Kigali: NHRIs reinforce their commitment to Sport and Human Rights

23 September, 2019

Earlier this month delegates from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from 15 Commonwealth countries gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, at the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) General Assembly to contribute their unique expertise to discussions on sport and human rights.

In April 2018, the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (CFNHRI), adopted the London Declaration on Sport and Human Rights. Spearheaded by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the declaration highlights the role of NHRIs in ensuring human rights are protected within sport, and the opportunities to use sport as a platform to promote wider human rights issues as well as principles such as fairness, inclusion, and respect.

CFNHRI members have been implementing this commitment in a variety of ways such as; equal participation within sport based on gender, sport as a tool to bring divided communities together, and by ensuring mega-sporting events are planned and delivered using a rights-based approach. Nearly 18 months following the adoption of the declaration, this event provided the opportunity to reflect on what has so far been achieved and identify areas where we could have greater impact.


Representatives from CFNHRI, and Rwandan, Australian and Northern Ireland National Human Rights Institutions in conversation

From left to right: Rebecca Newsome, CFNHRI; Chairperson Madeleine Nirere, National Human Rights Commission Rwanda; Padma Raman Chief Executive, Australia Human Rights Commission; David Russell, Chief Executive Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. 


Whilst NHRIs play a pivotal role in promoting and protecting human rights, we do not operate in isolation. The CGF General Assembly provided an opportunity for CFNHRI delegates to meet their local Commonwealth Games Association to share expertise and collaborate to ensure human rights are fully embedded into sport including through legislation, policy and practice from grassroots initiatives through to national sporting events.

With strengthened relationships between NHRIs and sporting bodies and a commitment to work together in advancing human rights through and within sport, the CFNHRI continues to be a leading in force in the sport and human rights agenda.

Read our blog for more information on the event and examples how National Human Rights Institutions are engaging with sport and human rights 

Download the London Declaration on Sport and Human Rights