The Commonwealth Secretariat's Human Rights Unit supports Commonwealth countries’ efforts to promote, protect and respect internationally recognised human rights principles, standards and practices through:
The presence of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), which is in compliance with the Paris Principles, a set of internationally agreed standards, is one of the indicators for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16.
The Secretariat's Human Rights Unit assists Commonwealth countries to:
Through the Geneva-based Commonwealth Small States Office, the Human Rights Unit provides support to Commonwealth Small States’ engagement with various international human rights mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The UPR is a State-driven human rights peer review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. The Human Rights Unit assists Commonwealth Small States to:
The Secretariat also provides support to Commonwealth Small States, which allows them to have fruitful and effective engagement with the UN human rights Treaty Bodies, including by submitting national reports and participating in the Geneva-based interactive dialogues.
The UN Human Rights Council’s High-Level segment, which takes place annually in Geneva, provides a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth through the Secretary-General to share information and influence the human rights global agenda.
The Secretariat collaborates with our member states and other stakeholders, such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Commonwealth Accredited Organisations, parliamentarians, and civil society organisations to discuss human rights challenges, solutions and requisite human rights-protection frameworks.
These discussions help to promote dialogue among Commonwealth member states, enable the sharing of Commonwealth good practice, and the development and implementation of recommendations. Some of the challenges on which the Human Rights Unit collaborate, include the following:
In proving assistance to our member states and other relevant stakeholders, the Human Rights Unit collaborates with many external organisations, including: