CHRI has long advocated for better adherence to human rights. It has consistently said “The Commonwealth is about Human Rights or it is about nothing at all.”
Concerned that without significant reforms the Commonwealth might fall into irrelevance, in 2009 the Heads of Government constituted an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) to provide advice on how ‘to build a stronger, more resilient and progressive Commonwealth and to make it relevant to its times and to its people in the future’. In 2011, the EPG made 106 reformative recommendations after engaging in extensive consultations with distinguished Commonwealth commentators, civil society, the general public and youth. However, many of these progressive recommendations were discarded or shelved for further negotiations including the recommendation for the Commonwealth to have a Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. CHRI had made a number of submissions to the EPG – including on having a Commonwealth Commissioner for Human Rights, and continues to advocate for such a position to be created, most recently in its 2013 report to the Heads.
As part of the accepted recommendations, in 2012 Commonwealth member states adopted the Commonwealth Charter, as the most recent document to enshrine its values.