Working Together to Promote and Protect Human Rights

05 June 2018

Members from National Human Rights Institutions from all across the Commonwealth gathered in London for the Biennial meeting of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.

Taking place alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Biennial offered an opportunity for members to come together to share achievements, challenges, expertise, and experience, all under the banner of protecting and promoting human rights.

Highlights from the first day included Lord Ahmad Quote – Our democracies are only as robust as our NHRIs, and that is why we cherish them and their work presentations and discussions on business and human rights from the Chairpersons H.L. Dattu (National Human Rights Commission India) and Madeleine Nirere (Republic of Rwanda National Commission for Human), and on strengthening democratic processes to support free elections with Chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori (Kenya National Commission on Human Rights).

Lucy Amis, Research Fellow at the Institute of Human Rights in Business presented A Guide to Business and Human Rights for Commonwealth Forum National Human Rights Institutions, which preceded a discussion of the role sport in the advancement of human rights led by representatives from the Commonwealth Secretariat, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Institute on Business and Human Rights, and Australian Human Rights Commission.

On day two The London Declaration (Declaration on Sport and Human Rights) was proposed and adopted by members and the Equality and Human Rights Commission took over the role of Chair of the Forum from Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

David Isaac, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission commented that:

It was fantastic to hear from such inspiring and wise colleagues from across the Commonwealth. Although we all operate in different contexts with different challenges, our differences provide us with the opportunity to learn from each other’s unique experiences, so that we can all become stronger NHRIs and create a more effective network.

It is our role as Chair to develop and agree a new strategic plan and to ensure that the governance arrangements are as robust and effective as possible to enable the forum to deliver on its ambitions. As a network of global organisations good communications is vital to success. We want to make it easy for members to talk to each other and to learn from each other. We will also be listening attentively so that we can share lessons learned and develop best practice to promote human rights across the Commonwealth. With this in mind, during our period as chair we will be arranging a number of workshops where dialogue and learning on a whole range of human rights issues will take place.

The EHRC’s term as Chair will last until the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2020.

For further information about the EHRC visit

Find out more about the Commonwealth Forum

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