The strategic Initiatives Programme (SIP) oversees CHRI’s broad mandate of working for the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. While other programmes in CHRI deal with fixed thematic areas, SIP operates through several strategic interventions that would together help have a positive impact on human rights in the Commonwealth and complement the work of other programmes.
SIP engages with official Commonwealth institutions, their meetings and official processes with the aim of holding the Commonwealth accountable to its human rights commitments. SIP also works on the UN Human Rights Council and the role that both the Commonwealth and its member states play in this premier global body on human rights. This approach aims to go beyond the Commonwealth to hold the association and its member states accountable to both Commonwealth and international human rights commitments in a macro level at global forums. SIP has also begun to take this approach a little further and experiment by looking at the Commonwealth and its member states at a, micro level, within regional mechanisms and political alliances such as the African Commission, the African Union, Caribbean Community, East African Community, The Economic Community of West African States, India Brazil South Africa Dialogue Forum and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Work has begun only on some of these regional bodies and the rest are in the pipeline.
Finally taking a bottom-up, national level approach, SIP attempts to strengthen National Human Rights Institutions in the Commonwealth and encourage partnerships between these institutions and human rights groups. SIP’s aim here is to strengthen local and national institutions to be able to hold their own states accountable to Commonwealth and international human rights standards.