8 April 2002, I started working at the UK Mission to the UN.  I’d had no diplomatic experience. At all. And I’d never been to a UN meeting. I’d only ever been to Geneva once – for my interview, which I started off by spilling water all over the table (I’ve always had a […]

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22nd February 2021 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Moving On

One of the things I like the least in this job is having to say goodbye to so many good people. Just over three weeks ago I had to bid adieu to our long-serving team leader and unsung Council hero Matt Forman. It’s been a long three weeks since then, and I’ve been awake most […]

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20th January 2021 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

The Next President

I feel a bit sheepish about not doing a blog at the end of the last session. By the time we’d finished in October it really felt like the less said about the non-stop misery fest that was 2020 the better. I’ll put the fact that not a single person mentioned it down to collective […]

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30th July 2020 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Councils Completed

These are such strange days. We still don’t know if this will prove to be a painful but relatively short-lived episode of global distress or if we’re in this for the much longer haul. Will we look back on this as a defining moment of international cooperation to overcome one of the greatest health challenges […]

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19th March 2020 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Corona Council (24 February – 13 March)

I’ve long had a sense of foredboding about the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council. Those of us who’ve been around these parts longer than most tend to measure our life-spans in the number of Council sessions we’ve racked up, as well as years. I worked out some time ago that session 43 would […]

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7th October 2019 Geneva, Switzerland

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by Bob Last

Head, UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team

Zombie Wonderland

Council sessions often drive a temporary wedge between delegates and their families. The heavy hours estrange us from our partners and children and conversations tend to become rushed and reduced to topics of basic functional necessity.  So I was slightly thrown when my son wouldn’t let me get out of the door early one morning […]

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About Bob Last

Bob Last (OBE) is Head of the UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team. He worked on human rights in the UK and Uganda before joining the UK Mission to…

Bob Last (OBE) is Head of the UK Mission Political and Human Rights Team. He worked on human rights in the UK and Uganda before joining the UK Mission to the UN in 2002. His blog shares thoughts and experiences, following the work of the Human Rights Council and other UN human rights meetings in Geneva.