Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. In 1987, several Commonwealth associations founded CHRI because they felt that while the member countries had both a common set of values and legal principles from which to work and a forum within which to promote human rights, there was relatively little focus on human rights issues.

CHRI's objectives are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in Commonwealth member states.


Through its biennial CHOGM reports and periodic fact finding missions CHRI continually draws attention to progress and setbacks in human rights in Commonwealth countries. In advocating for approaches and measures to prevent human rights abuses, CHRI addresses the Commonwealth Secretariat, member-state governments and civil society associations. By holding workshops and developing linkages, CHRI's approach throughout is to act as a catalyst for activity around its priority concerns.


CHRI is accredited to the Commonwealth and, since 2002, also holds Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.


CHRI has also been granted Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in July 2005.