Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organization, mandated to ensure the practical realization of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. In 1987, several Commonwealth associations founded CHRI because they felt that while the member countries had both a common set of values and legal principles from which to work and a forum within which to promote human rights, there was relatively little focus on human rights issues.

CHRI's mandate is to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Principles, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized human rights instruments and declarations made by the Commonwealth Heads of Governments as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in the Commonwealth.

CHRI believes that the promotion and protection of human rights are the responsibility of governments but that the active participation of civil society acting in concert is vital to ensuring  the rule of law and the realization of human rights.

Through its biennial CHOGM reports and periodic fact finding missions, CHRI continually draws attention to progress and setbacks in human rights in Commonwealth countries. In advocating for approaches and measures to prevent human rights abuses, CHRI addresses the Commonwealth Secretariat, member-state governments, and civil society associations. By holding workshops and developing linkages, CHRI's approach throughout is to act as a catalyst for activity around its priority concerns.

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