Commonwealth Day 2024: A Call to Action - Strengthening Measures, Fostering Resilience, Upholding Rights

Commonwealth Day 2024: A Call to Action - Strengthening Measures, Fostering Resilience, Upholding Rights

London, Accra, New Delhi: On this day, 11 March 2024, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) joins Commonwealth Member States, Accredited Organisations and Commonwealth Institutions, in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Commonwealth.

The theme of this year’s Commonwealth Day, and the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October, is ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth’. Key elements to this theme are resilient democratic institutions to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and resilient societies to empower individuals for a peaceful and productive life.

For all 56 Commonwealth Member States, this day is a symbol of unity and a rallying point to promote the values and standards set out in the Commonwealth Charter, particularly in the areas of good governance, rule of law and human rights.

While we celebrate the ties that bind us as a diverse international group, we must also acknowledge the grave human rights violations that continue to diminish and disrupt lives across the Commonwealth.

Over recent years, human rights and democracy have come increasingly under threat from evolving global challenges including environmental crises, armed conflicts, political violence, and digital threats such as misinformation, online surveillance, and online entrapment of persons vulnerable to trafficking, sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

Restrictions on civil society, extrajudicial killings, political violence, gender inequalities, racism, xenophobia, and limitations on free speech, freedom of association and assembly and access to information are serious infringements on the fulfilment of human rights in Commonwealth countries across the globe.

As a community of nations bound by the shared values of democracy, equality, justice and human rights, we cannot turn a blind eye to such violations. It is the duty of Commonwealth States to promote and protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of race, citizenship status, religion, gender, age, ethnic or national origin, ability or sexual orientation.

We call on Member States and the Commonwealth Secretariat to use the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting as an opportunity to renew their commitment to upholding the Commonwealth Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international standards, and to take concrete steps to translate their international commitments into action and promote the realisation of human rights across the Commonwealth, for instance by strengthening the remit of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group explicitly to tackle restrictions on day to day democracy and human rights in Commonwealth countries, periodic review of the performance of Commonwealth countries against the Charter along the lines of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism, and enabling civil society to refer breaches of the Commonwealth Charter to the Group for consideration.

CHRI reiterates its commitment to working with Commonwealth Member States, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and civil society to build a future where human rights are respected and protected for all.


The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is an independent, international non-governmental organisation working for the practical realisation of human rights throughout the Commonwealth. CHRI’s research, advocacy, capacity building, and mobilisation efforts aim to raise awareness of and demand accountability for human rights violations, push for policy reforms and evidenced-based interventions, and empower communities by amplifying the voices of those who are marginalised. Issues relating to accountability and participation in governance are at the heart of CHRI’s efforts. We are a Commonwealth Accredited Organisation.