International equality

We promote the rights of British citizens abroad and use our influence to promote international equality.

Our aim is to deliver equal treatment and equality of opportunity internationally. We negotiate bilaterally and in the United Nations, European Union, Council of Europe, and Commonwealth to protect and promote the rights of British citizens abroad. We use our influence to change culture and attitudes and promote equality, in particular on gender, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) equality, leading by example.

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United Nations

The UK has signed up to international commitments on gender equality, including the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol, and the non-binding Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for Women. We work with all UK government departments and the Devolved Administrations to ensure that we meet these commitments.

We promote gender equality at the United Nations, in particular through participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

We promote LGB&T equality at the United Nations and played an active role in the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council historic resolution expressing grave concern about acts of violence and discrimination against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We welcomed the recent report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights examining discrimination and violence facing LGB&T people.

UN Report to tackle LGB&T Prejudice

More information about our work with the United Nations.

European Union

We work with the major EU institutions: the European Commission, the Council of the European Union (the Member States) and the European Parliament to promote equality and combat discrimination.

We contribute to the development of common standards and regulations to protect UK interests and promote best practices on equality.

More information about our work with the European Union.

Council of Europe

We work to promote equality across the Council of Europe including at the level of the Committee of Ministers.

We will promote gender equality through participation in the newly established Gender Equality Commission (GEC).

We work to promote LGB&T rights through implementation of the Recommendations on measures to combat discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity and are using our Chairmanship of the Council of Europe to make progress on LGB&T rights.

More information about our work with the Council of Europe.  


The UK supports the strategy of gender mainstreaming and the Commonwealth Gender Plan of Action (2005-2015).

We work across government to implement these commitments and to coordinate, negotiate and promote the UK position on gender equality at Commonwealth meetings, including the Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting (WAMM) and the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

We work to raise the profile of LGB&T issues in preparation for Commonwealth meetings, including at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

More information about our work with the Commonwealth.

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