- Seventeen Commonwealth countries are yet to ratify the two major international human rights covenants on Civil and Political Rights, and Economic, Cultural and Social Rights. These two covenants combined with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights comprise the International Bill of Rights and form the basis for universal protection of human rights. Our aim is to have Commonwealth wide ratification of these universal protections.
- Thirty-two of the fifty-three member states that constitute the Commonwealth are small states. These member states experience greater constraints on their ability to fulfil international obligations owing to resource paucity. The Unit works with small states to enable them to promote and protect human rights.
- Climate change is an issue of global concern. Certain commonwealth member states especially low lying island states such as the Maldives and Tuvalu are at a greater risk, and are experiencing the effects of climate change at a faster pace than other countries. Addressing climate change through a human rights lens is one of our key areas of work. The Unit is taking up the issue of climate change with urgency and looking to increase collaboration between relevant international actors and member states.
Resource constraints affect our ability to cater to the range of needs identified by member states. There are fifty three member states in the Commonwealth family so we are unable to meet all the requests we receive for assistance.
How we meet these challenges:
The Unit addresses a range of different human rights issues. We meet our challenges by responding to the needs of our member countries by closely working with them to promote compliance with international human rights standards.
We design and implement training programmes and publish best practice guidelines and manuals that can reach a wider audience and therefore have a wider impact. Networks, collaborations and partnerships are very important as we pursue our objectives
We mainstream human rights into the activities of the Commonwealth Secretariat to ensure respect and promotion of human rights in implementing development programmes.