About The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries. The modern Commonwealth came into being in 1949 when Commonwealth Prime Ministers met and adopted what has become known as the 'London Declaration', where it was agreed that all Member countries would be "freely and equally associated". The Association's values of human rights, democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all unite its Members. These values were agreed and set out by all Commonwealth Heads of Governments in their biennial meeting (known as CHOGM) in Singapore in 1971, consolidated twenty years later in 1991 at Harare and reaffirmed in 2009 at Trinidad and Tobago. They were again reaffirmed in the Commonwealth Charter, adopted in 2012.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is held every two years for Commonwealth leaders to meet and discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and agree on collective policies and initiatives. CHOGMs act as the principal policy and decision-making forum to guide the strategic direction of the Association.
As such, CHOGM is a major target of CHRI's advocacy work. It provides an opportunity to advocate for the Commonwealth so that it meets its own human rights commitments.
Through its biennial reports to CHOGM, CHRI continually draws attention to human rights progress and setbacks in the Commonwealth. CHRI also organises meetings and events on human rights issues in the Commonwealth in the periphery of CHOGM.