Focal Points

These Focal Points are based on the priority areas identified in the CFNHRI Strategic Plan 2016-19

Business and Human Rights

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights consist of the state duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and access to remedy, as endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council.

The CFNHRI will provide a means for members to share good practice in implementing the Guiding Principles within member states and down supply chains across member states. Such good practice will include experiences establishing multi-stakeholder initiatives including Business and Human Rights Forums and public procurement initiatives. These will seek to complement the role of the UN OHCHR and the ICC. The CFNHRI will liaise with other Commonwealth bodies and relevant institutions to support their work with business and human rights including initiatives on Mega Sporting Events involving forum members.

The National Human Rights Commission (India) and the National Commission for Human Rights (Rwanda) are the Focal Point for Business and Human Rights


Climate Justice

At the November 2015 biennial in Malta the CFNHRI agreed the Saint Julian's Declaration on Climate Justice, calling for ‘a global response to dealing with the consequences of climate change by ensuring the explicit recognition of human rights in the new Climate Agreement.’

The CFNHRI will build upon the Saint Julian's Declaration through a programme of work that develops expressions of support for positive action by the United Nations, the Commonwealth and its member states, recognising the need to address climate change in order to protect human rights.

The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (Cameroon) and the Scottish Human Rights Commission are the Focal Point for Climate Justice


Freedom of Expression, Association and Peaceful Assembly

The CFNHRI recognises that freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association are fundamental rights that form the basis of the full enjoyment of other rights, and are a cornerstone of democratic societies, indispensable conditions for the full development of the person and are at the heart of an active, free and engaged civil society.

In addition the CFNHRI recognises that freedom to manifest ones’ religion and belief may be enabled by the exercise of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

The CFNHRI will strengthen the role of NHRIs in safeguarding these rights and freedoms and supporting civil society through inter alia: sharing experiences and good practice amongst members in developing human rights instruments and tools to advise government, through human rights education of individuals and institutions, through monitoring and research and through, where appropriate, use of legal and regulatory powers to protect and promote these rights. The CFNHRI will continue to advocate for and ensure the protection of human rights defenders and civil society in their respective countries.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (United Kingdom) is the Focal Point for Freedom of Expression, Association and Peaceful Assembly


Post-Conflict, Reconciliation and Human Rights

There are a number of internationally recognised frameworks to help post conflict societies address their past and achieve a long-lasting and sustainable peace. This includes the victim-focused ‘Transitional Justice’ and ex-combatant-focused ‘Disarmament, Demobilisation, and Reintegration’, which have been developed by the United Nations.

The CFNHRI will continue to provide members working in post-conflict societies with a forum to share good practice and experiences, utilising internationally recognised frameworks and international human rights law, and working alongside member states and individuals affected by conflict. In particular, regard will be paid to the implementation of a comprehensive approach to the right to the truth, the right to a remedy (including reparations and guarantees of non-repetition), and access to justice. Attention will also be paid to addressing extra-judicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances, and ensuring that laws and policies on counter-terrorism are human rights compliant.

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka is the Focal Point for Post-Conflict, Reconciliation and Human Rights


The Universal Periodic Review Process

The Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which involves a peer review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four and a half years. It aims to improve the human rights situation in all countries, by creating a process where governments are held to account by other countries for their human rights situation. The second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review will be completed in 2016. 

The CFNHRI is committed to encouraging discussion amongst its members, and will continue to facilitate formal and informal dialogue in advance of, and during, the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review which will begin in 2017. In particular, attention will be focused on supporting small institutions through the provision of guidance, augmenting technical support available from the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone is the Focal Point for The Universal Periodic Review Process