Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, international non-governmental organisation working for the practical realisation of human rights throughout the Commonwealth.

CHRI’s research, advocacy, capacity building, and mobilisation efforts aim to raise awareness and demand accountability for human rights violations, push for policy reforms and evidenced-based interventions, and empower communities by amplifying the voices of those who are marginalised.

From offices in New Delhi, London and Accra, CHRI focuses on issues relating to access to justice, with a focus on police and prison reforms, and access to information. We work to address pressures on the freedom of expression and on media rights, as well as build the capacity of civil society to access and engage with UN human rights mechanisms. We support the eradication of contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking through research, capacity building, and grassroots mobilisation.

CHRI founded SAMDEN (the South Asia Media Defenders Network) and is founder and secretariat to the Commonwealth 8.7 Network (a global network of over 70 frontline CSOs with a shared vision to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking). CHRI welcomes collaboration at all levels with those who share our vision.

As the premier body promoting human rights in the Commonwealth, CHRI advocates for the protection and promotion of international human rights standards and adherence to the principles of the Harare Declaration and Commonwealth Charter. We celebrate the Commonwealth’s diversity and are determined to leave no one behind as we advance towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The core values of accountability, inclusivity, integrity, perseverance, empowerment and partnership underpin all that we do. 

CHRI was born in 1987 from a common vision of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, the Commonwealth Trade Union Council, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Commonwealth Legal Education Association and the Commonwealth Medical Association, that recognised a need for an autonomous non-governmental organisation to promote the understanding and observance of human rights throughout the Commonwealth. CHRI has ECOSOC consultative status with the United Nations.