The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation working in the area of human rights. In 1987, several Commonwealth professional associations founded CHRI, since there was little focus on human rights within the association of 53 nations although the Commonwealth provided member countries the basis of shared common legal system.
Through its reports, research and advocacy, CHRI draws attention to the progress and setbacks to human rights in Commonwealth countries. In advocating for approaches and measures to prevent human rights abuses, CHRI addresses the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations Human Rights Council members, civil society and the media on criminal justice concerns. It works on and collaborates around public education programmes, policy dialogues, comparative research, media dissemination advocacy and networking on the issues of Access to Information and Access to Justice.
CHRI promotes adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Commonwealth Harare Principles and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, including domestic legislation supporting human rights in Commonwealth countries. It is headquartered in New Delhi, India, with offices in London, UK and Accra, Ghana.
CHRI’s work is split into two core themes: Access to Information and Access to Justice, which includes Prison Reform, Police Reform, and advocacy on media rights and the South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN). CHRI additionally monitors the human rights situation across the Commonwealth through its International Advocacy and Programming(IAP) unit. We engage in advocacy at the global level and make formal submissions to treaty bodies and inter-governmental agencies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. CHRI has also begun work on strengthening institutional response to issues of discrimination on grounds of skin colour and appearance.
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